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Volume 24 Number Two July/September 1998

The Knowledge Edge


The Australian Naval Institute was formed and incorporated in the ACT in 1975. The main objectives of the Institute are:

  • to encourage and promote the advancement of knowledge related to the Navy and maritime profession: and

  • to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas concerning subjects related to the Navy and the maritime profession.

The Institute is self-supporting and non-profit-making. Views and opinions expressed in the Institute's publications are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Institute or the Royal Australian Navy. The aim is to encourage discussion, dissemination of information, comment and opinion and the advancement of professional knowledge concerning naval and maritime matters.

The membership of the Institute is open to:

  • Regular Members. Regular membership is open to members of the RAN, RANR, RNZN, RNZNVR and persons who. having qualified for regular membership, subsequently leave the service.

  • Associate Members. Associate membership is open to people not qualified to be Regular Members, who profess an interest in the aims of the Institute.

  • Honorary Members. Honorary Membership is awarded to people who have made a distinguished contribution to the Navy, the maritime profession or the Institute.


The corporations listed below have demonstrated their support for the aims of the Institute by becoming Friends of the Australian Naval Institute. The Institute is grateful for their assistance.


ADl Limited

STN Atlas

Thomson Marconi Sonar


The editorial guidelines for articles are that they are:

  1. in electronic format (e-mail or disk); letters to the editor will be accepted in any format

  2. in MS Word; and

  3. either 250-400 words (letters and illumination rounds), 1500-2000 words (smaller articles) or 3000-5000 words (feature articles).

We can support black and white photography and diagrams but please supply originals or electronic copies. Colour plates are limited within the journal and will normally be reserved for feature articles.

Journal of the Australian Naval Institute

ISSN 0312—5807

Volume 24 Number 2 July/September lu9«






Letters to the Editor


Australia's Strategic Policy

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- The Honourable Ian McLachlan AO MP. Minister for Defence

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- 77«' users of knowledge - combat

Knowledge Edge - Maritime




- ffoger P. Creaser

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- Submitted by Coastwatch

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New Zealand's Defence - in Good

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- Richard Jackson

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East Asia 2020: Visions of a

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- Pefer Jennings


'Popular consciousness' of maritime

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Australia: some implications for a national oceans policy development

- LCDR Seth Appiah-Mensah. Ghana Navy Centre for Maritime Policy. University of Wollongong


Fresh Water Flat Tops US Ships Sable and Wolverine


- Graham Wilson

Campbell ACT 2600


Minchunter Launch

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Journal of the Australian Naval Institute


Editorial ...


"We have called our highest capability priority the 'knowledge edge', that is, exploiting information technology so we can use our relatively small forces to maximum effect."

...Ian McLachlan AO MP, ls>s>8

The knowledge edge is the theme for this edition of the journal. It's time we in the institute came to terms with the need for the knowledge edge and how the Navy intends developing and maintaining its edge in the region. Chief of Navy is on record as wanting the most capable regional Navy south of China and east of India - knowledge has a crucial role in this vision. The future security environment in our region will shape the RAN's posture and development. An article by Peter Jennings provides a useful scene setter.

The Defence Science and Technology Organisation have put their views to members in an article by Dr Roger Creaser on the knowledge edge implications for the maritime batllespaee. Is the knowledge edge focusing on the accumulation of information or the application of information? Is the focus to gather information belter and faster, or, be able to take action on information better and faster? Dr Creaser points out in his article that the distinguishing feature between 'knowledge' and the 'knowledge edge' is " the information is presented and interpreted..."

But at the end of the day the winner is the commander who uses knowledge most effectively, and not necessarily with a high tech decision support system that many would see as the ultimate weapon of knowledge. Would it therefore not be easier to phrase the highest capability priority for Defence as "wisdom"? According to the Oxford dictionary, wisdom is "...experience and knowledge together with the power to apply them." Is that what Dr Creaser was saying, that the knowledge edge' is a combination of knowledge, experience and application?

Many successful commanders were wise in the ways of warfare and won their day despite having limited knowledge of their enemy - Spruance at Midway springs to mind. Will high tech decision support

systems help us light and win at sea or develop in our commanders a dependence on technology - which could lead to decision avoidance?

How industry uses its knowledge to provide more effective capability to the Navy is outlined in a speech by Mr Ken Harris. Managing Director ADI on the occasion of the launch of the second Huon class minchunter in Newcastle. We hope to hear more in the future about how our industry partners intend to deal with the quest for the knowledge edge.

