Help Request

Below is a special request from Lee O’Neill, if you can help would you please contact Lee direct on [email protected]


Ray, I’m wondering if you could do me a favour and ask the members of your list if they or anyone they know have pulmonary fibrosis. I have it and know of some others who served in Vietnam who have it, including one who has died from it. It was, I firmly believe caused by exposure to chemicals used over there. Many thanks, Lee

Thousands more US soldiers will be posted to Europe.

By Davis Winkie

The Army’s long-term commitments in Europe will soon increase, President Joe Biden and defence officials announced Wednesday as part of the ongoing NATO summit in Madrid, Spain.

According to a fact sheet accompanying the announcement, the service will establish a permanent garrison in Poland, add more permanently stationed troops in Germany and Italy, commit an enduring rotating brigade combat team to Romania and aim to increase rotating troop levels in the Baltic countries and Poland.

The move, part of a broader increase to NATO’s troop levels in Eastern Europe, means that the Army will have at least four brigade combat teams in Europe at any time — two rotational brigades, the 2nd Cavalry Regiment and the 173rd Airborne Brigade.

Officials distinguished between Wednesday’s announcement, which established a new baseline European presence, and the “crisis-surge” troops currently in theatre directly in response to Russia’s renewed invasion of Ukraine in February.

“These decisions on posture now make those crisis-surge decisions and movements more sustainable and more combat-credible,” explained assistant defence secretary Celeste Wallander in a press conference.

What Army units will be in Europe now?

More than 1,000 soldiers and Army civilians will now become permanently stationed in Europe due to the change, according to defence officials.

  • The forward V Corps command post in Poznan, Poland, will transition from a rotational manning to a permanent assignment of 235 troops.
  • A new Poland garrison command with 35 soldiers and 100 civilians will join V Corps, as will a field support battalion totalling 41 soldiers and civilians.
  • Two brigade headquarters — for air defence and an engineer brigade — will stand up in Germany, with 116 and 126 troops respectively.
  • Two battalions will station in Germany as well — a combat sustainment support battalion headquarters with 66 soldiers and a short-range air defence battalion with 315 soldiers.
  • Italy will also gain a short-range air defence battery with 63 troops that fall under the new SHORAD battalion in Germany.

In addition to the permanent units, the service will fill additional rotational commitments totalling thousands more soldiers:

  • A brigade combat team of unknown type will rotate to Romania.
  • The service will “reinforce” rotational forces in the Baltic countries.
  • The Army will “seek to enhance” rotational forces in Poland, which already has an Atlantic Resolve rotational division headquarters, armour brigade, combat aviation brigade and logistics task force. The units report to V Corps.

The Army is in the process of replacing the “crisis-surge” units across the region as well.

  • The XVIII Airborne Corps headquarters will remain in theatre.
  • The 101st Airborne Division is replacing the 82nd Airborne Division headquarters.
  • The 101st’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team is replacing the 82nd’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team.
  • The 1st Cavalry Division’s 3rd Armoured Brigade Combat Team is relieving the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Armoured Brigade Combat Team, which rapidly deployed without notice this spring.
  • And the 1st Infantry Division’s 1st Armoured Brigade Combat Team, whose Atlantic Resolve rotation was indefinitely extended when war broke out in Ukraine, is coming home. Army officials were unable to immediately answer whether they would be replaced by another armour brigade.

ADF joins large-scale international maritime exercise

Defence Connect

A contingent of ADF personnel has linked up with counterparts from 26 nations as part of the world’s largest international maritime exercise.

Approximately 1,600 Australian Defence Force personnel are set to take part in Exercise Rim of the Pacific 2022 (RIMPAC) — a biennial international military exercise hosted by Commander, US Pacific Fleet.

The exercise is expected to run from 29 June to 4 August, located across training areas in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California.

