Talk:Australian Defence Force

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Assessment of capabilities section - update or remove?[edit]

The 'Assessment of capabilities' section is due for an update as part of the overall update of this article I'm (slowly!) working though. However, I'm a bit concerned that as the section can only be subjective and the range of opinions is limited it might be best to remove it all together. A key problem is that there simply aren't many sources of objective yet independent assessments of the ADF - the Australian Strategic Policy Institute is by far the best source, but only has a small number of analysts, the analysis published by the Kokoda Foundation is interesting but generally forward-looking rather than focused on the current ADF, I'm a bit skeptical about the Australian Defence Association's neutrality (and they mainly source the more detailed analysis they publish from ASPI or Kokoda Foundation analysts anyway) and the ANU's Strategic & Defence Studies Centre is primarily focused on strategic issues in Australia's region. I rather like having a section which summarises the ADF's current strengths and weaknesses, and ASPI has recently updated their analysis of the ADF, but would be interested in seeing other editors' thoughts on this topic. Nick-D (talk) 01:22, 6 October 2010 (UTC)

Year of establishment[edit]

Copied from my talk page:

Hi! I have a bit of a problem with the ADF article being categorised "1976 establishments in Australia" and "Military units and formations established in 1976". I would have less problem with a date of 1901, but even that has its problems. Obviously, "somebody" co-ordinated the three arms (well, initially two arms) of the military in the period 1901-1975 - but they didn't have the name "ADF". The ADF is still a somewhat nebulous concept - no-one is employed by the ADF; even the current Chief of the ADF is still employed by the Australian Army. I don't know what the best solution might be. (But removal of those two categories you added would remove the problem!) Your thoughts? Cheers, Pdfpdf (talk) 13:16, 9 February 2013 (UTC)

I have removed the categories pending discussion here as to their appropriateness. Tim! (talk) 16:25, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
David Horner's history of the establishment and first decades of the ADF explicitly states that "The Australian Defence Force slipped quietly into existence on 9 February 1976". Until the late 1950s only loose coordination arrangements existed between the services (with the Secretary of the Department of Defence playing the main coordination role during World War II), and the service chiefs were fairly free to go their own way if they so wished (which they quite often did). In 1958 the position of 'Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee' was established to provide inter-service advice to the Minister of Defence, but the holder of this position had no authority over the chiefs of the individual services, and the level of coordination remained weak. It wasn't until the Defence Force Reorganisation Act 1975 came into effect on 9 February 1976 that the services were placed under the legal authority of a single individual (the 'Chief of Defence Force Staff') and serious attempts to coordinate their activities began. David Horner's book spells this out in some detail, though he notes that the concept of a single 'ADF' wasn't widely acknowledged until the 1980s. As such, the categories seem appropriate. Nick-D (talk) 22:32, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
I did not say they were not appropriate. Nor did I say they were not accurate. What I said was that I had a bit of a problem with them. My problem is with the word "established". The implication is that there was nothing there before. As I said: Obviously, "somebody" co-ordinated the three arms (well, initially two arms) of the military in the period 1901-1975. And that same "somebody" (or bodies) must have had some sort of legal authority - or "power" - to do it. Does that make my problem clearer? Pdfpdf (talk) 23:32, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
I don't think that anyone did coordinate the services properly before this time. There seem to have been unofficial arrangements, and the Minister for Defence obviously had overall legal authority, but the service chiefs were the bosses of their services and could ignore everyone but the minister if they wished. Horner gives examples of the problems this lead to (eg, differences in doctrine and force structures not lining up properly). I recommend Horner's book. Nick-D (talk) 23:54, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
Hmmmm. So basically, the minister had responsibility for the job, whether he chose to do it or not! Interesting. Yes, it sounds like I do need to read Mr Horner's book, (along with the other books on the "yet to be read" shelf, and the pile of "papers to be read"). When I've done that, I'll re-consider if I still have a problem. Thank you for that. Cheers, Pdfpdf (talk) 00:12, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

Material on 2012 budget cuts[edit]

(moved from User talk:Nick-D)

I edited the "Current Expenditure" section of the ADF article with the US concerns about Australian defence spending in 2012. I didn't leave an explanation because I'm relatively new to this and didn't know it was required. The articles cited are from 2012, which is much more recent than many in the overall article and I think still relevant because Australian defence spending has not been raised as a percentage of GDP since. I have taken the word "recent" out though, due to subjectivity.

Regarding your second comment, I think that American defence spending cuts since are irrelevant to the discussion. They have not retracted their critisism and neither has Tony Abbott so I consider that they both stand. Incidentally, even after cuts the Americans spend roughly double on defence as a proportion of GDP as Australia does.

