New role gives personnel direct line to chief


Warrant officers in the Australian Defence Force don’t command, they influence, according to the first Senior Enlisted Adviser to the Chief of the Defence Force (SEAC).

Warrant Officer Ken Robertson, who took up the position on July 1, said his role would be to take issues concerning the whole ADF enlisted workforce directly to the Chief of the Defence Force (CDF).

As part of the ADF senior leadership team, Warrant Officer Robertson will provide advice on issues including culture, ethical leadership and professional military education.

“The three services all have issues particular to that one service, but there’s a variety of workforce challenges that span the entire force,” Warrant Officer Robertson said.

Workforce recruitment and retention is high on the agenda, along with fostering a cultural identity that encompasses the entire ADF.

“When we go on operations, we rarely do it as a single service,” Warrant Officer Robertson said.

“I’m interested in how we can create a culture where we identify firstly as a member of the ADF while being equally proud of our individual services.”

Chief of the Defence Force General Angus Campbell, who established the SEAC position, said cultural identity and a force identity created maximum power and effect.

“The ADF is stronger when it sees itself as one force, not only in support of and in the fight, but in preparation and deterrence,” he said.

SEAC’s role will include strengthening ties with partnered nations.

“The Five Eyes community is one of the strongest relationships we have from an international defence perspective. Every nation under that alliance now has a SEAC equivalent,” Warrant Officer Robertson said.

The South-West Pacific and wider Indo Pacific is also a priority for SEAC.

He said connecting with the senior non-commissioned officer workforce across those nations and forming strong relationships meant accomplishing more for the region with greater ease.

Warrant Officer Robertson said he was looking forward to speaking with people in the workforce from all levels.

“I want to understand the issues and concerns across the services and to sit with the service warrant officers and Regimental Sergeant Major-Army, the service chiefs and CDF to discuss and advocate,” he said.

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