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The Force Structure Review: a progress report
SPECIFIC FORCE STRUCTURE REVIEW PROPOSALS
Command, Control and Communications
Intelligence Collection and Evaluation
Maritime Patrol and Response
Air Force Support
ADF Training System
Commercial Support Program
ADF Australian Defence Force
AEWAC Airborne Early Warning and Control
COOP Craft of Opportunity
CSP Commercial Support Program
DoD Department of Defence
DSTO Defence, Science and Technology Organisation
FSR Force Structure Review
FY Financial Year
IDC Interdepartmental Committee
JORN Jindalee Over the Horizon Radar Network
LAV Light Armoured Vehicle
MHI Minehunter Inshore
MWSC Mine Warfare System Centre
OTH Over the Horizon
PNG Papua New Guinea
RAN Royal Australian Navy
RFT Request for Tender
RAAF Royal Australian Air Force.
The Defence Force Structure Review ( FSR) was presented by the Minister for Defence, Senator Ray on 30 May 1991. The report begins with the statement:
The Force Structure Review builds on twenty years of development towards defence self-reliance in Australia, applying the priorities set out in the Government's White Paper, "The Defence of Australia 1987". In many cases its conclusions confirm the current planning direction; in others, adjustments are proposed. 1
There were a number of reasons why the government felt it was important to undertake a review of the Australian Defence Force's (ADF) force structure. The most important of these was undoubtedly the declining Defence budget, because of which it was apparent that the government would be unable to meet many of the objectives set out in the "1987 White Paper". As Chief of the Defence Force, General Peter Gration, stated: "we had to ensure that the structure was affordable both in the short and longer terms". 2 It should be remembered that the FSR is intended to fund only three-quarters of the program originally outlined in the 1987 White Paper as it is expected that Defence funding will remain at the current zero growth level.
Other reasons why the government undertook the Force Structure Review included a review by Alan Wrigley 3 entitled "The Defence Force and the Community" which was initiated to discover how the community could be involved more actively in matters relating to national security. A number of his proposals were included into the FSR in one form or another, as were a number of the findings of the Defence Regional Support Review and the Defence Logistics Redevelopment Project. It was generally felt that over the years the ADF had put too much of its limited resources into the support area and not enough into combat capabilities. 4 For this reason there was seen to be a need to improve efficiency in support functions to fund enhancments to the combat capability of the ADF.
In order to achieve this, three key initiatives were proposed to underpin the restructuring over the next decade. The first, was to maximise the combat capabilities of the ADF by reducing the number of service personnel engaged in support functions. Many of these roles will now be contracted out or civilianised in order to generate savings. Secondly the FSR proposed to shift the strategic focus to northern and western operations by relocating considerable defence assets from the south-east of Australia to the north and west. Thirdly it proposed making greater use of reserves, including the formation of a Ready Reserve, to supplement the current reserve forces of each Service, while maintaining the required overall force readiness. 5
Within these three key principles were a number of specific proposals which are fundamental to the restructuring of the ADF. This paper examines a number of these proposals and sets out subsequent developments. Not every FSR proposal has been examined in this way, and a list of those which were not (for reasons either of time, scarcity of publicly available data, or both) is included in the Annex.
SPECIFIC FORCE STRUCTURE REVIEW PROPOSALS
Command, Control and Communications
The Review's proposals for restructuring Defence's Command, Control and Communications systems are:
Increasingly provide high capacity strategic communications through the civil network ( FSR, para 2.6 (a)).
The government had already begun to make a limited use of the civil network before the release of the FSR, for example the Discon project which is to be completed by 1 July 1992. Since the FSR the government has increased civil network usage considerably with the signing, on 7 November 1991, of a major contract with AUSSAT Pty Ltd for satellite-based telecommunications services. 6 The contract makes the DoD one of AUSSAT's largest customers with the contract operating until 1 December 2005, (ie, for the expected full life of the AUSSAT B satellites), and the deal itself is worth more than $100 million.
The B Series will significantly increase the operational flexibility for the ADF in a number of areas including the DEFAUSSAT program and project PARAKEET. AUSSAT Managing Director Mr Graham Gosewinckel stated: "It more than doubles the DoD's existing use of satellite communications and provides a long term base for further development of Defence services". 7
The AUSSAT B satellites were to be launched on Chinese Long March rockets in March and September 1992. The launch on 22 March was aborted, however, due to technical problems. The satellite was not damaged in the aborted launch and the launch has now been rescheduled for 20 August. Prior to the FSR the DoD had been planning to launch its own military satellite, costing up to $500 million, but this has now been shelved.
Use the AUSSAT B Series satellite L Band service to provide satellite services to mobile ADF users over the next decade, under the MILSATCOM project ( FSR, para 2.6 (d)).
At present highly mobile forces use high frequency portable radios that have a range which without relays is limited to about 40 km. The L-band 8 transponders, however, will allow quality communications from a briefcase-sized transceiver from anywhere in Australia and PNG.
The mobile communications network system currently run by the defence forces is a high-security fixed communications system linked to a mobile network system. "This mobile system is already an AUSSAT customer but the dish receivers are too bulky for small groups to use and carry in the field". 9 Thus Defence has decided to replace the existing contract with a new arrangement that covers the lease of one 50 watt Km Band transponder and also offers the option to secure L Band "mobilesat" services.
The drawbacks with this system are that it lacks the security of the frequency hopping, high frequency, portable radios, and that the transceivers are unlikely to be as rugged as the equipment normally carried in the field. It will, however, be a dramatic boost for routine Defence communications for remote regions. The AUSSAT Media Release, 7 November 1991, stated however that: "the precise L Band capacity requirements will be negotiated after Defence has completed a study of their use of mobile satellite communications". 10
Constrain the Army communications projects RAVEN and PARAKEET, with lesser cost options for later phases of Project RAVEN being investigated ( FSR, para 2.6 (e)).
DoD policy towards the RAVEN and PARAKEET projects appear to be unchanged by the release of the FSR as it is difficult to see where either project has been "constrained".
Project PARAKEET is an ADF programme to provide the Army and Air Force with a mobile secure tactical communications network. Communications in PARAKEET centre around sophisticated telephone (voice and data) exchanges, thus incorporating most of the convenience and facilities of a commercial telephone network while enabling a front line soldier to be able to communicate with senior officers in Canberra.
