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Trust and Leadership: The Australian Army Approach to Mission Command

Front cover image of Trust and Leadership: The Australian Army Approach to Mission Command (UNG Press, 2020). A close-up photograph of an Australian soldier in uniform


Russell W. Glenn
Forward by LTG (Ret.) L.D. Holder, General Sir Peter Cosgrove

Contributing Authors:

Dr. Peter Pedersen
Dr. Peter J. Dean
Dr. Megan Fitzpatrick
Dr. Bob Hall
Lieutenant General (Ret.) John Caligari
Dr. John Blaxland
Lieutenant General John Frewen
Major General Anthony Rawlins
Brigadier Chris R. Smith
Brigadier Ian Langford
Major General Chris Field
Major General Rodger Noble



Print Version

$19.99 in U.S.
$27.19 in Australia 


The global military conflicts of the 21st century revealed a need for new styles of command. Trust and Leadership depicts the use of mission command in the Australian Army. Written by serving and retired military officers, this essay collection reveals how Australian mission command was applied during ten global conflicts from Australian Imperial Forces in the First World War through 21st century operations. Forewords by LTG (Ret.) L. D. Holder and General Sir Peter Cosgrove begin this collection.

Trust and Leadership is an official AUSA Book Program title.

About the Editor

Dr. Russell W. Glenn’s military career included service in Korea, Germany, United Kingdom, and a combat tour in Iraq during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm with the 3rd Armored Division. He was a senior defense analyst with RAND from 1997 to 2009 and is currently on the faculty of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at The Australian National University.

Dr. Glenn has degrees from the United States Military Academy, University of Southern California, Stanford University, School of Advanced Military Studies, and University of Kansas. Past research includes studies on counterinsurgency, urban operations, military and police training, and intelligence operations. His Rethinking Western Approaches to Counter-Insurgency was published in spring 2015.

Contributing Authors

Dr. John Blaxland is Professor of International Security and Intelligence Studies at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University. Blaxland holds a Ph.D. in War Studies from the Royal Military College of Canada, an M.A. in History from the Australian National University, and a B.A. (Hons 1) from the University of New South Wales. A former Army Intelligence Corps officer, he is also a graduate of the Royal Thai Army Command & Staff College and the Royal Military College, Duntroon. In addition to a range of chapters and articles on intelligence, military history, and regional security issues, his publications include A Geostrategic SWOT Analysis for Australia (2019); Tipping The Balance in Southeast Asia? (2017); The Secret Cold War (2016); East Timor Intervention (2015); The Protest Years (2015); The Australian Army From Whitlam to Howard (2014); and Strategic Cousins (2006). He is also an editor for In from the Cold: Reflections on Australia’s Korean War (2020) and Niche Wars: Australia in Afghanistan and Iraq, 2001–2014 (forthcoming).

Lieutenant General (Australian Army, retired) John Caligari AO, DSC first deployed as a military observer with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization in the Middle East before serving as a company commander and then operations officer of the 1st Battalion Group in Somalia as part of the U.S.-led coalition Unified Task Force (UNITAF) in 1993. He commanded the 1st Battalion Amphibious Ready Element to the Solomon Islands for the evacuation of Australians during a period of civil unrest in 2000. Later that year, he commanded the 1st Battalion Group on operations with the United Nations Transitional Authority in East Timor. As Commander 3rd Brigade, he certified seven task groups ready for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and then deployed as the Australian National Commander for Afghanistan in 2009. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and U.S. Joint and Combined Land Component Commanders Course and has two master’s degrees. He completed his military career as the Chief of Capability Development Group (Strategic J8) at Australian Defence Headquarters.

Dr. Peter J. Dean is chair of defence studies and director of the University of Western Australia’s Defence and Security Program. Dean’s major research areas include Australian strategic policy, the ANZUS alliance, and command, operations, and amphibious warfare. In 2014–15 he was the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Fulbright Fellow in U.S.-Australian Alliance Studies at Georgetown University and in 2018, a Commonwealth Endeavour Research Fellow. An award-winning author, he is the primary author of nine books including MacArthur’s Coalition: US and Australian Military Operation in the Southwest Pacific 1942–1945 (2018) and (with Brendan Taylor and Stephan Frühling) After American Primacy: Imagining the Future of Australia’s Defence (2019). He is the series editor of the Melbourne University Press Defence Studies Series, a former managing editor of the journal Security Challenges, and current board member of Global War Studies and Australian Army Journal.

