Women in National Security: General Angus Campbell AO DSC

So in terms of women in the Australian Defense Force, when you average it out across the entire defense force, about 17% So it’s not a large number When you look breaking it across the three services at the entry point, about 40%– I’m just going to rough the numbers here– 40% entering the Air Force are women About 30% entering the Navy are women About 20% entering the army are women Those entry rates are very promising and positive in terms of the future workforce, and the capacity and the potential of that workforce We are seeing a steady and comparative rate of graduation from those entry points, male and female So over time, the demographic across the force will change in the way I have just described it I don’t think there’s any surprise that the Army would be that component of the Defense Force likely to have the smaller number of women, simply because a range of the jobs, a range of the jobs that are largest in population in the army have historically been less attractive to most men, and less attractive possibly more so to most women No surprise What the change in our demographic provides for us, firstly, what it does not provide is any diminution in the capability of the Defense Force In fact, the reverse By drawing on a wider community of Australians who wish to serve their nation, we have the opportunity for a more talented, more diversely capable organization that can engage across the range of the operational settings that we participate in in a wider context Two examples One has often been cited, another less so In a small valley in Afghanistan, if you are seeking in part to defeat an insurgency through what could be described as the kinetic operations of fighting the Taliban, while at the same time trying to convince the community of the opportunities to see that valley aligned with the government, supportive of the government, and progressively finding opportunity through the government of Afghanistan’s development pathways, if you want to participate wholly and fully in that operation but you are a company of, let’s say, 120 Australian soldiers, 120 men, you will only talk to 50% of the population, and you will rarely be invited inside the walls of the family compound, the [INAUDIBLE] And you will, in doing so, not talk to any women in their home That was not, then, a constructive way of doing business And indeed, as we were doing our operations, we were learning as we were going, and finding pathways to ensure we had women in those valleys able to enable those conversations Not unlike here in Australia, and in many other parts of the world, what happens inside the family home has a whole lot to do with the views of mothers and parents, of sisters,

of daughters Not just the men So there’s an operational effect that, when we started those activities in Afghanistan, was under-optimized for our purpose And we learned and adjusted and found mechanisms to create an add-on to seek to generate an optimized effect In a completely different example, I am told of a story involving one of our regional partners During the period of the significant Indian Ocean tsunami some years ago now that devastated [INAUDIBLE],, western Indonesian towns along Sumatra, parts of Thailand, parts of Sri Lanka, in one of those countries, a small let’s say coastal patrol vessel was out at sea, unaffected by the tsunami, coming back in and seeking to assist their community Vessel, all crewed by men, came upon a group of women who had been swept out to sea, and, in the turbulent black water that the tsunamis create, had most of their clothes ripped from them Essentially, naked in the water Now, instead of coming aboard that vessel and being rescued, because of their culture, which I respect, and their concerns for dignity and privacy and the integrity of their body and their family constructs and understanding of the relationships between men and women, those women did not get on that boat, that boat crewed only by men Those women drowned So in an operational context, why wouldn’t you want, whether it is in Afghanistan on combat operations or it’s, you know, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, why wouldn’t you want your community represented and able to represent the breadth of capacity, talent, opportunity, and engagement with those with whom you are operating Now, that’s a pretty confronting thought, that experience from the tsunami And that’s why I am often struck, indeed on occasions bewildered, as to why some people– and I’m going to have to be a little bit gender stereotyping here– some men don’t get it The Defense Force is not an environment in which singularly the size of your bicep matters If it was, I wouldn’t be in it [LAUGHTER] It’s a diverse community of talented people, and there’s opportunity for all But let’s talk about the kinds of challenges that not the Defense Force but our community and our region face We’re all very familiar with the conversation over recent decades with regard to terrorism That’s not going to go away Terrorism, no matter what its declared purpose or the wellspring of its action, terrorism in the modern context is a reflection of the opportunity that technology enables to empower individuals and small groups, whether to operate in isolation or to operate at great distance but with connected intent We have never seen for both good and, on occasion,