There are two main features to the PARAKEET project. Firstly, the exchanges need to be readily transportable on the Army's standard range of light vehicles, while at the same time sufficiently rugged to withstand extremes of climate and terrain. Secondly, even if the ground forces do move several times a day they will always need to be able to access headquarters and strategic centres, either through the fixed defence infrastructure or the public switched phone network.
Clearance to release the request for tenders (RFT) for Phase 4 (Procurement for high priority units) of PARAKEET was received from the Minister on 16 October 1991. 11 Four days later the RFT for Phase 4.3 (Satellite Communications) was released and the tendered proposals were received on 20 December 1991. It is anticipated that a contract for $20 million will be signed by August 1992.
It was anticipated that the RFT for Phase 4.1/4.2 (Switching, radio-relay, system control and management and maintenance) would be issued in April 1992. No information could be found, however, as to whether or not this had occurred. Tendered proposals will be in August 1992 and contract signature is expected in early 1993. The contract will be worth roughly $130 million. 12 As to whether it will be constrained at a later date, in one way or another, is yet to be seen.
Evidence would tend to suggest that the RAVEN project is being expanded rather than constrained. It was not clearly stated how the government intended to constrain the project, however it is possible to show evidence that it either has increased, or plans to increase, the numbers acquired and the amount spent on the RAVEN project since the release of the FSR.
Originally 13,500 radios were to be ordered. This was later capped at 10,500 by the government before being further capped at 7,163 by the completion of phase 4C of the project (all this was decided before the release of the FSR). It is interesting to note, however, that at the Senate Estimates Committee B, Major-General Jeffery stated: "What is being looked at by Government and headquarters ADF is, as a result of the force structure review, an assessment of what additional radios we may require beyond that 7,163 to meet the new liability bought about by the radio". 13 This would tend to suggest that the government is intending to increase the number purchased rather than constrain it further.
This is borne out in the increase in funding for the RAVEN project. The approval for RAVEN as a 1 July 1989 was $410.4 million, by 30 June 1991 this had increased to $433.6 million. 14 The very next day (1 July 1991), without any explanation, this approval rose by $47.5 million to $481.1 million. 15 The approval as at 28 February 1992 was $632 million with a real increase of $133.1 million. This $133.1 million real increase is due to the approval and inclusion of an additional planned phase (Phase 4C) in the context of the 1991-1992 Budget Submission. 16
In relation to lesser cost options the only reference found to the RAVEN project was in the Defence Industry and Aerospace Report 17 which has listed in an article entitled "Doing Defence business over the next decade" a project entitled WAGTAIL, a "lower cost RAVEN option". This project has been listed for development between 1994 and 1998.
Intelligence Collection and Evaluation
The Review's proposal for the priority development of Intelligence Collection and Evaluation is:
Bring forward detailed proposals to acquire three off-shore hydrographic vessels, two for hydrography and one for oceanography ( FSR, para 2.11 (b)).
Mapping and charting were given a high priority in the FSR as it was seen that a detailed knowledge of Australia's environment was essential to ensure effective use of intelligence for operational purposes. 18 The development of a maritime environmental data base has, however, been held up during the last decade due to the lack of an oceanographic capability by the Navy. For this reason it was decided to acquire the off-shore hydrographic vessels mentioned above.
In November 1991, Tom Muir reported in the Australian Business Monthly that while a capability proposal and procurement strategy was being developed, "the requirement has yet to receive funding approval although this is expected next year". 19 On 20 May 1992 it was reported in the Financial Review that the contract for the RAN Oceanographic/Hydrographic Ship Project had come up that month with the invitation to register interest closing on 8 May. The development of the vessels is expected to last from 1993 to the year 2000. 20
The Review's proposals to improve Australia's Maritime Surveillance capabilities are:
Develop an operational over-the-horizon radar network of two radars, and review the need for a third radar later in the decade ( FSR, para 2.24 (b)).
The Jindalee radar project has its origins 15 years ago when the Defence Department (DoD) asked Australian scientists, technicians and engineers to develop a new radar network for Australia capable of covering large areas across Australia's northern approaches. The system had to be capable of detecting both surface and air targets. For this reason an over-the-horizon radar system was developed which would bounce an electromagnetic signal off the ionospheric layer of the atmosphere on to a target as far away as 3000 km. The echo signal then bounces back off the ionosphere to a separate receiver.
The FSR called for a network of two radars in addition to the facility already built at Alice Springs and on 13 June 1991 the DoD signed a contract worth $680 million (July 1989 prices) with Telecom Australia to build two Jindalee OTH Radars. The two-year construction phase was scheduled to begin 18 months later (from 13 June 1991) following planning and land acquisition. Telecom will build separate transmitters and receiver stations, one near Longreach, Queensland, and the other north of Laverton, Western Australia. A network coordination base will be set up at Edinburgh RAAF base near Adelaide, the whole network being known as the JINDALEE Over-the-Horizon Radar Network (JORN).
The Longreach sites will be compulsorily acquired, while the Laverton site required a public environmental study and was given the all-clear by WA Deputy Premier on 2 August 1991. Senator Ray has said that: "the original experimental radar near Alice Springs, ... would continue to operate with 56 service and civilian staff providing both an operational and research and development facility for further development of OTH radar capabilities". 21 This was confirmed on 2 June 1992 with the Financial Review reporting that AWA Ltd had been awarded a $31 million contract by the DoD to operate and maintain the JOTHR facility near Alice Springs.
Update and upgrade the P3C aircraft fleet over the decade, giving particular priority to the early introduction of a new surface surveillance radar ( FSR, para 2.24 (c)).
There is little public information on the P3C upgrading. Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Ray Funnell said in June 1991 that these aircraft would receive: "updated electronic support measures and a new highly capable radar", 22 while Defence Industry and Aerospace Report indicated in May 1992, that the P3C update was scheduled for completion in 1997. 23
Plan to introduce an airborne early warning and control (AEWAC) capability later in the decade ( FSR, para 2.24 (d)).
There have been various calls for an AEWAC capability for the ADF for a number of years, including in the 1987 White Paper which stated: "The Government accepts in principle the need for such systems and will include provision in the Five Year Defence Program". 24 These calls have been backed recently by the Defence Subcommittee of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade after visiting the Kangaroo 92 exercise in the Top End in April 1992. Notwithstanding the 1987 plan, however, no funding has yet been committed to the acquisition of an AEWAC capability.
