Budget cutbacks now hurting defence effectiveness: Lieutenant-General David Morrison
AUSTRALIA'S army chief is to make a rare public intervention to warn that further budget cuts pose a risk to the effectiveness of the nation's armed forces.
Lieutenant-General David Morrison
in a speech later today, will say he would hate to see the mistakes of the post-Vietnam War era repeated, either in the name of misconceived strategy or economic stringency.
"We are approaching a point where doing more with less risks becoming a cavalier disregard for the ability of forces to survive against credible peer competition," he will tell Canberra University's National Security Institute.
In details of his speech published in The Australian today, General Morrison says defence can conduct its assigned operations "with decent prospects of success and commensurate acceptable levels of risk to our troops".
But he adds: "The current straitened fiscal climate poses a very real risk to the army's approved plan for development out to 2030".
He applauded the government for its focus on current operations but said potential problems lay further out.
"Let's not repeat the mistakes that we made before the Second World War," he told ABC radio, adding battalions were sent to the Kokoda Track woefully prepared.
"Similarly when we went to Vietnam, similarly when we went to East Timor."
General Leahy said neither the army nor the Australian Defence Force was ready for East Timor.
"He (Morrison) is concerned as I am concerned that we don't get these imbalances again where the army, the force that is most likely to be used in the future, is just ill-prepared."
General Leahy said least likely of all future scenarios was a conventional attack on Australia.
Most likely were more missions of the type conducted in recent years which included interventions in Somalia, Rwanda, Cambodia, the Solomons and East Timor.
"That's the bit that needs boots on the ground," he said.
"If government gets into strife, the first place they are going to look is decreasing the size of the army and frankly that would be the wrong thing to do."
It is absolutely true in war, were other things equal, that numbers, whether men, shells, bombs, etc, would be supreme. Yet it is also absolutely true that other things are never equal and can never be equal - Maj.Gen. J. F. C. Fuller
At that time, I will search out and destroy all of the nations who have come against Jerusalem - Zechariah 12:9