The world is awash with stories of the Australian military, but a report into how the Defence Force operates in the war zone paints a picture of an organisation that has long been plagued by poor governance and a lack of transparency.
Key points:The Defence Force is set to have a big shake-up, with the number of officers in its ranks expected to be reducedA report by a parliamentary inquiry has found the Defence force has a ‘long-term’ problem with governance, transparency and accountabilityThe Defence Forces has a long-term problem with accountability and governance, the report has foundThe report comes amid growing concern that the military’s ability to perform its job will be put at risk as the world shifts to a more conventional world.
In a report released on Thursday, the parliamentary inquiry into the Australian Defence Force (ADF) found the ADF is a ”long-standing problem” with governance and transparency, has a ”toxic culture” and is ”deeply flawed”.
The report also found the military has a history of poor governance, with more than 100 senior military officers currently under investigation over allegations of misconduct, misconduct of other senior officers, or breach of the military code of conduct.
The report was commissioned by the Australian Greens and Labor, with Labor calling for the Government to ensure the ADFs future operations are ”in the national interest”.
Mr McCoys has called on the Government and Defence Force leadership to address the problems the report identified.
“We have seen the Defence Forces be criticised in the past for its lack of accountability and transparency,” he said.
“These problems will only grow if the ADMs [Australian Defence Force] fails to properly manage their operations in a manner that is accountable to the Australian people.”
The ADF, which operates a range of military and civilian equipment, supplies military personnel to the international coalition fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, ISIS), as well as other countries.
In 2014, the ADM received a major boost when it was awarded $2.8 billion to buy and refurbish military equipment, including aircraft and tanks, that it could not otherwise afford.
The Government has also said the Government will not allow the ADs ”dumb” budget to run out and that it will be funding the ADMF as it did for the Defence Logistics Agency in the 1990s.
The Australian Federal Police has also recently received the Defence’s latest batch of armoured vehicles, a significant boost in the AD’s ability and capability to defend Australia.
But the report found the Army has struggled to achieve its strategic objectives, including ensuring its soldiers have adequate weapons and ammunition, and is struggling to meet its military objectives.
“The ADM has not achieved its strategic objective in recent years, while the Army is not performing at the highest levels of efficiency,” the report said.
Mr McCoy said the AD was ”under a lot of pressure”.
“We’ve seen a lot in recent times, particularly from the Department of Defence, that the Defence and the AD have to be at each other’s throats to try to make sure that the AD and the Army work together,” he told 7.30.
He said the Defence Minister and the Defence Industry Minister should address the shortcomings identified in the report, but he said the country’s future depended on the AD maintaining its leadership.
“I don’t think it’s going to be the case that they’re going to get to the point where the AD is just in the background, or they’re just a footnote in the Defence budget, that they can be able to do their job as effectively as they can,” Mr McCoy told 7:30.