Maintain a fleet of six submarines, monitor developments in air independent propulsion, but not plan to fit this to any submarines at present ( FSR, para 2.24 (e)).
The Navy is currently replacing its Fleet of Oberon Submarines with six new Type 471 Swedish designed Collins Class Diesel Electric Submarines. The approved cost for this project as at 28 February 1992 was $4831.8 million with the project expected to be completed in October 1999. The option for two extra boats, making eight in all, has been dropped. In relation to air independent propulsion it was stated at the Senate Estimates Committee B, September 1991, that: "Navy, in conjunction with Defence, Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO), is monitoring developments in Air Independent Propulsion systems including Stirling Engine, Fuel Cell and Closed Cycle Diesel technologies. It is unlikely that a suitable system ... will become available until after the delivery of the Collins Class submarines". 25 The reason why air independent propulsion is so important to the Navy is because it significantly increases the period the submarines can stay underwater, hence reducing the risk of detection, enhancing survivability and increasing tactical flexibility and effectiveness of the submarine, without the costs and risks of nuclear propulsion.
Maritime Patrol and Response
The Review's proposals to improve the Maritime Patrol and Response capabilities are:
Plan for a surface combatant force comprising 16 Destroyer/Frigates and twelve Off-shore Patrol Vessels early next century ( FSR, para 2.38 (a)).
The Australian Defence Budget 1991-92 provides more than $1.8 billion for spending on major capital items, of which roughly $1.2 billion will be spent on current naval projects including the new submarine ($657 million), ANZAC ship ($337 million) and Australian FFG Frigate ($88.7 million) programs. 26 At present the RAN has three DDG Destroyers, six FFG7 Class Frigates, with the last coming into service on 21 February 1992, and, as at 31 May 1991, five River-Class Destroyer Escorts.
The Navy is planning, however, to phase out the River-Class Destroyer Escorts by the year 2000, with HMAS PARRAMATTA and the HMAS STUART already being phased out in late 1991. The three DDG's will also be in need of replacement starting at the turn of the century.
These ships are expected to be replaced, firstly, by eight new ANZAC Frigates. The first of the ANZAC Frigates is expected to come into service in 1995. Another four will come into service by 2001, with the final three ANZAC Frigates coming into service by 2005. There have been some delays in the ANZAC Frigate program 27 and the extent to which these may delay the project, or blow-out costs, is yet to be seen.
This still means that at least two new vessels will need to be constructed in the future for the Navy to have a combat force comprising 16 Destroyer/Frigates. The DoD has proposed that the replacements for the destroyers would use the basic ANZAC design allowing for improved capability and future technological developments. It suggested that the project to build these ships could start in 1997 with the first vessels delivered in 2006. 28
In relation to the 12 Off-shore Patrol Boats see below.
Plan for an ANZAC derivative, with the first delivery in about 2006 ( FSR, para 2.38 (b)).
As stated above this project is expected to begin in 1997 with the first vessels delivered in 2006. However, as yet no official funding, or RFT, has been set aside for this project.
Give high priority to life of type extension and sensor upgrade to the Fremantle Class Patrol Boats ( FSR, para 2.38 (c)).
In the Australian Business Monthly, November 1991, Tom Muir states that the Fremantle Patrol Boat development phase will begin in 1992-94 with the refurbishment phase from 1995-2000. 29 They will then be replaced by 12 more capable off-shore Patrol Boats from 2004.
Plan to bring a replacement off-shore patrol vessel into service, with first delivery in about 2004 ( FSR, para 2.38 (d)).
It is reported in Australian Business Monthly, November 1991, that the development phase for the 12 off-shore patrol boats will be from 1995-96 and the production phase from 1997-2010. 30 The first is set for delivery in 2004. As yet no funding or RFT has been given for the project.
The Review's proposals to maintain the ADF's Air Defence capability are:
Manage the F/A-18 Fleet to ensure a life-of-type to around 2010, including by the use of reserve aircrew ( FSR, para 2.44 (a)).
The government has taken a number of steps to ensure the life-of-type of the F/A-18 Fleet to around 2010. The first was the purchasing of simulator systems which will be incorporated into two operational flight trainers as part of a multi-million dollar upgrade program to create a realistic combat environment for fighter pilots. Hughes Training Inc, is installing the hardware with subcontractor Computer Sciences of Australian undertaking the design, development and installation of the complex software that drives the trainers. This upgraded system will enable an RAAF instructor to increase the workload of a Hornet pilot.
This is very important when trying to extend the life-of-type of the F/A-18 Fleet because at present a considerable proportion of F/A-18 flying hours is used for training. Thus if realistic training can be undertaken without using up the finite flying hours of the F/A-18's their life-of-type can be extended.
Another way the ADF and DoD is considering increasing the life-of-type of the F/A-18's, through realistic training without actually flying the F/A-18's, is by purchasing a new advanced trainer attack fighter. Although not mentioned in the FSR, it is seen as a way to provide training with weapons in ground-strike and for air-to-air combat tactics at considerably less cost than operating the F/A-18's and hence achieve a saving in front-line fighter hours without reducing operational capability. It was stated at the Senate Estimates Committee B hearing, 11September 1991, that "current planning is for the decision on the new day fighter trainer to be made in 1996 for an in-service date of 2000. 31
This is seen as very important in light of the government's decision to use Reserve crews to fly the F/A-18's, as it is seen as a way to train Reserve pilots to fly front-line F/A-18's and F111's without imposing a severe burden on the limited and expensive flying hours of these types. Part of the RAAF's new Ready Reserve will include a pool of potential combat pilots who could be activated within a few months. To retain reservists as a surge capability without spending large numbers of flying hours, the RAAF is seeking people who have flown the F111 or F/A-18 and who could retain their skills over a six year period. 32 Similarly, the RAAF Ready Reserve will provide opportunities for ex-Regular pilots of all types (e.g. transport, maritime patrol, fighter) to maintain their skills once out of Regular service, thus making them available to the RAAF in emergency situations.
Thus, this new fast jet flying component will comprise former RAAF personnel who are already fully trained and willing to remain in the Ready Reserve where their skills could be used. In this way they could be called up once a year for full briefings on the aircraft, changes to its systems, simulator sessions and a fight in the aircraft. 33 No information could be found as to the progress the RAAF has so far made with this program.
