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Offline big bad john (John Hill)

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Australia boosts troops due to growing instability
« on: August 25, 2006, 20:08:16 »

Australia boosts troops due to growing instability

By James Grubel
Thursday, August 24, 2006; 4:11 AM

CANBERRA (Reuters) - Australia announced a A$10 billion ($7.6 billion) plan to increase the size of its army on Thursday so it could respond more quickly to emergencies caused by growing instability in small Asia-Pacific nations.

Prime Minister John Howard said the army would seek an extra 2,600 troops, on top of the 1,500 extra forces announced earlier in the year, to provide two more battalions.


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He said the rapid deterioration of law and order in the Solomon Islands and East Timor this year, and the potential for instability in the Pacific nations of Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Vanuatu, prompted the military build up.

"It is overwhelmingly in our interests to stop states failing," Howard told reporters.

"I have very much in mind the experiences in East Timor, in the Solomons, the worry I continue to have about Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu," he said.

Australia currently has about 51,000 full-time soldiers, sailors and air force personnel.

The two new battalions will strengthen Australia's army to the highest number of active battalions since 1973, when Australia withdrew from the Vietnam War, Howard said.

The military buildup comes as Australia's stretched military maintains deployments in Iraq, Afghanistan, East Timor and the Solomon Islands, with more than 4,200 military personnel on duty overseas.

Australia sent about 3,000 peacekeepers to East Timor in June to head an international force to restore order following violence in the capital Dili, although the deployment is now being scaled back.

It also has about 1,400 forces in and around Iraq, and about 500 in Afghanistan. A detachment of 150 more troops began leaving this week to bolster the Afghan deployment.

Australia led an international force into the Solomon Islands in 2003 when the nation was on the brink of collapse and was facing increased ethnic violence.

Australia sent another 400 troops and more police to the capital, Honiara, in April this year after a fresh outbreak of violence and riots following national elections.

Howard said while Australia did not see any increased military threats to the country, regional instability would become worse over the next two decades and would require Australia's military to be able to respond.

"I believe in the next 10 to 20 years, Australia will face a number of situations the equivalent of, or potentially more challenging, than the Solomon Islands or East Timor," he said.

Howard did not say how the military would find the extra recruits, with the defense forces already struggling to fill recruitment targets and with defense surveys showing 30 percent of servicemen and women were looking at quitting.

A report by security analysts the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) said Australia had spent A$500 million over five years to build up the defense forces, but overall troop numbers had continued to fall.

It said in the past two years defense staffing levels remained 1,000 below target, while the number of people leaving the forces continued to increase to a high of almost 13 percent for the army and just over 12 percent for the navy.

Offline Carcharodon Carcharias

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Re: Australia boosts troops due to growing instability
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2006, 20:24:34 »
Thanks for posting this BBJ!

Cold ones,

"You've never lived until you've almost died; as for our freedom, for those of us who have fought for it, life has a flavour the protected will never know." - Anonymous

Offline Digger Hale

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Re: Australia boosts troops due to growing instability
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2006, 11:11:12 »
Makes going overseas a great possibility for us young blokes, especially Armour in the middle east. Maybe one day we'll even be able to compare the number of tours we'v been on to what many Canadians have been on. Although whether thats a good thing or not is up for negotiation.

All i need now is a ticket home! I've only got another week here and i'm getting excited to leave, not that i dont like Pet mind you...Its just that there are far more exciting hell holes elsewhere on this earth! ;D Its a nice place really and it'll be sad to leave it.
"Then imitate the actions of the tiger, stiffen the sinews, conjure up the blood...
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath, and bend up every spirit to his full height..."

Offline big bad john (John Hill)

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Re: Australia boosts troops due to growing instability
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2006, 23:01:35 »

Troop boost
Volume 11, No. 51, September 07, 2006
By Sgt Damian Griffin

Looking forward: The upsizing of the Army heralds an exciting new era for the organisation and its soldiers – such as Pte Thomas Savage, 2RAR, shown on duty in Iraq.
Photo by Cpl Rob Nyffenegger. 
5/7RAR will split into two mechanised infantry battalions, 8/9RAR will be re-raised, 3RAR will be re-roled to light infantry and Army will get a further 2600 soldiers – all before 2008.
The Government announcement on August 24 reads like a Christmas wish list come true for Army.

CA Lt-Gen Peter Leahy said the Government’s decision to increase numbers and capabilities followed its decision last December to increase Army by 1500 in support of changes brought under the Hardened and Networked Army (HNA) initiative, which had increased Army’s protection, mobility, firepower, communications and networking.

“On the basis of that consideration, [the Government’s] own strategic assessment and Defence planning guidance, they determined that because of strategic volatility both regionally and globally, there was a requirement for a larger Army in addition to the HNA,” Lt-Gen Leahy said.

He said the recent personnel and capability increases recognised the increased range of activities Defence had been involved in, and was likely to be involved in the future, including disaster relief, humanitarian operations, peacekeeping, peace support, counter-terrorism and the defence of Australia.

Additionally, Lt-Gen Leahy said the main types of operations the Army had recently been involved in involved failed or failing states and that in these situations “what we need is boots on the ground”.

“With the decreased likelihood of conventional military activities in the defence of Australia, we find ourselves in complex environments among the population [of failing states] in cities, in culture, in different languages … if you’re going to protect and support and persuade populations you simply need boots on the ground because cities chew up people,” he said.

Under the new announcement, 5/7RAR will split into two battalions, both mechanised, M113-mounted and under the command of 1 Bde. Both are projected to be fully-manned by 2008 and deployable within two years.

5RAR will remain in Darwin, and 7RAR will be located in Adelaide in the new barracks being built adjacent to RAAF Edinburgh.

Lt-Gen Leahy said added advantages of this were genuine posting options for mechanised infantry and the opportunity to use the rail link during the NT wet season to conduct exercises at SA’s Cultana and Woomera training areas.

3RAR, which had been earmarked last December to be re-roled as the second mechanised battalion under HNA, will now be re-roled as a light infantry battalion and will eventually move to Townsville under command of 3 Bde.

“When we learnt that there would be two additional battalions it made sense that with the mechanised culture resident in 5/7RAR, rather than completely re-role 3RAR we would split 5/7RAR,” Lt-Gen Leahy said.

Townsville would then have three light infantry battalions, with B Sqn 3/4 Cav Regt providing a Bushmaster capability and 5 Avn Regt an air mobile capability.

Once significant progress has been achieved with 5RAR and 7RAR, Lt-Gen Leahy said attention would turn to 7 Bde where 8/9RAR would be re-raised and brigade elements might be motorised with an Infantry Mobility Vehicle-styled capability.

“Hopefully what we can do is redress the gradual reduction in 7 Bde. The focus there will be not only on the regular personnel, but in reinvigorating the integrated nature of the brigade, particularly in the combat support and combat services support areas,” he said.

The location of 8/9RAR is yet to be decided with the options of Enoggera and the expanded base at RAAF Amberley both being considered.