Posted July 15, 2018 04:04:10 The Australian Defence Force is facing a shortage of personnel and equipment to support its mission in Afghanistan.
Key points:The Defence Force will need to employ up to 50,000 people by 2020 to meet its 2025 Defence Force strategyThe Government is proposing to raise $15 billion for the new planThe Defence Department has estimated that there will be a shortfall of up to 250,000 personnel to support the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) by 2021The ANDSF is Australia’s largest military force, comprising more than 60,000 soldiers and police.
The Australian Defence force (ADF) currently has around 6,500 personnel on duty in Afghanistan, while the Government is currently proposing to increase that number to 10,000 by 2020.
The ANDF is responsible for protecting Afghanistan’s borders and its national interests, as well as carrying out air operations against Taliban and other foreign fighters.
However, the plan also proposes to hire up to 500 additional personnel to meet the needs of the new Defence Force Strategy.
In a submission to the Senate defence committee, the Australian Defence Department said it had identified “substantial and growing” shortages of personnel in the ANDSf.
“As a result of the ANDf being able to maintain a robust capability to deliver the missions it undertakes, we are able to sustain the pace of its annual growth,” the submission said.
“This growth in capability is largely offset by a significant number of personnel being lost to the Afghanistan National Defence Force (ANDF) in 2016-17.”
The Department is proposing that the Defence Force use up to $15.4 billion of its existing Reserve Force funding for the plan to hire 25,000 additional personnel.
The plan would also see the ADF increase its operational presence to a total of 4,000 troops, including 2,000 more personnel to work in the region.
In response to the submission, Defence Minister Michael Keenan said that the ANDF’s ability to protect Afghanistan’s national interests would be further enhanced by having a “stronger, better trained and better equipped force”.
“As the ANDsF expands and adapts, it will become a more robust and effective force,” Mr Keenan told reporters.
“And as that force grows, it is the Defence Department that will be responsible for supporting and equipping that force in the future.”
Mr Keenan added that the Government was not seeking to expand the military role of the Defence Forces, and had sought to ensure that the defence budget remained balanced.
“The Government’s goal is to have a balanced defence budget and not to increase defence spending in any way,” he said.
The Government said it was also working to improve training and recruitment of ANDSFs.
“Our goal is that by 2020, we will have over half a million trained and equipped ANDSFS personnel,” Mr Kean said.
Mr Keenon said that Australia’s ability “to support the ANDTF in their mission will be enhanced by a robust and well-resourced force”.
The Defence Ministry has estimated there will only be a need for 50,001 people to support ANDSSF personnel by 2020 as part of its 2025 strategy.
“At the same time, the ANDPF will be relying on a workforce that is more robust in their ability to meet their mission in a more effective and cost effective manner,” the Defence Minister said.