Retain the Rapier and RBS-70 Ground-based Air Defence Missile Systems with some limited updating; their replacements will be considered towards the end of the decade, when more capable systems may be available ( FSR, para 2.44 (b)).
At Senate Estimates Committee B on 11 September 1991, in response to a question by Senator MacGibbon, Vice Admiral Beaumont stated that it is correct "that we will retain the Rapier and RBS-70's until the end of the decade with minimal upgrade". He went on to state that: "On the Rapier modification we plan to spend $5.2 million, and another $5.3 million on a dome trainer over the next five years. It will be about $9 million over the next five years, with a total of $10 million". 34
In relation to the RBS-70 Gregory Ferguson reported in the Asia-Pacific Defence Reporter, November 1991, that the first major upgrade of the RBS-70 will be to purchase the Mk 2 Missile. Ferguson states: "the Mk 2 Missile will be in service, it is understood, by 1995". 35 Ferguson lists a number of other upgrades for the RBS-70 including an alerting and cuing system and a night sight, all of which are subject to funding approval.
Examine the practicability of using more reserves to operate Rapier and RBS-70 ( FSR, para 2.44 (c)).
Sixteen Air Defence Regiment is responsible for the ADF's Rapier and RBS-70 batteries. At the Senate Estimates Committee B hearing, 11 September 1991, it was stated that: "Up to 125 Ready Reserves will replace the existing General Reserves and about 65 Regular soldiers" 36 which currently make up the Regiment. It was added that: "This was done at the direction of the ADF Force Structure Review, which required significant elements of the ground based air defence capability to be converted to Reserves". 37
The decision was made on the basis that the more comprehensively trained Ready Reserve would be capable of meeting the extant readiness requirements, where the General Reserves could not. When it is recalled that the only ADF Army troops to go to the Gulf War in 1990/91 were from this unit (providing additional air defence for the Navy's supply ships), it becomes apparent why it is important for this unit to be at a relatively high state of readiness.
The Review proposed:
Acquire four Coastal Minehunters of a proven design, appropriate for Australian conditions, as a matter of priority, with an option for a further two vessels later in the decade ( FSR, para 2.55 (a)).
The decision to buy four Coastal Minehunters flows largely from a recommendation of the Defence Sub-Committee of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, in May 1989. The sub-committee recommended that further development of the RAN's minehunting capability be directed towards the acquisition of Coastal Minehunters due to the setbacks to the Inshore Minehunter program and what it saw as the possible loss of a minehunting capability. It therefore emphasised that the purchasing of a minehunter capability should be one of the highest priorities for the ADF. 38
The project for the original Inshore Minehunters began in the mid 1970's resulting in the Australian designed Bay-class Minehunter Inshore. Two 170 tonne prototype vessels were constructed, with HMAS RUSHCUTTER being commissioned in November 1986 and HMAS SHOALWATER in October 1987. These prototypes, however, were beset with problems including that of marrying a sonar system to the hull. In addition the design of the hull severely limits the operation of the craft in more than moderate sea-state conditions around Australia. To overcome these problems the Defence Sub-Committee recommended the purchasing of four Coastal Minehunters.
On 1 May 1992 the Australian Navy, in line with the FSR, made a bid to get the minehunter programme under way, with the issue of a Request for Proposal. It is looking for four to six ships, with the new contract to be awarded in June 1994. At present the plan is that, of the four vessels initially required, two will be purchased off the shelf and the additional two may be built locally under licence.
Responses to the Request for Proposal should be received by September 1992, with the short list for the Prime Contractor going to the Minister in January 1993. In March 1993, the project definition contract will be placed, with the actual construction contract let in June 1994. 39 The first vessel is expected to be acquired by the RAN by 1995/96.
Continue the comparative sonar trials program with the two prototype Inshore Minehunters: subject to successful completion of the trials, they will be retained in Sydney for mine warfare training and operations in confined waters, at least until the Coastal Minehunters are in service, but no more Inshore Minehunters will be built ( FSR, para 2.55 (b)).
As stated above, the project for the original Inshore Minehunters began in the mid 1970's resulting in the Bay-class Minehunter Inshore (MHI). After nearly four years of trials the DoD was forced to acknowledge that: "overall the project has not met performance expectations". 40 Thus the FSR decided that no more MHI would be built for the Navy.
Trials will, however, continue on the two catamaran prototypes and they will be used for training if tests are successful. It was stated at the Senate Estimates Committee B, 11 September 1991, that "trials will continue through to July 1992". 41 Also, that the "opportunity is being taken of the extended trials period to further address and improve on the vessels characteristics. It is expected that when the vessels are handed over for fleet operations in June 1993, they will be acceptable for their designed role of Inshore Minehunting". 42 The estimated total cost of the project is $130.779 million.
Continue trials and evaluation of the auxiliary minesweeper until proof of concept, maintain the sweeps, but not proceed with the planned acquisition of a craft of opportunity core force ( FSR, para 2.55 (c)).
The original mine countermeasures project envisaged establishing a core force of ten craft of opportunity (COOP), using fishing vessels and tug boats as auxiliary minesweepers. Trials of the vessels began in 1985, and by 1991 five vessels, three fishing boats and two tug boats, were involved. The FSR proposed that trialing and assessment of these five vessels would be completed, but no further trials would take place. The trailing and evaluation of the three fishing vessels was completed satisfactorily in November 1991, and the vessels accepted into naval service. It is hoped the evaluation of the tug boats will be completed by mid-1993. The five vessels will then provide the RAN with a minesweeping expansion base.
Base all mine countermeasures forces in Sydney, and establish an austere mine warfare system centre at HMAS WATERHEN ( FSR, para 2.55 (d)).
According to Defence, the development of a mine warfare system centre (MWSC) is progressing satisfactorily. It is hoped that a request for tender will be ready about August 1992. The HMAS WATERHEN modernisation project continues, aimed at developing the facility to accommodate the MWSC.
The Review's proposals for developing the Army are:
Restructure around a combat force of some 11,000 regular, 3,200 Ready Reserve and 21,000 Reserve personnel, based on ten brigades. Emphasis will be given to independent brigade operations, with a high level of integral mobility in each brigade group ( FSR, para 2.71 (a)).
