Author Topic: More troops needed: Cosgrove (Australia)  (Read 2082 times)

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More troops needed: Cosgrove (Australia)
« on: July 04, 2005, 06:10:08 »
More troops needed: Cosgrove

June 30, 2005

http://theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,15777014%255E31477,00.html



OUTGOING defence force chief General Peter Cosgrove today backed calls for up to 2000 more troops for the army.

General Cosgrove, who stands down at the top of the defence force and hands over to Air Marshal Angus Houston next week, said there was an evolution in the way wars were being fought.

He said the conclusion that more troops were needed â “ the army has about 25,600 fulltime personnel â “ was fairly recent.

"We are talking in the last few months that we have become persuaded that to do it properly we may need to ask government for another 1000 to 2000 troops in the army," he told the Nine Network .

"It is not something which has been sitting there unconsidered by government. It is really just evolving thought.

"I know that Angus Houston and chief of army (Lieutenant General) Peter Leahy will be looking to mount that case in the months ahead."

In the past few years, commentators and groups such as the Australian Strategic Policy Institute have called for additional troops, arguing they were the most useful type of personnel in the operations Australia was likely to undertake.

General Cosgrove said he would play no role in putting such a case.

"I will clap at the appropriate time but I won't be getting out on the field," he said.

General Cosgrove said he departed with a great sense of satisfaction but it was the right time to go.

He said he did not think of his widespread public recognition as anything but a great honour which came about by accident.

General Cosgrove rose to national fame as commander of the East Timor Operation in 1999.

That happened because at that time he happened to be commander of the Brisbane-based deployable joint force headquarters, the only Australian Defence Force unit configured to run a big coalition operation outside Australia.

"I take it very seriously and I am always very flattered and humbled by the attention paid to me but really paid to our men and women," he said.

"I was simply leading all these wonderful young Aussies and the troops of other nations and I felt that the people deserved to hear from the boss to know that the boss is taking the job seriously and doing his best to take care of the boys and girls entrusted to him."

General Cosgrove said his most anxious moments occurred at times when Australian troops were heading into danger, at the start of action in East Timor, Afghanistan, Iraq and even in Sumatra after the tsunami.

"Tragically we lost nine people dead in the Sea King accident. That was a terrible moment," he said.

"Even though I hope I am still a professional soldier making professional assessments, you can't help but feel parental, paternal towards your men and women."

Asked if he would accept the job of governor-general if it was offered, General Cosgrove said he admired the sort of people who held such high offices.

"I don't ever personally put myself into that frame. I will simply say that I am going to get on with life because there is life there to be lived and I want to do interesting and participative things," he said.