for ill the empowerment of the individual human as we have today That is overwhelmingly a positive story across our planet, but it creates the potential exploited by some, whether it’s in the use and manipulation of ideas or the actual weaponization of technology, to enable those who seek change through violence The intent of terrorist actions, the locus of their actions, the claims of their righteous purpose, whomever they are and wherever they come from, they will change over time, but the phenomena will not go away That is going to be an enduring issue for us all Something that, over these last few decades, was less discussed but is now much more prominently a topic of strategic conversation is the questions and the challenges that emerge from the dynamic we see across the world of the rising opportunity and the emergence of large nations, great powers, and the expression of their presence in the world, and their capacity to influence, to seek change in the world, sometimes who seek change that we are not comfortable with, either as a nation or as a community of Western powers or a community of regional powers, or simply a community of powers used to the way things are, or the way we think they used to be Importantly, this should not be seen as something that is singularly new and unusual to this moment in time It has ever been thus, and, for all of us, a good study of history is worthwhile Not because it will inform to direct us or dictate to us, but it gives a sense of context and broadens our imaginations to the possibilities of how Australia as a sovereign nation might exist and operate in this world made new every day as we live through our moment in history It is, to me, a fascinating moment of history because of the change, the profound changes that we see in Indo-Pacific with regard to the rise of China and of India and of Indonesia, great powers The capacities of partner nations, such as Japan and the United States, South Korea, the countries of ASEAN, as they continue to write the story of ASEAN, the fragile states and the challenges of governance, opportunity, security, and development in the southwest Pacific To coin a phrase from colleagues in Beijing, you can look to our near region and think of it as our first island chain of interest Southeast Asia, southwest Pacific matters to Australia And the dynamics in those regional environments are changing and developing, as are the influences from beyond those environments upon those regions and upon Australia All of this makes for anyone in the defense, in the broader security constabulary areas of professional life, the national security community, makes for a fascinating, very challenging and uncertain time,

a time in which, without being sure of the destination, we can all have an influence in creating that destination I do not believe in either the sense of forecasting the future, nor of any such suggestion that the future is determined But my goodness, it is an extraordinary time to be part of building that future And I would encourage everyone here, as I do my own daughter, and as I see and reflect on my wife’s professional career, there is no father who looks down upon their newborn baby daughter and rightly thinks about what that child cannot have, but rather what they and all the other children of this great nation can have And if you know or are interested individually or are wondering about, as a professional in the sector, where to now for the sector, or where to now, from my point of view, is some of the most fascinating and challenging times in our nation’s history And the world, while it is geographically now bigger and smaller than ever before, is so much more connected, so much more immediate, so much more dynamic And it has been a story of recent decades of so much broad opportunity and progress And we can all be part of that I’m pleased to see the Australian Defense Force being an active participant in this world, pursuing Australia’s interests, defending our nation, and constructively contributing to the near and the broad region We do it with a community of agencies and departments, and we do it with a community of nations If one of the values of this conference is to create connections, I can assure you they are not wasted, because it’s the only way we do our business And while we don’t have in total number a substantial community of Australian military and other agency personnel on operations at the moment, we are very widely and diversely busy on a range of both business as usual, international engagement, exercising, operations, security and strategic dialogues, and creating the possibilities of the future, looking at both our own capability and those of partner agencies and those of allies and partners, and how we can work together To conclude, I mentioned the numbers at the beginning, and my sense that the Australian community is seeing Australia and the Australian Defense Force as a professional employment environment in which there is opportunity for any to volunteer and join In our most recent operational commitment out in the Philippines, you see those numbers being reflected in terms of the percentage of women serving We are in the high teens of women as part of that force You see, in Afghanistan, the commander in Afghanistan is one of our most talented women, Brigadier Jane Spalding And she’s not the first who’s been in command of operations, and she won’t be the last And we have squadrons, regiments, and ships commanded by women We’ve got senior generals, air marshals, and admirals We have a diverse community with opportunity, and I would encourage you all, if you’re already

in the sector, to see it as a career opportunity for life, as you move around in that sector, as indeed I have, and an opportunity to see many diverse experiences and challenges If you’re not here, my question to you is why not? What bigger challenges could you be presented with than helping sovereign Australia move successfully through the 21st century? Thank you very much I’m very happy to take any questions that people might have [APPLAUSE] So we have about five minutes for questions We have one here It’s always the mess of the microphone being as far away from the speaker as possible Good morning, General Fiona Peacock from Defense Security Thank you for your time this morning I’m curious as to what do you perceive to be the single largest security threat to the defense organization I’m just going to caveat by noting that, other than ISIS and the Taliban, who are non-state actors, we do not have an enemy or an adversary state or states Australia is, like many nations, a nation that seeks to establish constructive and friendly relations of mutual benefit to as many friends, not just in our region, but across the globe, as we can I think, though, in that context of, you know, what’s that most substantial threat or challenge, and I’m not offering this as either a state-specific or non-state specific or a particular vector, but I think the biggest challenge not just to the security sector, but also across Australia, is with regard to the security of our information and of our intellectual property and of the integrity of our systems of consideration and of sensitive materials and information that are attractive to people, whether it’s for individual, organized criminal, nefarious non-state actor, or indeed state interests to gain that knowledge from what is an open, liberal, classically, organically growing, and broad-ranging society, in which you see examples occasionally emerge where, in a corporate setting, in a government system, across layers of government, in a research or in an academic setting, awareness of information being accessed and the loss of that knowledge I think that is a very significant, immediate, present concern to us Thank you We’ll take another question Yes, just here Good morning, General My name’s Kim from the Department of Defense I’d just like to start by saying it’s excellent to see that the percentage of women joining the ADF is improving and increasing However, my question is about what about the retention rate of women in the Defense Force? Because I think that’s an area of concern, and I’d like to know what your strategy is to retain women in the ADF Sure Three and a half months ago, I used to be the Chief of the Army, and I had those figures down pat So I can’t give you yet the ADF figures, but here goes the Army figures of three and a half months ago, with my apologies to the Chief of the Army, because I really shouldn’t do this So we looked very, very closely