The FSR calls for the reduction of some 5,200 Regular personnel over the next decade, but some 3,200 Ready Reserves will be introduced. 43 The reduction in Regular personnel will be achieved gradually over the next ten years, with Lieutenant-General John Coates, Chief of General Staff, stating: "We will exercise great care in deciding where and when personnel reductions will occur, so that full consideration of personal circumstances is taken during the ten-year implementation period". 44 In this way it is hoped that the reduction in Regular personnel can be managed by constraining recruitment by and natural attrition.
It was reported in The Australian, 11 June 1992, however, that: "Up to 350 Army officers and senior non-commissioned officers will be made redundant within the next 12 months, after the Army failed to meet staff cuts demanded in the Defence Force Structure Review". 45 The program of redundancies, which is expected to save the Army $89 million over five years, was approved on 10 June 1992. It was emphasised that no one would be forcibly made redundant and only those with full pension rights (service of 20 years or more) would be asked to negotiate redundancy. Army has been forced to do this because of a decline in its annual rate of natural attrition during the recession.
The other major change in the Army's structure is the introduction of the Ready Reserve. In April 1992 it was revealed in Parliament that the government had spent more than $1.9 million in publicity for the scheme. Since the Ready Reserve program began in October 1991 the Army has received more than 20,200 inquiries, 4,600 applications and, since January 1992, enlisted 1069 people.
The scheme is taking roughly 1000 enlistments a year. The first 170 soldiers from the Ready Reserve to complete their basic training marched out on 6 April 1992. Another group then marched out every week following this date, with the final group for 1992 marching out on 11 May. The Ready Reserve is expected to reach brigade strength in 1996.
As well as the Regular Brigade Headquarters and two Cavalry Regiment in Darwin, move the following units there progressively over the 1990's; an Armoured Regiment with one Regular Tank Squadron; a Composite Aviation Squadron; and an Infantry Battalion ( FSR, para 2.71 (e)).
In an attempt to realign Australia's strategic focus on Northern Australia the FSR recommended a number of Army units be moved to Darwin during the 1990's in addition to the previously announced move of 2 Cavalry Regiment. On 11 September 1991, the government stated that the following units will be moved: 1st Armoured Regiment, 5/7th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment, an Aviation Squadron, a Military Geographic Information Unit and a Logistic Support element. 46
The 2nd Cavalry Regiment will relocate to Darwin in December 1992, with the construction of new facilities for this unit, at a cost of $62.6 million, already well advanced. Construction of the new facilities for other units is planned to commence in FY 1992-93 and be completed by FY 2000-01. The facilities will be provided progressively in accordance with the relocation plans for individual units, with the relocation of units planned to commence in FY 1994-95 and be completed by FY2000-01. The preliminary estimated cost of the new constructions is $250million, that is, over and above the expenditure on 2 Cavalry. 47
Develop proposals for a new infantry mobility vehicle to support independent brigade group operations ( FSR, para 2.71 (h)).
The Australian Army will purchase more than 600 Perentie 6x6 vehicles. The tenders for the new vehicle were first issued by the Army in 1985 to both Mercedes Benz and JR Australia. Following trials at the Army Vehicle Test Centre, Jaguar Rover Australian Ltd. was awarded the contract and the first 6x6 Perentie rolled of the production line in 1989. The 6x6 Perentie is available in a wide range of vehicle types including Troop Carriers, Long Range Patrol Vehicles and Ambulances. 48
The approved cost for project Perentie as at 28 February 1992, was $222.5 million. This is slightly higher than the approval as at 1 July 1991 ($215.7 million), with the $6 million real increase due to a change in project scope, with the addition of 45 vehicles for 6RAR. Earlier this year it was expected that the project would be completed in November.
In July 1989 the Minister announced that we would acquire 15 LAV-25's to evaluate the operational concepts for the employment of the vehicles in Northern Australia. "The vehicles were successfully trialled in Northern Australia in late 1990 and early 1991 in both wet and dry seasons, and Cabinet approved acquisition of a further 97 in the 1991-92 Budget". 49 It is important to note, however, that the LAV-25 is basically an on-road vehicle. Assistant Chief of the General Staff (Materiel), Major-General P.M. Jeffery, told a Senate Estimates Committee hearing in April 1991 that:
The main task for these vehicles will be in a function of road surveillance, road movement, escort duties, air field surveillance and beach surveillance, and roads will be an integral part of that operation. 50
This does raise a number of important questions in relation to the effectiveness of the LAV's mobility off-road. Some $256 million has been ear-marked for the purchase of 97 LAV-25 wheeled armoured vehicle derivatives which, along with the 15 units already acquired, will accompany the 2nd Cavalry Regiment to Darwin. The projected completion of the LAV-25's as at 28 February 1992, is December 1995.
Replace the twelve C130Es, and consider fitting some new aircraft for, but not with, an air-to-air refuelling capability ( FSR, para 2.71 (i)).
In response to a question at the Senate Estimates Committee hearing, 11 September 1991, it was stated that: "the replacement of the C130E transport aircraft is currently planned for a decision in 1994, for an in-service date of 1998". 51
Reintroduce four to six Chinooks subject to negotiating a satisfactory upgrade agreement with the United States ( FSR, para 2.71 (j)).
The decision to reintroduce the Chinooks is largely based on the lessons learnt from K89. Floods and cyclones in Northern and Western Queensland over the past two years have also prompted emergency services to call for retention of the Chinooks, given that it can carry 9,100 kg as opposed to the Blackhawk's 3,600 kg.
Australia is currently negotiating a deal with the United States in which it would swap eleven C model Chinooks for four to six upgraded D model Chinooks. It is hoped that Australia will get the upgraded Chinooks in two to three years.
Reduce the operating Caribou Fleet from twenty-one to fourteen aircraft ( FSR, para 2.71 (k)).
No information was found on the reduction of the Caribou Fleet. However, it has been stated that Defence is planning to acquire a replacement aircraft for the Caribou before the year 2000. 52
Give priority to the acquisition of night vision devices and line-of-sight sensors for ground operations ( FSR, para 2.71 (l)).
Project "Ninox" is the Army's plan for the provision of night vision and surveillance equipment to help its soldiers observe, move and fight in the dark. The Army is currently looking for expressions of interest for the first phase of what will eventually be an estimated $174 million project. 53
AWA Defence Industries announced on 1 June 1992, that it would join forces with British Aerospace Australia to bid for the project. The Army will call for tenders for the contract by February 1993 and hopes to have the contract in place by mid 1994.