NZ's Defence plans are also important to the Institute and they are critically analysed in an article by Richard Jackson. New Zealand defence spending is at an all-time low. recently dropping to approximately \<7< of GDP. The implications for the RNZN could be extremely unforgiving ... is a two frigate navy a viable force? Is New Zealand keeping up with the knowledge edge?

While the wartlghling environment is a fundamental influence on Navy capability development, there are many other requirements of Navies, not all of which are seen as complementing the notion of a combat smart Navy. Ocean governance is one such area and LCDR Seth Appiah-Mensah. a student from the University of Wollongong. has provided a paper on ocean policy development in Australia.

Similarly, coastal surveillance is a sometime Navy role. Australian Customs has provided an article on Coastwatch. a close partner with Defence for the protection of our coastline. And as usual we have a history segment - hope you enjoy it.

Looking ahead, the next edition of JANl will deal with the fundamental component of capability, our people. Do we plan our workforce well enough, do we train well enough, and arc we loo demanding of our people? All the knowledge in the world is of little consequence if it is not applied to effect.

Andrew Bewick

July/September IWS


Journal of the Australian Naval Institute

Dear Sir,

Graham Wilson's article on the Naval General Service Medal 1793- 1840 UANI January - March 1998) Seal me scrambling for a copy of the late Lew Lind's book SEA JARGON. A Loblolly Boy is described on page 95 as a 'young boy assigned to assist the Ships Surgeon or Steward. A 19th Century term'.

A Shifter is described on page 128 as 'an old name for a Cook's mate in the Navy. The name derives from his duties of shifting casks about when bringing up rations from the store.'

A Swabber is not described but may have been a man whose duties were to clean the decks - the 19th Century version of communal duties such as scrubbing out the ships company cafe. A Krooman (or Crewman), however, has me stumped. Maybe they just could not spell'.'

LCDR G. J. Swinden. RAN

Dear Sir,

Having finally got around to reading the January/March issue of the Journal, I was sufficiently annoyed by reference under the photograph on page 3 ft to all who will serve on her' (my italics) to write-in an effort to reverse a sloppy habit which seems to he appearing in the modern navy. In my day, we served in ships and, judging from the relative lack of open upper deck space in some modem ships and the lighting of them almost exclusively from between decks or other enclosed spaces, it seems clear that "in" is even more relevant today.

I have heard several officers and sailors use "on" in recent months, including the captain of an FFG. I appeal to all in positions of influence and to you as Journal editor to be assiduous in referring to sendee in our ships.

Another (small) point - I trust someone has put Dr Lanishaw right that the name is Queenhorouf>h, not Queensporough (page 22 of the same issue).

Finally, am I already in my dotage or is it true that your address appears nowhere in the Journal? I can't find it anywhere! If it is on the address sheet. I've already thrown it out. Please put it inside or on the Journal itself.

Notwithstanding the above. I congratulate you on another interesting issue and wish the Institute well.

D C Rose Lieutenant Commander RAN R'td

Dear Sir,

Your January/March article Illumination Rounds addresses the topic of leadership, which is of course an essential element in the educational curriculum of all military officers. It is also a topic which appears in many civilian management-focused training curses.

My experiences within the RAN, and in the commercial or corporate world, have enabled me to undertake a comparative assessment of leadership qualities required for both environments, and to identify some common characteristics between them.

On every course which I have attended (and there have been many), which addressed the topic of leadership and how it should be defined, there was always a different conclusion reached. I recall that a common conceptual difficulty existed in differentiating between a good manager and a good leader.

Since entering the corporate world however, a definition which is common to both environments has crystallised in my mind as:

'Leadership is the ability to inspire performance in others which probably would not have occurred otherwise".

The key action words of course are. 'to inspire' and the analysis of common leadership qualities and characteristics becomes complicated when one-realises that one person's inspiration can be another person's boredom. Nevertheless any person who can inspire many people simultaneously to elevated performance levels, and towards the achievement of common goals, deserves to be labelled as a leader, and must necessarily in my view have at least the following common characteristics:

  1. Knowledge - A superior grasp of all information relating to the operating environment of the group;

  2. Vision - A vision for the group:

  3. Communication Skills - A superior ability to communicate with the group.

For those still within the Armed Forces, who have performed admirably and have been assessed positively as having demonstrated superior leadership capabilities, there may be the anticipation that such assessments will automatically enable them to have a smooth transition to leadership positions within the civilian community when they eventually exit from their respective Armed Force. Examination of the

(Continued on page 111

My/September 1998

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