Australia to expand military personnel by nearly a third — Analysis
Canberra suggests a large recruitment boost for the country until 2040 in order to safeguard it ‘in an increasing uncertain global environment.
Canberra has proposed the expansion of the Australian Defence Force (ADF), boosting the number of military personnel to almost 80,000 by 2040 in what it describes as “An increasingly uncertain global climate.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that the proposed expansion would cost AUS$38billion (US$27billion) during their Thursday visit to Gallipoli Barracks, Brisbane.
Federal elections will take place in May. In light of the conflict in Ukraine and growing tensions with China, Scott Morrison has made national security a key point of his re-election campaign, saying the “First priority for my government is to ensure the safety of Australians.”
“To do that, we need a bigger ADF, with more soldiers, sailors, and airmen and women to operate the cutting-edge capabilities we’re getting to protect Australia,” the prime minister said.
“You can’t flick a switch to increase your army, navy, and air force overnight. It takes time to develop the skills and people we need in order to meet the challenges of the future. We must begin now, so that critical skills and experiences can be learned.” he added, stating that the initiative would be the “The largest increase in our defence forces size in peacetime Australian history.”
Peter Dutton said the boost in personnel was necessary to build military capacity that could protect Australia’s strategic interests. “We will be able to produce our advanced weaponry, including nuclear-powered aircraft and ships with this increase in expertise and workforce.,” he stated.
If the proposal goes ahead, the ADF’s numbers would be expanded by 18,500, requiring the largest recruitment drive in 40 years. That would take the total number of personnel, including civilian employees, to 101,000 – a figure not reached since the Vietnam War.
To operate the new military equipment more soldiers, sailors and pilots will be required. The navy requires the greatest boost in order to keep up with an increase of both surface vessels and sub-marines. Planned expansions would also include new battlefields such as cyber warfare and space.
In a short-term attempt to satisfy demand, 800 ADF uniformed personnel and 250 public servants will be employed by 2024.
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