The Review's proposals relating to the development of Naval Basing policy are:
Base two FFGs at HMAS STIRLING, at least until ANZAC numbers are sufficient to maintain an overall force of four Destroyers/Frigates in the west ( FSR, para 2.84 (a)).
Senator Robert Ray announced on 29 September 1991 that the Guided Missile Frigate (FFG) HMAS ADELAIDE will be homeported in Western Australia from October 1992. This is in line with the government's policy of basing about half the Navy's major combatants in Western Australia by the end of the decade. 54
No information could be found, however, on when the government plans to homeport another FFG in Western Australia.
Base all six Collins Class Submarines at HMAS STIRLING, but deploy one or two continuously off the east coast ( FSR, para 2.84 (b)).
Originally the Navy's Two Ocean Basing Plan had planned for four of the new Collins Class Submarines to be based in Western Australia. The Force Structure Review considered that overall personnel and logistic savings could be made if all six submarines were based in WA and only specialist berthing and support facilities were in Sydney for the submarines operating off the east coast. There was no change of focus necessary in STIRLING's development, with the decision to base all six submarines there. Stage 3 of STIRLING's development is planned for the period 1996-2000 and this will further extend the facilities and accommodation for the support of the remainder of the submarines and half of the Destroyer/Frigate force. 55
Close and sell HMAS PLATYPUS when the last Oberon Class Submarine is paid off in 1998, subject to a cost effectiveness study into providing alternative specialised berthing and support facilities in Sydney for up to two Collins Class Submarines ( FSR, para 2.84 (c)).
The cost effectiveness study into providing alternative specialised berthing and support facilities in Sydney is to be completed in June 1992. A decision on the way ahead will be taken after that study has been completed. 56
Air Force Support
The Review's proposals to rationalise Air Force support functions are:
Employ civilian and contract staff who will be encouraged to undertake a commitment to the reserves ( FSR, para 2.90 (a)).
See section on the Commercial Support Program.
Plan to relocate the B707's, and the associated simulator, from RAAF Base Richmond to RAAF Base Amberley in the short term; and to relocate the C130 Squadrons early next century ( FSR, para 2.90 (b)).
While the government still plans to relocate the B707's, and the associated simulator, from RAAF Base Richmond to RAAF Base Amberley, it has stated that the actual timing of the move is "dependent on the programming of funds for necessary facilities". 57
Close and sell the airfield and base at Laverton, with the possible exception of No. 6 RAAF Hospital, the future of which will be decided separately. Headquarters Air Force Logistics Command may be relocated at Laverton from Central Melbourne ( FSR, para 2.90 (c)).
At present consultative groups have been established, which include representatives of the Commonwealth, State and local governments and Defence, and these are giving consideration to possible alternative uses for the facilities at Laverton and HMAS NIRIMBA. It is doubtful whether any action will be taken until these groups have had a chance to report their findings.
Close and sell the air field at Point Cook following the removal of the flying school, but retain a sufficient area of the base for Headquarters Training Command, the RAAF College, the RAAF Museum and the provision of accommodation for some personnel in the Melbourne area ( FSR, para 2.90 (d)).
Point Cook was closed on 11 June 1992. Pearce Air Base will now take over Point Cook's role, in basic training of RAAF and navy pilots, next year. Air Commodore Bob Richardson, in charge of training said: "It hasn't yet been decided how much will stay here". 58 An air force spokesman said the Minister for Defence would shortly announce whether the remaining units would stay at the site or be moved.
Close the remaining element of No. 2 Stores Depot, Regents Park, after changes arising from the Defence Logistics Redevelopment Project, and either relocate the Ground Equipment Maintenance Section to another established site, or contract out the function ( FSR, para 2.90 (f)).
The government has stated that: "planning studies have been completed for disposal over several years of a number of major urban properties under the Defence Logistics Redevelopment Project, with the initial revenue planned for 1992-93". 59 All told DoD has earmarked $150 million of landholdings for sale around the country as part of a plan to adopt private enterprise methods of estate management and this includes the warehouses at Regents Park (36 ha) in Sydney. 60 No information could be found as to where the Ground Equipment Maintenance Section might be moved.
Develop an alternative location for bomb storage, away from No. 1 Central Ammunition Depot, and rationalise other facilities at the depot ( FSR, para 2.90 (g)).
As yet no specific studies have been undertaken to look at an alternative location for bomb storage, away from No. 1 Central Ammunition Depot, and it is unlikely that any studies will be undertaken for the next 12 months at least. No. 1 Central Ammunition Depot is linked in the RAAF 2000 plan to be closed, however, and all facility development there has been frozen. It is likely that any move from No. 1 Central Ammunition Depot will be similar to the tri-service warehousing plan and as such be part of a much bigger plan to centralise all ADF ammunition storage.
ADF Training System
The Review's proposals to produce economies in the ADF training system are:
Change individual Army training programs and establishments, to effect personnel savings including from commercial support and civilianisation ( FSR, para 2.99 (a)).
See section on the Commercial Support Program.
Confine the role of University Regiments to the production of officers ( FSR, para 2.99 (b)).
CGS Lieutenant General John Coates stated in the Australian Defence Report, 13June 1991, that "the role of University Regiments will be confined to the production of officers, most of whom will serve in combat forces". 61 No information could be found, however, on exactly what changes have occurred.
Consolidate the Navy's technical trade training (other than for air technical trades) at HMAS CERBERUS, and dispose of the property of HMAS NIRIMBA ( FSR, para 2.99 (c)).
The government has stated that the target date for the closure of HMAS NIRIMBA and consolidation of the Navy's technical trade training (other than for air technical trades) at HMAS CERBERUS, is now planned for the end of 1993. 62
Centre all ADF aviation related trade training schools at RAAF Base Wagga. (p.34) ( FSR, para 2.99 (d)).
Army aviation technical trade training has been carried out at Wagga for some years. As part of the move to further rationalise training, it is proposed to move Naval aviation technical training to Wagga in January 1993.
Commercial Support Program
A number of proposals in the FSR relate to the Commercial Support Program.
