Lieutenant General David Morrison (pictured) is Chief of the Australian Army.
I am a strong supporter of discussion and debate on a wide range of issues, including the future nature of warfare; however I disagree with the thesis put forward by Dr Albert Palazzo in the latest Land Warfare Studies Centre Working Paper (ed. note: Dr Palazzo blogged about his paper on The Interpreter). There has been no stifling of debate on issues by any member in Defence or Government. The very production of such a paper affirms that contentions can be openly aired and debated within our Army and our Defence Force.
I have made a number of public speeches since becoming Chief of Army and there has been no 'clearance' process that I have used in framing my comments, nor any direction provided to me. In fact, the amount of freedom available to me, and Army, has been heartening.
There is some necessary bureaucracy surrounding the coordination of public comment from within the Department, but this should not be misconstrued as direction or the stifling of comment – it has more to do with ensuring the Department (and Government) knows what public comment is being expressed and that it is correct.
I am all for a genuine contest of ideas on a wide range of topics and believe that any organisation that does not challenge itself will never become world class. We should be careful, however, not to base our debates on false premises.