‘Unsustainable’ for ADF to help with natural disasters and defend Australia, inquiry told

Sat, 8 Jul 2023 12:55:44 +1000

Andrew Pam <xanni [at] glasswings.com.au>

Andrew Pam

"It is “unsustainable” for the Australian defence force to continue to both
help with natural disasters and defend Australia, a parliamentary inquiry has

Air Vice Marshal Stephen Chappell, head of defence’s military strategic
commitments division, said the “unrelenting tempo” of bushfires, floods and
dealing with the Covid pandemic had strained resources, damaged morale and
interrupted training.

With climate change leading to more and more severe natural disasters, the
“concurrent pressure … will place an unsustainable pressure on our ability to
perform our primary role, the military defence of Australia’s national
interest”, he told the inquiry into the Department of Defence’s annual report.

The defence strategic review, released in April, found climate change was now a
national security issue and was increasing the challenges for defence through
domestic and regional natural disasters. “The acceleration of major climate
events risks overwhelming the government’s capacity to respond effectively and
detracting from defence’s primary objective of defencing Australia,” it found.

Chappell said ADF personnel took “pride and pleasure” in supporting their
communities but being taken away from their primary roles started to grate.

“They do get that immediate feedback of ‘thank god the ADF’s here’,” he said.

“That is one thing. But … over a sustained period of time if it means you’ve
missed most of your training over a year or two, then it starts to weigh
individually and collectively.”

Dr Andrew Dowse, director of the security analyst Rand Australia, warned that
“concurrent national crises” of both disasters and military threats meant
alternatives were needed."

       *** Xanni ***
mailto:xanni@xanadu.net               Andrew Pam
http://xanadu.com.au/                 Chief Scientist, Xanadu
https://glasswings.com.au/            Partner, Glass Wings
https://sericyb.com.au/               Manager, Serious Cybernetics

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