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Tuesday, 3 June 2003
Page: 15916

Mr Ripoll asked the Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 24 March 2003:

(1) Is it the case that SAS soldiers are a small and limited resource and that all available SAS troops are committed to the war with Iraq; if so, does the Federal Government have a strategy to increase numbers of SAS soldiers in the Australian Armed Forces.

(2) What policy or planning has been put into place to ensure adequate numbers of SAS soldiers into the future.

Mrs Vale (Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) SAS soldiers are highly trained and possess unique skills. Consequently they are a scarce and valued resource. Not all available SAS troops are committed to the war with Iraq.

(2) The Army examines and validates the size and structure of each unit at least every three years in order to ensure that it can fulfil its operational role and tasks. The SASR was reviewed in 2002.