The first three case studies analyze a series of pivotal moments in the history of the Australian Army: the dramatic downsizing that followed the Vietnam War, the seminal 1985 Dibb Review, and the buildup to the East Timor intervention in 1999. Further cases describe planning within a large organization, particularly the way senior leaders grapple with the demands of multiple operations while facing significant impetus for force modernization. The final chapter focuses on the crucial role of the Army’s leadership in developing the next generation of leaders. The book concludes with a series of insights into the study of command in peacetime and its relevance to wartime command, particularly given the challenges that face peacetime commanders who operate within considerable constraints.
"The Battles Before" uses recently declassified documents and interviews with key participants in a meticulous examination of a 30-year period characterized by profound and far-reaching change. This was a period that would reshape the Australian Army.