Cheers. Crikeydick (talkcontribs) 13:19, 10 April 2013 (UTC)

I've just re-removed this material. This article is about the ADF, and not short-term political debates. The Liberals have since released various statements on defence spending which boil down to pretty much the same thing as the ALP's expressed policy - eg, to not cut below the current level, and an aspirational target of increasing spending by 3% a year at some undefined future date when money becomes available (see page 48 of their overall policy document [_pages.pdf here]). Abbott criticizes pretty much everything the government does (which is the job of an opposition leader; Rudd and Beazley did the same) so there's no particular need to single this out. I really don't see the relevance of the US Government's reported concerns (which I don't think have ever been stated publicly) - the US is always whinging about its allies not spending as much as it does (virtually none of the NATO countries meet the spending targets), often in more strident terms (Robert Gates delivered several public lectures about the low NATO spending), and it's currently slashing defence spending itself and is expected to keep doing so. Nick-D (talk) 08:05, 11 April 2013 (UTC)

Abbott is the alternative Prime Minister of Australia and if he wins the next election will determine the shape of the ADF for years to come. That makes his opinion on what we should be spending on defence relevant in the leadup to the election - there is nothing to say that Wiki articles should only be "long term" - otherwise there wouldn't be articles on up coming elections at all. Therefore I have reverted it again. However, I take your point about the Liberals aspirational spending target so have referenced their policy in article.

Your point about the relevance of the American's point of view is subjective and I have reverted it. Donald Rumsfelt raised these concerns publicly while he was defence secretary and Richard Armitage has as well in the article that I have provided, as have other senior officials identified in the articles that I have provided . Personally I find the view of our major ally more relevant than an assessment of capability by some defence academic or thinktank, of the type quoted throughout the article, though others might disagree. The appropriate approach to resolving this is to report all opinions from a sources with a stake and expertise in the debate, make sure that it is identified as opinion and not fact, and then let the reader decide whether or not they agree. Otherwise take all the opinions, like the "assessment of capability" section, out of the article.

Can we discuss this without edit warring? I don't see the relevance of the views of onald Rumsfeld and Richard Armitage - Rumsfeld quit in 2006 and Armitage is a Republican who doesn't hold any position in the Obama administration (as far as I'm aware). The story you posted rests entirely on unnamed 'US officials' being reported to have complained during talks with the Secretary of the Department of Defence. Your material about the Liberals' target is wrong BTW - their stated goal (which is also the ALP's) is to increase the growth of the defence budget by 3% a year once finances allow. The Defence budget makes up a much higher proportion of government expenditure. BTW, given that this is a featured article, can you please take care with grammar and consistent referencing? Nick-D (talk) 08:30, 12 April 2013 (UTC)

Reference 143 mentions critisism by the current US commander of Pacific Command, Admiral Samuel Lockyear, so you are incorrect that there are no named current officials who have made the complaint. I mention Rumsfeld and Armitage to demonstrate that this is an ongoing issue, and because they were both senior US officials with an interest in the alliance and who worked closely with Australia. I consider the views of our major ally on the capability of our defence force is relevant to an article relating to Australian defence policy, because they are the ones who might not come to assist us if they do not consider us to be pulling our weight. If the Americans are irrelevant to our defence, why would there even be a section on our foreign alliances in the article?

In any case, if you don't think it is relevant then it is your right to ignore that content. However, others may think differently and value the perspective of the American's and the Opposition. I think it is inappropriate for these articles to be censored because of one person's point of view. I reiterate that the appropriate treatment for these controversial issues is to put both sides of the argument and then let the reader decide. That is what I have done.

Thank you for the edits on the Liberal policy. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Crikeydick (talkcontribs) 08:12, 13 April 2013 (UTC)

Note, the approach that I have proposed is consistent with the Wikipedia article policies on Neutrality (equal weighting, neutral tone) and Verifiability (major newspapers are considered to be a reliable source). — Preceding unsigned comment added by Crikeydick (talkcontribs) 08:20, 13 April 2013 (UTC)

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Wrong info under 'Women In The ADF'[edit]

1) citation 133 missing 2) percentage of women in ADF as of 2014-2015 financial year incorrectly calculated/misleading: not 30.6%, this figure has been arrived at by simply adding the two percentages of total permanent and total reserve women in the ADF (14.5% and 16.1% respectively). Thus the overall percentage should actually read as 15.3% as an average of the two figures — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:18, 24 April 2016 (UTC)

Facepalm3.svg Facepalm I wonder who made that mistake! I've just corrected the figure: thanks for pointing this out. Nick-D (talk) 11:37, 24 April 2016 (UTC)

Very Pro Article[edit]

Is there many edits from Aust Gov computers? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Thelawlollol (talkcontribs) 08:01, 3 July 2016 (UTC)

Actually, Department of Defence computers have firewalls that prevent them from editing Wikipedia. Not sure about the rest of the government, but I would assume the same. Regards, AustralianRupert (talk) 09:57, 3 July 2016 (UTC)