Major General Chris Field serves in the Australian Army. He has commanded at each level from platoon, company, combat team, battalion, battle group, brigade, and joint task force, to leading 36,000 people in the Australian Army’s Forces Command. Combat deployments include East Timor, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He deployed twice on disaster recovery operations in Queensland, Australia, and on peacekeeping operations to the Middle East and Solomon Islands. He served as Vice Director of Operations, United States Central Command, as a Deputy Commanding General, 82nd Airborne Division, and as a planner with United States Army Central. He is a graduate of the United States Army Land Component Commander Course, United States Marine Corps School of Advanced Warfighting, and United States Marine Corps Command and Staff College.

Dr. Meghan Fitzpatrick is a strategic analyst and an adjunct professor in War Studies at the Royal Military College of Canada. A graduate of King’s College London, she is the author of numerous publications including Invisible Scars: Mental Trauma and the Korean War (University of British Columbia Press, 2017). Specializing in the history of operational stress injuries and military health, her work has appeared in distinguished journals such as Oxford University’s Social History of Medicine and Taylor & Francis’ War & Society.

Lieutenant General John J. Frewen, DSC, AM is a career infantry officer who specialized in rapid response forces. In 2003, as CO of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (2 RAR), he led a multinational military intervention force supporting police to re-establish law and order in the Solomon Islands. This combined joint task force comprised almost 1800 troops from five nations supporting a regional police effort. His other service includes deployments with the UN in Rwanda in 1994, NATO in Afghanistan in 2007, and command of all Australian forces across the Middle East in 2017. Frewen’s recent postings include that as Principal Deputy Director-General of the Australian Signals Directorate and Commander Defence Covid-19 Task Force.

Dr. Bob Hall graduated from the Royal Military College, Duntroon, in 1968 and served as an infantry platoon commander in the 8th Battalion the Royal Australian Regiment, during its 1969–1970 tour in Vietnam. He is now a Visiting Fellow at the University of New South Wales Canberra. He is a military historian and currently leads the Military Operations Analysis Team in studies relating to Australia’s involvement in post-1945 counterinsurgency operations. His publications include Combat Battalion: The Eighth Battalion in Vietnam and (with Andrew Ross and Amy Griffin) The Search for Tactical Success in Vietnam: An Analysis of Australian Task Force Combat Operations.

Brigadier Ian Langford, DSC and Bars is a career Special Forces infantry officer. He has commanded on operations at the platoon, company, task group, joint task force, and regimental levels. He has served on multiple occasions in East Timor, Solomon Islands, Bougainville, Afghanistan, the Southwest Pacific, Iraq, Israel, Syria, Lebanon, and on domestic counter terrorism duties. He is a graduate of the United States Marine Corps Command and Staff College and School of Advanced Warfighting.

Major General Roger Noble, DSC, AM, CSC is a 30-year soldier with a background in the Royal Australian Armoured Corps. Through 1989 to 2004, Brigadier Noble served in a variety of regimental appointments in cavalry, APCm and tank units. He has an extensive staff background in capability development, concepts, and modernization. He completed his posting as Commander 3rd Brigade in Townsville in December 2015. Brigadier Noble has completed six operational tours of duty in Iraq, East Timor, and Afghanistan in a variety of command and staff appointments between 1992 and 2017. He was born in Cairns, Queensland, and is a keen surfer, ex-rugby player, and fisherman.