By employing civilian and contract staff the government hopes to gain substantial funds for new equipment programs. They hope to achieve this by re-directing savings from a program whereby the armed forces would offer civilian contractors work carried out at present by 4,000 service men and women. This program has been entitled the Commercial Support Program (CSP).
In the Report of the Interdepartmental Committee (IDC) on the Wrigley Review four categories of ADF activities were listed in relation to commercialisation. It was stated that the first category, involving the ADF's combat activities, should not be considered for civilianisation or commercialisation. The second category, operational support elements required to direct, manage and sustain the combat functions, should generally not be considered for commercialisation but some may be considered for civilianisation. The third category, which includes those elements directly providing the resources to the above two groups, should be considered for civilianisation and commercialisation but with some caution. The final category, involving defence infrastructure, should be considered prime candidates for commercialisation.
Defence subsequently developed a methodology for determining 'core' and 'non-core' activities in the prime category. 'Non-core' activities are assessed for commercialisation by comparing fully evaluated and costed 'in-house' options to a similarly costed 'external' or commercial option. Thus by the end of 1991 Defence was able to release a 450-page CSP 'Manual'. This provides a step-by-step guide to the solicitation of commercial bids, establishment of tender selection criterion, allocation of savings and reporting results. 63
The CSP involves three "Tiers" of activity. The first tier, or stage, identifies a number of activities for which evaluation for commercialisation options is already well under way. Tier one is currently running to timetable with the commercialisation candidate activities going to tender by the end of 1992, and decisions on which further activities are to be contracted out or retained in house, to be made by mid 1993. Minister Bilney has also stated that: "Activities in the second tier of the Commercial Support Program are being brought forward for assessment, and the initial list will be announced shortly by Defence". 64
According to the FSR the two forces that were to be affected the most by Tier 1 proposals are the Army and the Navy. This has largely been borne out when looking at the activities so far under consideration. To date 27 activities have been endorsed by the government in the areas of catering, base support, aircraft maintenance, clothing, training and transport. Current status of these activities is:
Nineteen activities are undergoing the first stage of evaluation to develop a statement of requirement, involving a description of an activity in terms of required outputs and constraints and is the initiating document for defence and industry competition. 65 It was not specified, however, what the breakdown of these 19 activities were in relation to the Army, Navy and Air Force.
Four activities are still open for requests for tender issued by the government. These include firstly, P3C depot level maintenance, secondly, PC9 daily maintenance and some scheduled servicing, thirdly, provision of air terminal services in the Melbourne area, and fourthly, accommodation and some base support at RAAF Fairbairn. 66
Three tenders are under evaluation, which include, Iroquois helicopter maintenance, catering and accommodation at Watsonia, and operation of Woomera Hospital.
So far one contract has been signed. This is specifically related to the RAAF as it involves the British Aerospace - Ansett Training College delivering flight screening and initial flight training. The contract calls for 15 hours of flight screening for prospective pilots and a further 67.3 hours initial flight training for Army students and 140 hours for PNGDF students. The contract was signed on 6 March 1992.
A comprehensive schedule for the evaluation and implementation of these activities has been developed and all of the activities, although scheduled for evaluation progressively, are expected to be evaluated by no later than 31 December 1992, with contracts, or preferred in-house options, in place by 30 June 1993.
Activities in the second Tier are also underway, with eight such activities entering the CSP process to date. These comprise:
Operation of ground radio at naval air station Nowra.
Provision of base support at Jervis Bay range facility.
Provision of base support at HMAS CRESWELL.
Provision of base support at HMAS PENGUIN.
Management of living out accommodation in Sydney and Canberra.
Provision of material testing and quality assurance services.
Provision of forms and stationery.
Management of voice/data telecommunications facilities.
The main purpose of the Force Structure Review was to ensure that the ADF's structure was affordable both in the short and longer terms. In order to achieve this it is important that the DoD ensure that savings generated from the FSR outweigh the costs of new equipment, facilities and other initiatives.
The FSR proposed to generate savings in a number of ways. These included, cutting the number of regular personnel, generally those involved in support functions, and replacing them with either contracted civilians or the new Ready Reserve personnel. Also, savings would be generated by using the civil communications network rather than launching dedicated military communications satellites and finally, by closing and selling bases.
Progress has been made in many of these areas. Troop cuts have already begun and the Ready Reserve is up and running. Also, the Commercial Support Program is underway and already roles formerly undertaken by service personnel are being contracted out. The CSP is where the government expects to generate the most savings. A number of ADF facilities have also been sold, with more to come, and the ADF has already moved to use the civil communications network.
The issue which will remain central to future progress with the FSR is to ensure that these initiatives are sufficient to fund the ADF's force development objectives. Long term committments exist for a number of major capital expenditure programs, including the Collins Class Submarines and the ANZAC Frigate program. Added to this under the FSR are three Hydrographic vessels, four Coastal Minehunter vessels, 97 LAV-25's, the JORN and the night sight devices in the "Ninox" project. There are, moreover, the costs of new facilities in Northern Australia needed for units to be moved there. Constraining expenditure on all these projects is important if the cost of ADF force development is to remain manageable.
For later this decade, the Force Structure Review supported projects for the AEWAC Aircraft, 12 Off-Shore Patrol Boats, at least two ANZAC Frigate derivatives, replacements for the C130E and Caribou transport aircraft, a new Day Fighter/Trainer Aircraft and replacements for the Rapier 67 and RBS-70. Continued efforts to ensure the success of the commercialisation and civilianisation program is needed if the funding required for these, and other equipment programs, is to be available.
1 Department of Defence, Force Structure Review, May 1991, Australian Government Publishing Service, 1991 (Subsequently cited as FSR), p.1.
2 Gration, P. The Australian, 28 June 1991.
3 Former senior Defence Department official and Director General of ASIO.
4 Gration, P. The Australian, 28 June 1991.
5 FSR, p.1.
6 AUSSAT Media Release, 7November 1991.
8 The L-band is a common frequency band used in satellite communications. Letter designations are used for frequency bands above 100 MHz, with the L-band between 1-2 GHz.
