Prime Minister and Minister for Defence – 2013 Defence White Paper: ‘Plan BEERSHEBA’ – Restructuring the Australian Army

The 2013 Defence White Paper emphasises the strategic importance of Plan BEERSHEBA as a major restructure of the Australian Army.

Plan BEERSHEBA will restructure the Army into three ‘like’ multi-role combat brigades to provide the widest range of sustained and effective land forces possible to meet future circumstances. 

These brigades will be based in Townsville, Brisbane and Darwin. Each Multi-role Combat Brigade will include armour, artillery, communication, engineer, infantry and logistic elements. These Brigades will enable more effective training in Australia and rapid operational deployment for sustained periods. 

The multi-role combat brigades will be supported by three enabling brigades providing specialist capabilities based on 6th Brigade (Combat support, Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance), 16th Brigade (Aviation) and 17th Brigade (Combat Service Support).

This restructure will strengthen the Army’s capacity to conduct a range of tasks concurrently and to a consistently high standard for prolonged operations by applying lessons from the past decade of sustained Australian Defence Force (ADF) operational commitments.

The introduction of the ADF’s new amphibious capabilities represents a significant focus for Plan BEERSHEBA. The new Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ships represent a fundamental shift in how Army will deploy land forces and conduct operations in response to the full spectrum of scenarios in the future.  2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (2RAR) based in Townsville will form the core of Army’s contribution to a future amphibious force capable of conducting humanitarian and disaster relief and other operations, particularly in our immediate region.

Army’s existing armoured units will undergo significant changes and be designated as Armoured Cavalry Regiments. An Armoured Cavalry Regiment will be established in each of Army’s combat Brigades to ensure that they can operate as combined arms teams against the threats anticipated in the future.

This will see, over time, the balanced re-distribution of Army’s armoured vehicle fleets to the multi-role combat brigades.  Light Armoured Reconnaissance vehicles (ASLAV) and Armoured Personnel Carriers (M113AS4) will be integral to the three brigades.  Trials are currently being conducted to examine the efficiency and suitability of placing Abrams tank in each Armoured Cavalry Regiment.  While this will not increase the number of armoured vehicles in Army, the Light Armoured Vehicles and Armoured Personnel Carriers will be replaced over time as part of the Government’s commitment to project Land 400, Army’s future combat vehicle project.

Plan BEERSHEBA recognises the operational capability of the Army Reserve.  The restructure will closely integrate full and part time personnel in order to generate a total force capable of meeting a range of contingencies.  The 2nd Division will assume an even greater focus on operations. Each Multi-role Manoeuvre Brigade will be supported by two Reserve Brigades from 2nd Division.

When fully implemented towards the end of the decade, Plan BEERSHEBA will have delivered a modern, adaptable and modular land combat force. The Australian soldiers that make up this force along with their various platforms will be networked by modern digital communications and battle management systems and be among the best equipped in the world.

The Australian Army is moving into the future with a new perspective and a smarter way of doing business and delivering capability within assigned resources.  Plan BEERSHEBA will ensure that Army can continue to contribute forces to operations as well as successfully transition to a force that maintains high levels of readiness to respond to the range of Australia’s Defence needs in the future. 


3 May 2013

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