Dr. Peter Pedersen, AM was consultant historian for the Sir John Monash Centre and other Commonwealth commemorative projects on the Australian battlefields of the Western Front and for the ANZAC Museum in Beersheva, Israel, which commemorates the ANZAC campaign in Sinai and Palestine. A graduate of the Royal Military College, Duntroon, the Australian Command and Staff College, and the University of New South Wales, he commanded the 5th/7th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment, served as a political and strategic analyst at the Australian Office of National Assessments, and was Assistant Director at the Australian War Memorial. Dr. Pedersen’s ten books include the acclaimed Monash as Military Commander and studies of the Gallipoli campaign and the battles of Fromelles, Villers-Bretonneux, and Hamel. He has presented many television and radio documentaries on Australia in the First World War, led numerous battlefield tours in Europe and Asia, including leading and organizing the first British tour to Dien Bien Phu, and appears frequently in the Australian media.

Major General Anthony Rawlins, DSC, AM has command experience as a troop leader, squadron commander, and commanding officer of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment. Recent staff appointments have included Colonel Plans at Headquarters 1st Division/Deployable Joint Force Headquarters, Director General Military Strategic Commitments, and Deputy Chief of the Australian Army. He has served as a military observer with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization in Israel and Lebanon (1999), commanding officer of Overwatch Battle Group West—Two in Iraq (2006–2007), and Chief Combined and Joint Operations (CJ3) at Headquarters International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan (2014). His tertiary qualifications include bachelor’s degrees in Arts and Law and master’s degrees in Arts, Management, and Defence Studies.

Brigadier Chris R. Smith, DSC, CSC is the Australian Army Director General Land Operations (G3). He commanded 2 RAR Battle Group in Afghanistan in 2011, having in 2006 been operations officer for the same organization in Iraq. His operational experience also includes United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda 2 in 1995 where he served as a platoon commander and as an observer in the Middle East with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization in 2002. Brigadier Smith is a graduate of the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College and School of Advanced Military Studies. Brigadier Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts, History from the University of New South Wales and a Master of Military Art and Science from the United States Army School of Advanced Military Studies.


AUSA Book Program

As a partner to the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Book Program, UNG Press will aid AUSA’s educational mission by producing high-quality books to be designated as “AUSA Books.” These books will address such subjects as military land power and land warfare history, technology, combat, and strategy and tactics. This curated collection will serve to help and educate members of the U.S. Army, the Department of Defense, the AUSA, U.S. government officials, and the general public. To further these goals, AUSA will promote UNG Press’s AUSA Books by linking them to AUSA’s website, listing them in AUSA publications as a member benefit, and reviewing them in ARMY magazine or other AUSA publications.

Press Kit/Reviews


“Mission command remains the most effective method to exploit the fleeting opportunities of battle. Looking across a century of Australian military experience, Trust and Leadership is an important and insightful exploration of what it takes to nurture mission command in our teams. Leadership and trust are essential ingredients for success.”

- General Angus J. Campbell, AO, DSC, Chief of Defence Force Australia

“In hard fighting alongside scores of armies, I have served with few that can match the world class fighting qualities of the Australians, well known for ‘punching above their weight.’” This masterful book reveals how Diggers, embracing the technique of mission command built on trust, unleash such initiative, and why the Australian Army thrives in the most uncertain circumstances. An essential addition to every leader’s library.”

- General James N. Mattis, U.S. Marines (Ret.), 26th Secretary of Defense

“For over 100 years, Australian and American forces have fought together as close allies. This important book on Australian Army mission command experiences across the globe shows, again and again, what we can learn from each other as we enter the next 100 years of mateship.”

- Nick Warner, AO PSM, Director, General National Intelligence

As the officer entrusted with the codification of Mission Command for the British Army in the mid-1990s, I much looked forward to reading and reviewing this title. I was not disappointed. This work is a most valuable contribution to the study of mission command in an army that has now embodied this decentralized philosophy of command in both doctrine and practice.

- Mungo Melvin, Major General, British Army (Ret.)

Trust and Leadership provides valuable commentaries on command aspects of Australia’s past wars and particularly its more recent operations. Perhaps more importantly, it provides much food for thought for military professionals in both the Australian and U.S. armies. Indeed, it should be required reading for unit commanders and officers attending command and staff colleges.

- Dr. David Horner, Official Historian, Australian Peacekeeping, Humanitarian and Post-Cold War Operations

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