Sunday, February 21, 2010

Thoughts on the Papua New Guinea Defence Force

From PAUL OATES

Any Defence Force must have a raison d'être or reason for being.
The Papua New Guinea Defence Force was until Independence, historically part of the Australian Defence Force.
Australia has a number of overseas Defence commitments that require a logistical and personnel base to successfully carry out these programmes.
 It is very disappointing that PNG personnel aren't allowed to participate in these activities as a joint force.
When the PNGDF was used to help put down the Vanuatu revolt, there seemed to be a clear role for some form of Pacific security force to be maintained, other than from your ANZAC neighbours.
While PNG has contributed to the RAMSI initiative, there is still no defined external role for the PNGDF for anything other than limited internal objectives.
As regards internal objectives or 'Missions' as the US chooses to describe them, has the PNG government allowed their Defence Force the assets to perform a credible role in such areas as the protection of marine resources and border protection?
Therein lies the nub of the problem.
What role or 'Mission' should the PNGDF have that can and will be supported by the PNG government?
Australian Defence Force funding has in peace time, traditionally hovered around 3% of GDP.
 How does this stack up against the PNG budget for Defence?
Previous blogsite comments suggested there was a real role for the PNG Defence Force to restore government and police control of areas in the PNG Highlands.
Tribal warfare and security of government assets should be of prime importance in protecting law abiding citizens and their property.
 The traditional rivalry with the RPNGC is however a matter that would have to be addressed if there were to be successful combined operations.
The main stumbling block, from an external perspective, would appear to be the PNG government's apprehension that a strong Defence Force may be a potential threat. I can't see that perception going away any time soon.

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