Troops travel to the tropics
About 800 Australian Army personnel will be packing their bags to head north from Adelaide to Townsville, Brisbane and Darwin, with Defence Minister Richard Marles yesterday announcing the biggest restructure of the Australian Army in a decade. The move is set to happen between December 2024 and January 2025, with the troops joining more than 10,000 others already based in Northern Australia. Marles says moving the troops “will mean Army has a concentration of people and capabilities in Australia’s north, making it easier to deploy for training, major exercises or to support our partners and allies in the region.” And their focus will be on missions to “maintain peace, security and prosperity” along coastlines in the Pacific.
Yep, not that anyone’s saying their name… Marles says the shake-up is linked to the Defence Strategic Review, which was handed down in April. It was a big, ahem, review of our defence strategy and operations, and it made some big recommendations for our defence force to adjust to the times. That means being ready to respond to an ambitious China – or, as the review put it, we need to “manage and seek to avoid the highest level of strategic risk we now face as a nation: the prospect of major conflict in the region”. And that’s why, along with our allies (and particularly the US), we’re hustling to make the changes needed to ensure our interests in the Indo-Pacific region are best served. Fun fact: the move will see all of the Army’s heavy armour (aka tanks, armoured vehicles, and self-propelled howitzers) and half its helicopters in Townsville by 2025.
It is. As for China, its Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning yesterday said that her country’s military moves are purely defensive, and they’re “committed to maintaining peace and stability” in the region. “We do not pose any challenge to any country. We hope relevant countries will not hype up the so-called China threat narrative,” she said. And the Coalition isn’t on board either, with Defence spokesman Andrew Hastie saying the move will “shrink and disperse” the Army and that “will make us weaker”. And in case you were worried about Adelaide, don’t… It will become home to Australia’s future long-range strike and surface-to-air missile systems capabilities – but good luck finding the right workers…
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