The ADF’s contribution is set to involve all three services, including:

  • Royal Australian Navy: HMA Ships Canberra, Supply and Warramunga; a Collins Class submarine; mine warfare and clearance diving capabilities.
  • Royal Australian Air Force: P-8A Poseidon aircraft,
  • Australian Army: Joint Landing Force led by the 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment accompanied by personnel and capabilities from other Army units.

In total, this year’s iteration of RIMPAC will feature 26 nations, 38 surface ships, four submarines, land forces from nine nations, more than 170 aircraft and approximately 25,000 personnel.

Chief of Joint Operations Lieutenant General Greg Bilton said the ADF’s contribution reflects Australia’s commitment to maintaining security in the Indo-Pacific.

“RIMPAC demonstrates Australia’s commitment to both the United States and to preserving the freedoms enjoyed by our regional neighbours,” LTGEN Bilton said.

“We face complex strategic challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, and the Australian Defence Force will take every opportunity to assure our friends that Australia has the ability and the intent to stand by its alliances, agreements and bilateral relationships.”

Royal Australian Navy Commodore Paul O’Grady, DSM CSM, will assume a central command role during the multinational exercise, tasked with leading the maritime component of the exercise as the Combined Force Maritime Component Commander.

“The trust placed by so many nations in Australia’s tactical and operational leaders reflects the emphasis we place on the training and development of our people,” LTGEN Bilton added.

“Overall, I am sure our women and men will prove themselves professional, prepared and an inspiration to our many partners participating in RIMPAC 22.”

The commencement of RIMPAC comes just a day after Defence confirmed Australia and its international partners would engage in aircraft training in the Top End from 19 August to 8 September as part of Exercise Pitch Black.

Touted as the RAAF’s most significant international engagement activity, Exercise Pitch Black aims to develop and enhance military relationships, involving 15 nations from around the world.

The three-week multinational large force employment exercise is set to be conducted primarily from RAAF Base Darwin and RAAF Base Tindal.

This year’s iteration would also involve operations out of RAAF Base Amberley.

Activities are expected to include day and night flying involving approximately 100 participating aircraft.


When is it right for Australia to deploy military force?

By: Charbel Kadib

The latest Lowy Institute data has shed light on changes in public sentiment toward Australian military intervention, especially with regards to potential instability in our own backyard.

Particularly evident is the stark shift in perceptions about the military threat posed by China under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, who has overseen a ramp-up in aggression through the use of both hard and soft power mechanisms.

Of the 2,006 Australians surveyed from across the nation, three-quarters (75 per cent) said a military threat from the CCP-led regime is either “very likely” (32 per cent) or “somewhat likely” (43 per cent) in the next 20 years.

In comparison, less than half (45 per cent) of surveyed respondents shared this sentiment in 2018, when the results were last published.

But a direct threat to Australia is not the only way respondents envisage a confrontation with China, with the majority (51 per cent) justifying Australian military intervention in the event of a US response to a Chinese invasion of Taiwan.

This represents an 8-percentage-point increase from the previous survey published in 2019, up from 43 per cent.

Unfortunately, this scenario seems increasingly probable, with Beijing making no attempts to hide its ambitions to absorb Taiwan under the rule of the CCP-led mainland.

Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe recently warned the West not to come to the aid of the embattled island-nation in the event of Chinese military action.

The minister is on record stating, “We will fight at all costs and we will fight to the very end. This is the only choice for China.”

Such verbal threats have been followed up by continued military intimidation across Taiwan’s Air defence Identification Zone (ADIZ).

Most recently, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defence issued a report revealing 29 Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) aircraft breached its ADIZ during a single operation.

The Chinese contingent reportedly included Shenyang J-16, Sukhoi Su-30, and Shenyang J-11 fighter jets, as well as a Xian H-6 bomber and Shaanxi Y-9 electronic warfare aircraft.

In response to the incursion, Taiwan deployed combat air patrol aircraft, issued radio warnings, and deployed air defence missile systems to monitor the PLAAF fleet’s activities.

This was one of the largest reported breaches this year, following continued incursions since January 2021.

