08 March 2010

Australian Defence Force in hotwater for spending according to SMH; article is a bit narrow sighted concerning spending on military personnel

Today's Sydney Morning Herald ran a story entitled "The wrong stuff" which has drawn heaps of national attention concerning defence spending and accountability.

A 2008-09 Defence Material Organisation review, simply known as the Pappas Review, which can be found here, noted that defence was wasting approximately $1.8 billion per year in unneccessary spending.

Thus far the ADF has yet to make any statement. (I'm sure sometime this morning the ADF will make a statement and I'll update this post.)

I do take issue with the SMH implying that there are issues with spending on military personnel for gym equipment and for some of our military personnel to be educated at overseas universities. Our defence personnel routinely put the lives on the line for freedoms we routinely take for granted on a daily basis. Proper recreational items, including, but not limited to, fitness equipment is most appropriate spending on our young men and women that wear the uniform to protect and defend us.

Well educated military personnel, even if they are educated at Harvard University at a cost to the Aussie taxpayer, ensures that our military has the best and the brightest in uniform. Criticizing the spending of tax payers dollars on the education of our military is just plain wrong.

I also take issue with the SMH criticizing that school-age Army cadets where flown overseas for training programs at a cost of $160,000. As a former military cadet myself, I can say that training trips overseas foster many positive values within our youth that carry over into their adulthood. Those positive values include, instilling confidence, obtaining an outside perspective of the rest of the world, providing a broad range of training which enables young quality cadets to become future leaders in our ADF, and the concept of working as a team in unfamiliar surroundings.

Training trips of Army cadets also serves to weed-out, through being an Army cadet, perspective ADF candidates who would not do well with the idea or concept of being stationed overseas. In the end it saves the Aussie taxpayer heaps of money because those cadets who complete an overseas training trip and do not enjoy it, would then not likely join the ADF. The end result thus saves tens of thousands, in not hundred of thousands dollars, in training misplaced training of personnel that may not be a good fit for the ADF.

Whilst the article does point out valid issues with some spending, it takes an unfair and unjust swipe at spending on our military personnel. Thus I take serious issue with that.

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