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Vice Chief of the Defence Force

Force Exploration Hub

Thinking about the future

The Force Exploration Hub’s thinking about the future is structured by domains and themes. Our thinking in these areas is strengthened by contributions from a wide range of individuals and organisations. We are committed to expanding this network and want to hear from people interested in contributing ideas and insights about the range of potential futures.

Looking to 2040 and beyond, the Force Exploration Hub is working on issues including:

Robotics and Autonomous Systems

'How will the ADF future force exploit RAS to gain advantages throughout the spectrum of conflict, and how can the ADF counter threats posed by RAS to the future force?'

View the Author's Brief.

The Force Exploration Hub received a number of submissions from across Defence, Industry and Academia that have influenced the direction of the concept. The following submissions have been published with the permissions of the authors to stimulate discussion and provide background to the concept.

Future Logistics

'How does the ADF deliver logistics effects to create advantage across the competition to conflict continuum in the FOE, and how can the ADF work with coalition and industry partners to counter threats to the DefLogEnt?'

View the Author's Brief.

Engage us on The Forge.

Multi-Domain Strike

How can the ADF develop and employ a multi-domain strike capability to deter, disrupt and defeat adversaries?

ADF Future Operating Environment : Out to 2040

The ADF Future Operating Environment: Out to 2040 is a document that describes key features of the operating environment likely to be encountered by the Joint Force out to 2040 and beyond.

Future Networks and Communications

How will the ADF utilise joint networks and communications throughout the competition to conflict continuum in the FOE, and how can the ADF develop and maintain agile and resilient ICT systems.

Future Sensors Processing, Exploitation and Dissemination

How will the ADF future force gain situational understanding of future battlespaces to identify adversaries that attempt to operate below our detection threshold by utilising low observable platforms or by hiding within a complex information environment?

Emerging Threats and Strategic Engagements

The Emerging Threats and Strategic Engagements (ETSE) team provide Joint analysis on emerging and disruptive technologies and collaborate with our Five Eye international partners in this area.

International Engagements and Working Committees:

  • Emerging Threats Response Group (ETRG)
  • Quinquepartite Combined Joint Warfare Conference (QCJWC)
  • Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre (DCDC) – UK
  • Multinational Capability Development Campaign (MCDC)
  • Strategic Disruptive Technology (SDT)

The Potential Implications of Kra Canal in Thailand

A futures analysis examining plausible conditions that would potentially result from the construction of a canal through the Isthmus of Kra in Thailand. Hotly debated in Thai politics, the 'Kra Canal' would provide an alternative sea-lane to the highly congested Malacca Strait chokepoint, and have deep strategic and security consequences for the region. The examination of the Kra Canal through the use of future scenarios provides strategic implications that the ADF can draw on to inform strategic planning and force design.

Future of the Law of Armed Conflict

An examination of the ways in which the laws of armed conflict (and related regimes of international law) might evolve over the coming decades. We require an understanding of the ways in which military law might evolve in response to a variety of dynamics if we are to develop a nuanced understanding of the forces that might shape the ADF’s rules of engagement; and, by extension, the nature of the military capabilities. This project is being developed in conjunction with UNSW-ADFA and with contributions from Australian and international institutions.

Future(s) of Melanesia

A futures analysis focussed on our near neighbours (West Papua to Vanuatu). Despite its prominence in much of our strategic guidance, the future of this region is under examined.

Future of Medicine Technologies

A study that examines how advancements in medical technologies may be harnessed by the ADF for use across a variety of missions (e.g. Combat; HADR; Military Diplomacy).


Connect with us to share your ideas and insights about the future.

Email us at force.exploration@defence.gov.au