Cheryl Pearce - A culmination of learning

Running time
3 min 27 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


Everything I did in my journey through my career best prepared me for Cyprus. So Timor gave me the initial understanding of the UN and understanding of how they operate. I was junior enough that I didn't get caught up in a lot of the process part of it but had the opportunity about what the contribution you provided to a member state, and how you work with the communities, and work politically to operate and to achieve success.

Taking to Afghanistan, everything in my career had prepared me to command in Afghanistan. All my education, all my training, all my experiences. And I thoroughly enjoyed that opportunity. It was challenging. I was well-served. I had a lot of support. I had excellent staff, and we worked really, really well. There was established procedures. I was then able to step up across... Got rid of all the white noise. I was purely focused on the mission.

Working to CJOPS, was able to achieve Australia's intent, both militarily and supporting our ambassador over there from a security perspective to achieve Australia's diplomatic and Australia's outcome for that. But working at a coalition level with 23 different countries as part of Resolute Support really enabled me to understand that operational strategic political position, by which I only had a small sort of opportunity in my appointments in Australia to do.

I really thoroughly enjoyed and actually worked out how you work collaboratively to achieve effects both national and global, and those relationships, and establishing relationships for that. But also, understanding everybody's individual contribution, and the single sense of that unity of purpose and effort. And understand everybody's individual value add to the organisation, and to how they bring it all together. Whether it's a Train Advise Assist, a coalition support, or my own staff, and how we worked as Team Australia in that environment.

That experience then enabled me to work in what I would call a multinational, multidimensional mission, that was really complex politically, strategically, and militarily, in a very different way, and nuanced globally by UN member state interest in the mission, in the region. And being able to build on what had been achieved before me in Cyprus, and then to evaluate on again. And to have the stewardship to take it forward.

It wasn't going to be achieve success on mine. As much as every force commander goes, "I'll be able to fix it," it's not. It's about the stewardship going forward. And to try and develop and achieve a political solution through peacekeeping. So yes, it really was. Each and every one I learnt a lot from, which then had the culmination for me as the force commander, which I would not have thought that it would've been more challenging than Afghanistan, but it was, in a completely different way.

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