We were seeing men and women graduate at the same rate through the soldier school So if you came in, you had about a 97% graduation rate 94 to 97%, depending on the class But men and women were graduating at the same time Women were serving, on average, for seven years And for soldiers, that was the same average length of service for men Seven years There was a variation across officers, NCOs, and junior soldier ranks, but the variation was that women were serving for one year less for officers on average, one year more for NCOs on average Women were advancing in rank from lance corporal all the way up to major general plus or minus six months, and usually earlier six months, not later six months, on average, at the same rate as the men Women are paid exactly the same amount of money as men in rank and core appointments There is zero difference in the remuneration Now, the averages don’t tell the individual lived experience So there will be people who will leave early but, there will be people who leave later Looking at an institutional level, I’m trying to get the averages in the right place, which for the Army they were I’m going to be digging into the rest of the organization now Importantly, we were doing everything we could to see and to create an environment which expected those who wished to be mothers to enable a career that would be progressive beyond birth and early childhood And the expectation that those who wished to be mothers more than once, which is the kind of community norm, had that opportunity Now, imperfect, human organization, but enormous amount of effort going in that direction And those broad statistics were encouraging The job is never over OK Time for one or two more Over here Thank you very much, General Campbell My name’s Hannah Lord from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade I agree with your point around the future not being determined, but one thing that we do have a fair degree of predictability on is climate change And that’s one key theme, I think, that I’ll see throughout my career And so I’d just be interested in your view on what the ADF is doing to think about climate change from a strategic and an operational perspective, and how you see that as a non-traditional security threat Thank you Thanks We got asked about that [INAUDIBLE] yesterday So you are on the ball Climate change is recognized as a security challenge in– a contributor to security challenges in our white paper We’re looking at the question of how, in our basic infrastructure, we can progressively be less dependent on fossil fuels and on non-renewable energy sources We do have the challenge in our major platforms of trying to move very heavy objects very fast And so far, the science of power and energy, in terms of the density of energy and the sustainability of energy, isn’t there yet But we are closely watching and engaging with the US Navy on their effort to move to wholly biofuels The broader point that climate change is an issue of our times, and one which has the potential to magnify or create a risk multiplier in some of the challenges that we might see, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, or some of the root causes of conflict, that’s a very valid concern We do see the rate at which response to humanitarian assistance, disaster relief activity

is occurring has been rising over time That’s a combination of more capacity within the broad national security community to offer a response, more expectation from a society less tolerant of not receiving response, more declaration of what are you going to do about it from a media driven to be fed with spectacle, and also an increasing rate of incidents that, rightly, are in the category of HADR and require response So I want to lay that out a bit so as to acknowledge there’s some multiplicities of actions going on there, but climate change is definitely one And the potential for it to be a causal factor into conflict is something that haven’t yet seen starkly, though there are settings where it’s been offered as a potential element And that possibility is there, subject to the glide path of the scientific wedge of variation from 0.5 degree of temperature rise through one, 1.5, and up to much more significant scenarios of change, and implications of change when you go above that one, 1.5 We’re at time, unfortunately, but I do want to thank, actually, General Campbell for what’s been a very encouraging talk He even encouraged us to think about the potential of individual careers And you said the statistics are there, but the individual stories are important, too The role of women in national security, but also the important contribution and potential we have contributing to us as a middle nation, as well, and brokering peace across a very dynamic region Thank you very much for your thoughts this morning, giving up your time to speak to us We’re really grateful for that And I think we’re really looking forward to seeing how your leadership across the Defense Forces spread out and this agenda is rolled out over time So thank you very much Please join me in thanking [APPLAUSE]