Scott Morrison to oversee troop increase– March 2022
In the lead up to the budget, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a $38bn expansion of the military over the period to 2040. As part of this pledge, the government intends to increase the number of uniformed ADF personnel by 30%, bringing the total number to 80,000. This will bring the total permanent defence workforce to over 101,000 by 2040, an increase of 18,500 over baseline.
A number of key motivations underlie the proposed change. For one, Morrison maintains that the government “has always been clear-eyed about the threats and the environment that we face as a country, as a liberal democracy in the Indo-Pacific”. This comes off the back of heightening geopolitical strife around the world, with China’s aggression toward Taiwan a pertinent threat to the region. Additionally, the military expansion seeks to complement Australia’s defence ambitions, with intentions to scale “warfighting capabilities in the domains of space, information and cyber” according to Defence Minister Peter Dutton. Australia’s recent infatuation with military spending should come as no surprise. Alongside the 2020 Force Structure Plan, the trilateral security partnership of AUKUS has shown initiative to counteract perceived threats in the Pacific, namely from China. This increase in the size of the military workforce is the first step to enabling Australia’s nuclear-powered fleet and weaponry.