Aus military to recruit non-citizens in a bid to boost troop numbers

MELBOURNE: The Australian military will begin recruiting some non-citizens in a bid to boost troop numbers, the govt said Tuesday. Only people from other members of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing partnership who hold Australian permanent residency will be eligible.
The move is part of a push to build a military that can resist foreign coercion through blocked trade routes in the future, defence minister Richard Marles said.Marles, who is also deputy PM, said the change was a major step toward addressing a 4,400-person shortfall in the Australian Defence Force, whose target strength is 63,600 fulltime personnel.
The govt intends to increase that number to 80,000 by 2040. Relatively low unemployment is one of the factors working against the Australian military attracting and retaining personnel.
Australia is particularly reliant on open sea and air routes as an island nation that trades with the world and is therefore suspectable to coercion from foreign militaries, Marles said. “We are not trying to make ourselves a peer of the US or of China,” Marles told delegates at a securi ty conference. “That’s not a credible thing to propose.” “In a far less certain world, do we have an ability to be able to resist coercion of any adversary and to make our way?” he added.
New Zealanders who have lived in Australia for at least a year will be eligible to join the military from July, and permanent residents from the US, Britain and Canada will be eligible from Jan 2025.


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