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Australian infantry wearing Small
Box Respirators, from the 45th
Battalion, Australian 4th Division
at Garter Point near Zonnebeke,
Ypres sector, 27 September 1917.
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Australian Defence Force
PROMOTING MILITARY JUSTICE
AIR FORCE December 10, 2009
By LAC Aaron Curran
AS 2009 comes to a close, Air
Force can look back over a busy year
and be proud of its achievements.
Labelling 2009 a "dynamic year",
CAF AIRMSHL Mark Binskin said
Air Force went into the year on an
already high operational tempo.
"Operations in the MEAO (Middle
East Area of Operations) continued,
and border protection on Operation
Resolute was conducted out of
Learmonth, Darwin and further afield
around the Christmas and Cocos
Islands," he said.
"On top of that we assisted with
the Victorian bushfires, floods in north
Queensland and finally disaster relief
in Padang and Samoa, among others."
With these emergencies, Air Force
put into action what it had been work-
ing on strategically for many years.
"The fact is we're set up well and
we've got people who are deliver-
ing capability in a proactive way,"
AIRMSHL Binskin said.
One other unforseen event that
affected not just Air Force but the
whole world was the Global Financial
Some important developments that
occurred in 2009 were the standing-up
of 4SQN, C-17 operations in the MEAO
and the Caribou retirement.
"4SQN personnel were deployed into
theatre and the C-17 started regular serv-
ices into the Middle East," AIRMSHL
"At one stage we had one C-17 a
week going in there and they were car-
rying three times what the C-130s could,
so it's a great capability. All the reports
I received is that they loved the aircraft,
but we know the current rate of effort is
unsustainable within current resources so
we're adjusting that."
Some challenges for 2010 will be
maintaining operational tempo and intro-
ducing the Super Hornets, the KC-30A
MRTT and the Wedgetail aircraft.
On the personnel side he wants great-
er female participation in Air Force.
"We would like to grow female par-
ticipation in the aircrew side and look
for some of those non-traditional areas
Crisis. CAF said that there were some
positives for Air Force.
"The Global Financial Crisis
helped us in an operational sense as it
was one of the factors in the increased
retention rate of our skilled work-
force," he said.
"It also impacted the Defence
Capability Plan which put more of a
focus on what we are trying to achieve
out of the Strategic Reform Program
to fund the future force."
As a result of this, recruitment
rates were better than anticipated with
84 per cent for officers, 91 per cent
for airmen and trained force separa-
tion rates sitting at a 40-year low.
"I'm comfortable with the recruit-
ment numbers, but in some ways the
separation rate is probably a bit too
low. We'd like that back to 7-8 per
cent, which is optimum from a strate-
gic sense," CAF said.
One of his priorities at the start
of the year was to go back to basics,
from staff work and administration to
the technical and operational side of
the work Air Force does.
He said we had to make sure we
didn't let these slip while Air Force
kept extending. "Everyone is getting
tired. We need to understand that this
is a marathon and we have to ensure
we pace ourselves," he said.
"Operations are now our normal
business and we've managed to make
sure we kept focused on the raise,
train and sustain doctrine. Plus, we
kept the exercises relevant to what
we're doing on operations."
where women may want to serve,"
AIRMSHL Binskin said.
One event that he personally saw as
a success was the return of the crew of
Magpie 91 from Vietnam.
"Bringing the final two airmen back
was a team effort and being able to see
the looks on the faces of the families
and the veterans when the repatriation
occurred really showed that it meant a
lot to people around Australia. So while
it wasn't our biggest achievement of the
year, it's one of those successes that I
really felt great about."
Inevitably, more humanitarian assist-
ance challenges will happen in 2010, but
CAF said Air Force is well placed for it.
"At the end of the day the biggest
challenge we face is not to burn people
out as we do it, so I'm making sure we
keep a focus on that aspect," he said.
See Page 2 for CAF's Christmas Message
and Page 11 for more on his recent visit
to the MEAO.
UP TO THE TASK: WOFF-AF JJ
Millar and LACW Kathryn Hoye
join CAF AIRMSHL Mark Binskin
in the MEAO. CAF sees many
challenges in 2010 but says Air
Force is well placed to manage
them. Photo: courtesy WOFF-AF Millar
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