With the COVID-19 pandemic changing rapidly around Australia, a military support team is helping Defence understand the needs of state governments and their communities for better engagement and to achieve a successful outcome.  

Captain Craig Adlam, of the Civil-Military Coordination Tactical Support Team (CIMIC), is deployed to Melbourne to provide liaison, framework planning and advisory support for the operation.

“CIMIC helps provide a conduit between the military and civilians,” Captain Adlam said.

“We inform the commander and liaise with civilian agencies to make sure those relationships are as productive as possible and mean effective engagement."

Captain Adlam said they created a liaison architecture that outlined the key civilian and government personnel involved in the operation.

“It allows the commander to better understand the civil agencies he works with and get the most out of key leadership engagements,” Captain Adlam said.

The team's effect is not limited to internal information-sharing and relationship management.

“We also seek to understand how the military is viewed by the public,” Captain Adlam said.

“We assess things like community atmospherics by communicating with civilians to ask what they think about what is going on.”

Captain Adlam said COVID-19 had made information gathering a challenge.

“With restrictions we can’t go out to testing sites and talk to people,” Captain Adlam said.

“To mitigate this we listen to what health professionals are saying. We add our CIMIC lens to highlight anything from a civil perspective that could spark a question.

“Then we feed that insight back into the planning process.”

Captain Adlam said this approach was part of the power the team brought to operations.

“Instead of focusing on how the task is conducted we look at the potential second and third order effects of that task,” Captain Adlam said.

“We advise and provide an alternate perspective to highlight risks and opportunities for the force element.”