An interview with
GP CAPT Carl Newman,
Director of Plan JERICHO
Where did the name come from?
Plan Jericho is fundamentally about the necessity of breaking down walls to effect transformative change. The name leverages the biblical reference to ‘breaking down the Jericho walls’. But more so, the appeal of the name for us in Air Force was the Allied Operation by 464 Squadron into France, where they knocked down the walls of a Gestapo prison to support the French Resistance. Breaking down walls was central to the success of Operation Jericho. Breaking down the walls and breaking down the stovepipes of Air Force is central if we’re actually going to realise the full capability of 5th generation capabilities.
Jericho is creating innovation in the Air Force – please explain.
Plan Jericho is the method by which Air Force ensures that transformative thinking is an integral part of our organisation. It is designed to promote the cultural change necessary within Air Force to embrace the full potential of the 5th Generation force.
- Jericho supports bottom-up innovation by providing a visible organisational response to innovative thinking. We enable the conduct of experimentation and prototype activities that both explore the potential of new concepts and technologies, but also as a means to inspire our broader workforce to pursue the same.
- Jericho also acts as a conduit through which Air Force can interact with academia and industry to ensure that we take full advantage of a wide scope of innovative ideas.
How long has it been going?
Plan Jericho was launched at the beginning of 2015. Since then the program has made substantial progress in helping Air Force progress the vision of becoming a fifth generation force. Much of the early work of Jericho has now been established as business as usual and Jericho remains focused on identifying those areas of Air Force that would benefit from additional voltage to accelerate change. Jericho also continues to pursue opportunities that could provide substantial advantage in the future.
Can you explain more about how the different forces intend to work together?
The Defence White paper 2016 is clear on the future requirements for the ADF.
The future force will be more capable, agile and potent. The future force will be more capable of conducting independent combat operations to defend Australia and protect our interests in our immediate region. This force will also enhance Australia’s ability to contribute to global coalition operations. More emphasis will be placed on the joint force, bringing together different capabilities so the ADF can apply more force more rapidly and more effectively when required.
This requirement fundamentally drives how the various components of a joint force will be brought together to generate joint effects. Joint commander’s intent, implemented through effective command and control mechanisms, will bind elements provided by various services and groups within Defence to create capability that is greater than the sum of its parts. Jericho is just one part of an overarching Air Force strategy that seeks to ensure Air Force achieves early exploitation of the 5th generation force that can provide enhanced, integrated, responsive and flexible air power capabilities as part of this joint force.
How do you plan to stay ahead of technology?
To maintain a superior warfighting edge in a future where disruptive technologies can quickly proliferate, Air Force, as part of the Joint Force, will need to increase our agility in acquiring and putting new technologies into operation. Jericho will continue to foster a culture of innovation that drives demand for experimentation and prototyping. We will remain actively engaged with academia and industry to ensure we are aware of developments in those sectors that could provide capability advantage.
- Air Force will need to reduce its reliance on technological superiority gained by generational changes in exquisite aviation platforms, and will need increase efforts to establish a ‘plug and play’ concept where new technology can be quickly and easily adapted and integrated into the Joint Force.
- We will work collaboratively as part of a broader Defence innovation eco-system to bring new opportunities from ideation to fruition.
- Air Force will need to adapt and strengthen its relationships with industry so that we can take advantage of ‘quick turns’ in technological change.
- In the pursuit of disruptive technology, Air Force will accept risk of failure when justified by the potential joint benefit, and will mitigate this risk through a culture of prototyping and experimentation.
Can you explain the projects you are working on?
Jericho is conducting a broad range of activities. They include:
The establishment of a 5th Gen Workforce System of Systems including:
- Enhancing Workforce Planning to prepare RAAF to rapidly acquire and develop the next generation workforce.
- Enhancing Education and Training necessary to transition our current workforce to become a fifth generation workforce.
Sponsorship of research and prototype demonstrations for Next Gen Capability Advantage across areas such as:
- AI applicability in areas including Decision Support, Autonomy, and improved ISR Processing Exploitation and Dissemination.
- Advanced Sensors including areas such as Next Gen Photonics, Electronic Warfare, and Quantum (Gravity and Magnetic).
Next Generation Joint Warfighting Networks exploring future need studies and applicability of various open standards.
To find out more about Plan Jericho, future projects and the exciting collaborative opportunities
available for SMEs, explore the Air Force website.