Army forced to call on civilian firm to teach infantry combat skills

The Australian Army has been forced to call on civilian security and combat specialists to help teach its recruits. Here’s what it means.

By Charles Miranda

The Australian Army has been forced to hire a civilian security group to help teach its infantry combat shooting skills, overlooking its own elite Special Forces and military trainers.

For years the ADF has used units including the Special Air Service Regiment (SAS) and Commandos to develop innovative combat shooting skills to share with regular infantry troops in near-real training programs.

But it has now had to move to civilian-run programs with critical shortages in qualified staff to provide enhanced skills beyond basic training, causing some disquiet in the Special Operations Command (SOCOMD) ranks.

For its latest contract, the ADF has turned to Brisbane-headquartered Kinetic Fighting Pty Ltd (KEF Group) for a lucrative six-month $500,000 contract for specific “enhanced combat shooting” training for soldiers at the School of Infantry in Singleton, 200km north of Sydney.

The irony is ADF staff have to provide the basic outline for training to up to three KEF civilian trainers for them to conduct the course for troops.

The contract is believed to be the first of other outsourced deals for civilian forces currently being considered by Defence to bolster training ranks for other military skill sets for personnel including at RAAF Base Amberley, Brisbane’s Enoggera and Townsville.

Any agreed contracts would not include logistics such as transport, personnel administration or facilities all of which the ADF would provide.

Defence would not respond directly to questions about the civilian outsourcing including SOCOMD apparently having been overlooked, the cost and whether the contract was offered through tender as required for services over $10,000.


“The School of Infantry is planning to trial specialist industry partnerships for some aspects of training,” was all a Defence spokesman would say. “All Australian industry partnerships are delivered in accordance with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules.”

ADF sources said there was no doubt KEF was suitably qualified for the latest contract.

KEF founder was Paul Cale, a former Commando and Special Forces operator and team leader of Australia’s elite anti-terror Tactical Assault Group Tag-East (Commando) and Tag-West (SAS), who had created the courses the Infantry Corps are still teaching.

Many of his staff are ex-ADF and the group has had numerous previous contracts with the army, navy and the RAAF, training more than 1500 troops, as well as civilian police notably from Victoria Police, QLD Police and the South Australian Police Special Tasks and Rescue Operations.

KEF declined to comment citing contractual confidentiality.



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