Opinion articles by the Australia Defence Association: 2019
Australia's (not just the ADF's) focus must be on preventing future war crimes by ADF personnel. Not debating if war crimes in Afghanistan actually occurred. The reforms require structural and cultural change in some Special Forces units. Including the dismissal of personnel still in-denial about the severity of the problem after the Brereton Inquiry has reported in such detail. Some reforms cannot await the completion of any criminal and disciplinary proceedings. Emotive, partisan and other subjective calls for Ministers to intervene and veto command decisions instituting reform also risk proper civil-control-of-the-military as established by the Constitution, the Defence Act and tested Westminster-system conventions.
Allegations of misconduct and worse by ADF Special Forces personnel have resulted in an independent (inquisitorial) inquiry by the Inspector-General ADF (under administrative law) and investigations by the AFP (under criminal law). The aim of the IGADF Inquiry is to scope the extent, nature and severity of the allegations, determine the causes of the problem, and recommend on how to prevent such problems in future. It will also determine if adversely-named individuals should face separate investigation under Australian criminal law and, for military offences, charges under the Defence Force Discipline Act (DFDA). Media and public interest in the IGADF Inquiry has tended to focus, often sensationally, on personalities alleged to be involved, rather than discuss the allegations in their full contexts. Thereby tending to overlook the wider aims of the inquiry, and confusing it with ongoing and future criminal investigations of individuals by the AFP.
Each class of RAN patrol boat has needed to be bigger and more capable than its predecessor. There are clear capability development, operational and financial lessons from this progression.