Taiwan’s Foreign Minister, Joseph Wu, said the incident demonstrates China’s military is “more serious than ever”.

“But there’s no way Taiwan will cave in & surrender its sovereignty & democracy to the big bully. Not a chance!” Wu said on Twitter.

In addition to backing an ADF response to a direct Chinese military threat to Australia or in support of a US response to an invasion of Taiwan, surveyed respondents said Australia is well within its rights to assert its presence in the region.

A majority of Australians (60 per cent) are in favour of freedom of navigation naval operations in the South China Sea and other disputed areas claimed by China.

This comes amid an increase in disruptive Chinese manoeuvres targeting Western forces engaging in bilateral or multilateral defence activities in the region.

Earlier this month, a PLAAF Shenyang J-16 strike fighter intercepted a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P-8 Poseidon conducting “routine maritime surveillance activity” in international airspace over the South China Sea.

During the incident, which took place on 26 May, the fighter jet cut across the nose of the Australian surveillance platform, releasing a “bundle of chaff” ingested into the RAAF aircraft’s engine.

On the same day, a Chinese platform confronted a Canadian military aircraft enforcing United Nations sanctions along the border with North Korea, failing to adhere to international air safety norms.

These incidents came just days after Chinese and Russian bombers flew over the Sea of Japan and East China Sea during the Quad leaders’ meeting in Tokyo.

Pacific intervention

According to the Lowy Institute research, a greater majority of the Australian public would support ADF intervention to ease unrest closer to home.

Three quarters (75 per cent) of respondents said the ADF should be deployed to “restore law and order” in a Pacific nation.

However, this represented a slight decline in support from the last survey in 2019, down from 77 per cent.

Australia’s role in the South Pacific has come under intense scrutiny in recent months amid China’s growing presence in the region.

China recently struck a security deal with the Solomon Islands, which reportedly includes Chinese commitments to deploy “police, armed police, military personnel and other law enforcement and armed forces” personnel to the Solomon Islands.

This would build on existing security ties between the nations, with China recently sending liaison officers and anti-riot equipment to train the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force in public order.

The security agreement also reportedly provides China with greater maritime access to the island nation by facilitating, with the consent of the government, ship visits, logistical support and stopovers.

China’s Foreign Minister, Wang Yi had also proposed the “China-Pacific Island Countries Common Development Vision”, which offers intermediate and high-level police training for Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, the Cook Islands, Niue, Vanuatu, and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).

This was accompanied by a five-year action plan, which calls for ministerial dialogue on law enforcement capacity and police cooperation.

This included the provision of forensic laboratories, cooperation on data networks, cyber security, and smart customs systems.

The plan also advocated for a “balanced approach” on technological progress, economic development and national security – backing a China-Pacific Islands Free Trade Area and joint action on climate change and health.

However, Beijing reportedly withdrew its proposal after it was met with resistance from some Pacific Islands leaders.

Middle-East moderation

Meanwhile, the Lowy Institute research found that most Australians (57 per cent) would not support ADF intervention to “fight against violent extremist groups” in the Middle East.

Just 41 per cent of respondents would be in favour of restoring an Australian military presence in the region.

This comes almost 21 years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York, which triggered prolonged support for a large-scale Western presence in the Middle East.

However, last year’s US withdrawal from Afghanistan signalled a marked shift in the West’s geostrategic priorities, with the Indo-Pacific identified as the new region of interest.

But the Taliban’s return to rule in Afghanistan, and the continued threat posed by other Sunni extremist groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda, and Iranian-backed Shia groups like Hezbollah have sparked fears the withdrawal was premature.

Rallying against Russia

The Lowy Institute polling has brought to light the extent of Australian support for military action against Russia as its war against Ukraine rages on four months after the invasion.

Most respondents (58 per cent) said they would not be in favour ADF intervention if Russia “invaded one of its neighbours”.

Despite broad support for Australian military and non-military aid to Ukraine, just 40 per cent of respondents would support direct military involvement.