9 Lague, D. Financial Review, 10 July 1991.
10 AUSSAT Media Release, 7 November 1991.
11 Senate Estimates Committee B, Additional Information Received, Vol.1, April 1992, Q.28, p.55.
13 Hansard, Senate Estimates Committee B, 11 September 1991, p.B231.
14 Defence Report 1990-1991.
15 Senate Estimates Committee B, Additional Information Received, Vol. 1, April 1992, p.52.
17 Defence Industry and Aerospace Report, Vol.11, No.8, 22 May 1992.
18 This follows on from the high priority given by Paul Dibb to mapping and charting in the 1986 Review of Australia's Defence Capabilities and, subsequently, the 1987 White Paper.
19 Muir, T. Australian Business Monthly, November 1991.
20 Defence Industry and Aerospace Report, Vol.11, No.8, 22 May 1992.
21 Defence Industry, 21 June 1991, p.6.
22 Funnell, R. The Australian, 28 June 1991.
23 Defence Industry and Aerospace Report, Vol.11, No.8, 22 May 1992.
24 1987 White Paper, p.36.
25 Senate Estimates Committee B, Additional Information Received, Vol.2, October 1991, Q.169, p.225.
26 Muir, T. Australian Business Monthly, November 1991.
27 See Defence Industry and Aerospace Report - 10, 10 April 1992 and Senate Estimates Committee B, Additional Information Received, Vol.1, April 1992, Q.60, p.121.
28 Financial Review, 27 August 1991.
29 Muir, T. Australian Business Monthly, November 1991, p.154.
31 Senate Estimates Committee B, Additional Information Received, Vol.2, October 1991, Q.147, p.202.
32 Cranston, F. The Canberra Times, 31 July 1991, p.24.
34 Hansard, Senate Estimates Committee B, 11 September 1991, p.B197.
35 Asia-Pacific Defence Reporter, November 1991, p.26.
36 Senate Estimates Committee B, Additional Information Received, Vol.2, October 1991, Q.65, p.95.
38 Muir, T. Op.Cit., p.158.
39 Financial Review, 20 May 1992, p.38.
40 Financial Review, 27 June 1991.
41 Senate Estimates Committee B, Additional Information Received, Vol.2, October 1991, Q.171, p.227.
43 FSR, p.4.
44 Coates, J. The Australian, 28 June 1991.
45 Morrison, J. The Australian, 11 June 1992.
46 Senate Estimates Committee B, Additional Information Received, Vol.2, October 1991, Q.180, p.237.
48 Defence News Release. 4 March 1992.
49 Hansard, Senate Estimates Committee B, 9 September 1991, p.B118.
50 Hansard, Senate Estimates Committee B, 16 April 1991, p.B52.
51 Senate Estimates Committee B, Additional Information Received, Vol.2, October 1991, Q.148, p.203.
52 Senate Estimates Committee B, Additional Information Received, Vol.2, October 1991, Q.162, p.218.
53 Defence News Release, 5 March 1992.
54 Defence Industry, 11 October 1991.
55 Senate Estimates Committee B, Additional Information Received, Vol.2, October 1991, Q.113. p.156.
56 Senate Estimates Committee B, Additional Information Received, Vol.2, April 1992, Q.52, p.110.
57 Senate Estimates Committee B, Additional Information Received, Vol.1, April 1992, Q.52, p.110.
58 The Australian, 12 June 1992.
59 Senate Estimates Committee B, Additional Information Received, Vol.1, April 1992, Q.52, p.109.
60 Smith, F. The Weekend Australian, 4-5 April 1992.
61 Coates, J. Australian Defence Report, 13 June 1991, p.13.
62 Senate Estimates Committee B, Additional Information Received, Vol.1, April 1992, Q.52, p.110.
63 Defence Industry and Aerospace Report, 27 March 1992, p.4.
64 News Release, Bilney, G. 23 March 1992.
67 The life-of-type of Rapier is expected to end some time next century, even with the current upgrade, at which time a replacement will be necessary.
<BREAK> </BREAK> ANNEX
Below are the FSR proposals that, due to time constraints and lack of publicly available data, were unable to be examined. The references given are firstly, to the paragraph in the FSR (e.g. 2.6) and secondly, the page on which the paragraph can be found in the FSR (e.g. p.8).
b. Develop an austere system to back up the civil telecommunications network, and then relinquish fixed high frequency strategic communication sites in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart and Adelaide. (p.9)
c. Provide single Service tactical high frequency communications by joint stations sited away from urban areas, with the planned Navy Communications Station Wagga becoming the first such joint station.
f. Seek savings in the order of 1,500 personnel (service and civilian) from rationalisation and commercial support of communications functions. (p.9)
a. Develop an automated intelligence system.
c. Investigate commercial arrangements to supplement the hydrographic effort, and as an alternative to the continued use of HMAS FLINDERS. (p.10)
a. Give high priority to the development of integrated joint-service surveillance information systems and data bases drawing on civil and military sources.
f. Develop integrated maritime surveillance data bases, drawing on civil and military sources.
e. Discontinue modernisation refits of major surface combatants in favour of capability upgrades within normal refit cycles.
e. Limit maritime mining projects to planning the replacement early next century of the current bomb conversion kits for the Mk 80 series of bombs.
b. Reduce Headquarters 1 Division in size, and make it available for the deployable joint force headquarters role.
c. Retain Headquarters 2 Division as an Army Reserve headquarters to develop the skills and doctrine for conventional divisional operations.
d. Base two regular brigades in Northern Australia (Darwin and Townsville).
f. Convert the Brisbane based 6 Brigade progressively from an integrated to a ready reserve brigade group.
g. Maintain seven Army Reserve brigades, based throughout Australia as at present. (p.27)
a. Acquire small stocks of stand-off weapons for the F-111C.
b. For the first time, use 12 reserve F-111C crews to supplement the number of regular crews in the event of contingencies (and reduce the number of regular crews by three).
e. Retain the remaining element of No. 1 Stores Depot, Tottenham, for ADF accommodation (particularly for the ANZAC Frigate Program), after changes arising from the Defence Logistics Redevelopment Project.
e. Combine Air Force's motor vehicle trade training with Army's at Bonegilla/ Bandiana.
f. Where practicable, provide technical and trade training by civilian staff.
g. Combine basic clerical training for the Services, possibly at RAAF Base Wagga.
h. Combine aspects of electrical/electronic trades, metal trades and communication centre operator training, conduct non-equipment specific trade training at civilian institutions, and review the potential for civilianising education/instructor officer positions.
Copyright Commonwealth of Australia 1992
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Published by the Department of the Parliamentary Library, 1992