Most recently, Australia gifted 14 M113 armoured personnel carriers (APCs) and a further 20 Thales-built Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles (PMVs) to Ukraine, announced by the former Morrison government prior to the federal election.

This built on the 20 Bushmasters, including two ambulance variants, initially delivered to Ukraine following a request from President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, taking the total number of PMVs gifted to the country to 40.

The total value of this latest support package was approximately $60.9 million, with the 14 APCs costing an estimated $12 million and the 20 PMVs $48.9 million.

This took the total value of Australia’s contribution to Ukraine’s resistance to $285 million.

Responding to crimes against humanity

Notably but unsurprisingly, polled respondents were most in favour of Australian military action to “stop a government from committing genocide and killing large numbers of its own people”.

An overwhelming majority (79 per cent) would back ADF intervention to prevent crimes against humanity.

This poses interesting questions given known human rights violations, including suspected genocide, in many parts of the world.

The governments of China, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia are among a number of regimes accused of either genocide or human rights violations against their own people.

One of former US President Donald Trump’s last acts in office was to formally condemn Beijing’s abuses against local minorities.

According to a statement released by then secretary of state Mike Pompeo, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has “dramatically escalated” a long-standing “campaign of repression” against China’s Uyghur Muslims and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups, including ethnic Kazakhs and ethnic Kyrgyz.

The State Department’s “exhaustive documentation” of Beijing’s treatment of minorities in Xinjiang since March 2017 identified what has been described as “morally repugnant, wholesale policies, practices, and abuses”, designed to discriminate against and survey ethnic minorities; restrict travel, emigration, and school attendance; and deny other basic human rights of assembly, speech, and worship.

The Trump administration went further, accusing the CCP of committing crimes against humanity, long suspected by the international community, which include:

  • forced abortions and sterilisations;
  • torture of a large number of those arbitrarily detained;
  • the arbitrary imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty of more than 1 million civilians;
  • forced labour; and
  • the imposition of draconian restrictions on freedom of religion or belief, freedom of expression, and freedom of movement.

As such, the US Department of State determined Beijing, under the direction and control of the CCP, has “committed genocide” against the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang.

Former secretary Pompeo directed the US Department of State to continue its investigation and collect evidence relating to the identified abuses in Xinjiang.

The State Department was also instructed to make evidence available to appropriate authorities and the international community.

The Biden administration has continued this investigation since assuming office.

But as with all the aforementioned scenarios, public sentiment toward military intervention would need be considered along with the potential ramifications of military intervention.

Most would agree decisions to deploy military force should not be left to popular opinion, but gauging general sentiment certainly offers important insight into the ever-changing attitudes of an increasingly polarised public.


BOOK – Danger On Our Doorstep

Could Australia Go To War With China?

By: Jim Molan

Available: 3rd August 2022
ISBN: 9781460762608
Number Of Pages: 304

An unsettling assessment of how – and when – war with China might break out and the consequences for the world, from bestselling author, ex-major general Jim Molan

What are Australia’s options in confronting a rising and belligerent China?

For the first time in nearly 80 years, war on our doorstep is not just possible, it is likely. Former army major general and Liberal Party senator Jim Molan has fought wars, reviewed intelligence, participated in government and conducted business in hotspots across the world, making him an expert in evaluating risk and reward in perilous military situations.

In this sober assessment, Molan examines the present and growing danger of China’s rise, not just to Taiwan, Japan and other countries in the immediate region, but also to the geopolitical balance of power as it has existed since the end of World War II. He suggests what China’s endgame is, how war might start, what war with China would look like and, importantly, what Australia’s best interests and options are. Acknowledging the increasing awareness of possible conflict, he stresses how important it is to prepare for the right war, not the war we would prefer to fight, or the one we think might never happen.

About the Author

Jim Molan is an Australian Liberal senator and retired army major general. In April 2004, he deployed for a year to Iraq as the Coalition forces’ chief of operations, where he controlled the manoeuvre operations of all forces across all of Iraq, including the security of Iraq’s oil, electricity and rail infrastructure. Since leaving the military, Jim has been a commentator on defence and security issues, and has written regularly for a number of journals and blogs. Until September 2014, he was a principal of Aadi Defence Pty Ltd, facilitating access for Australian industry to defence technology grants and working with other high technology industries, and was nominated as chairman of two companies attempting to commence trading in Australia.

He was a consultant to Deakin University, BAE Systems Australia and Israeli Aerospace Industries. He has been active in speaking out on defence issues, in particular, Australia’s preparedness against an aggressive China. Jim lives on a property outside Canberra.

Karaoke Night At The G20 …

Amazing what technologies allow today. You can no longer believe your own eyes thanks to this new technology. Past attempts at this ‘lip sync’ technology were amateurish… This is so well done that it’s now wise to question the reality of ANY video speech viewed on ANY screen, delivered by ANYBODY. Will this be used in politics in the future? Making the lips move is one thing, but having those lips (credibly) look like they’re speaking an entirely foreign language is absolutely astounding, and



For the first time ever, it is known that 581,139 Australians have reported they have served or are currently serving in the Australian Defence Force (ADF), as announced in the release of the Census 2021 data today.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Matt Keogh said that there are 496,276 veterans and 84,865 current serving ADF members and understanding these figures along with other demographic and lifestyle data is history-making.

“I am proud to announce that for the first time in Australian history, we know that there are more than half a million veterans in Australia, representing 2.8 per cent of the Australian population aged 15 years and over and equating to 1 in 20 households with at least one person who has served,” Minister Keogh said.

“Currently around 247,000 veterans receive support from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA), about half of the veteran population.

“This is a good sign that not all veterans have needed tailored support services, but I encourage those veterans who do need support and have not yet engaged with DVA or are not sure what help they can access, to reach out.”

The Census 2021 data release also outlined key demographic information among the current and former serving ADF population.

“Knowing how many veterans there are and other key factors such as demographics, employment, education and health status is pivotal for the Australian Government to target services and support to the right areas,” Minister Keogh said.

“We now know that 13.4 per cent of our veteran population are female. The largest age group for veterans is 65-74 years of age, and 90 per cent of these veterans are male.

“With the largest Army base in the country, Townsville is home to both the most veterans (8,700) and current serving ADF members (5,500).

“Unsurprisingly, the Census 2021 results show that veterans are more likely to participate in volunteer work compared to the general population, attesting to the incredible contributions our veterans make to the community throughout their lives.

“Better understanding our veteran population through the Census 2021 will help guide the development and delivery of services and support for Australia’s veterans and will help inform the Government’s response to issues veterans are facing, such as health, housing and employment.”


Townsville’s status as Australia’s largest garrison city has been confirmed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in the release of the Census 2021 results today.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Matt Keogh said the results of the Census 2021 has shown that Townsville hosts the highest number of residents with military service.

“Around 14,200 current and former ADF personnel call Townsville home, comprising 8,700 veterans and 5,500 current serving ADF members,” Minister Keogh said.

“Out of a city of 180,000 people, this means almost 1 in 10 people in this great community have served our country.

“This data is more than just something to be proud of for Townsville – it clearly tells us as a government that this is a community where we can invest in even more services and support tailored to the defence and veteran communities.

“A fit-for-purpose Veterans and Families Hub is already supporting the 14,200 strong defence and veteran community in Townsville after officially opening in October last year to provide localised and targeted support services to veterans and families in the area.”

“I have had the opportunity to talk to veterans and their families while visiting The Oasis Townsville today and seen first-hand how this Hub supports veterans and their families and connects them to the services and help that they need.”

The Census 2021 has reported more than 581,139 people have stated they have served or are currently serving in the ADF. There is a veteran residing in 1 in every 20 Australian households.

A full breakdown of the Census data for veterans and Defence personnel can be found on the ABS website: