The defense comprises 53,000 men with about 21,000 men in reserve and (2005) is organized in an army of 26,000 men made up of battalions/regiment units with 100 tanks and 22 modern attack helicopters, etc. under mobile command and a mobilizable reserve, 17,200 men. The base consists of a division and six brigades. A command force, SAS, exists. The navy comprises about 13,000 men, 14,500 men fully manned, with six submarines, ten fighters/frigates, 15 patrol boats, two landing craft and a naval aircraft with 23 submarine helicopters. The Air Force comprises 14,000 men, 15,500 fully-staffed, with 140 fighter aircraft, of which 22 are F-111. The equipment is of European and American origin.
Defense costs have decreased from 3.4 to 1.9% of GDP in 1985-2005. Within the framework of the ANZUS Pact (1951, renewed in 1996), defense preparations are being conducted in close cooperation with the United States and New Zealand. Along with the UK and New Zealand, Australia has committed to supporting the defense of Malaysia (with 115 men) and Singapore. A smaller naval force normally resides in the Indian Ocean. Australia participates in several peacekeeping operations, in Iraq with one battalion (850 men) and three sea surveillance aircraft, in the Solomon Islands (350 men) and in Afghanistan, Cyprus, East Timor, Egypt, the Middle East (UNTSO), Papua New Guinea and Sudan. To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that AUS stands for Australia.
The total force numbers for Australia’s armed forces are 57,050 active personnel, with a reserve of 21,050 personnel (2018, IISS). All military service is now on a voluntary basis, following the abolition of public service in 1972. Both men and women can serve from the age of 17.
Australia, together with New Zealand and the United States, is a member of the defense and security organization ANZUS.
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The army has a staff of 29,000 active personnel. Heavier materials comprises 59 tanks of the type M1 Abrams, 253 armored vehicles and 1,042 armored personnel. Besides including 22 combat helicopters of the type EC665 Tiger, 82 transport helicopters and 15 moderately heavy drones.
The Air Force has a workforce of 14,400 active personnel. Materials included 105 fighter aircraft (including 71 Hornet, 24 Super Hornet and 10 F-35 Lightning II), 12 Growler EK aircraft, 33 Hawk training and light fighter aircraft, 22 patrol and anti-submarine aircraft (15 Orion and seven Poseidon), six E-7 Road Detail AWACS aircraft, five KC-30A tankers, 51 transport aircraft (including eight Globemaster III and 12 Hercules) and 74 training aircraft.
The Navy has a workforce of 13,660 active personnel. The fleet includes six tactical submarines, two amfibieangrepsskip of Canberra-class, one dock landing ships of Bay class, two fighters Hobart class, 11 frigate (three of Adelaide class and eight Anzac class), 15 patrol boats, four mine sweepers, 17 landings vessels and 14 logistics and auxiliary vessels. The Navy’s Air Force has 24 anti-submarine helicopters and 25 transport helicopters.
Australia had forces in Egypt in 2018 (27 personnel, Operation Mazurka), in Malaysia (120 personnel), in the Philippines (Operation Augury: 100 personnel), in the United Arab Emirates (Operation Accordion: 500 personnel and two transport aircraft, and Operation Okra: 150 personnel, one AEW & C aircraft and one tanker) and in Iraq (Operation Okra: 380 personnel).
Australia participated in 2018 in the NATO operation will in Afghanistan (Operation Resolute Support) with 270 personnel in UN operations in the Middle East (UNTSO) with 12 observers, and in South Sudan (United Nations Mission in South Sudan) with 23 personnel and one observer.
Indigenous people, women and immigration
Australia’s indigenous people did not pay much attention until the end of World War II. But in the 1950’s, the Conservative government began to implement a policy aimed at assimilating them with the European majority. In time, the indigenous people formulated demands for respect for their culture and way of life. In the 1960’s, the Labor Party became the spokesman for the various groups in the indigenous population, thus contributing to their public recognition and to a beginning recognition by the public. In 1967, with the support of the Labor Party, a referendum was conducted, where the majority supported the recognition of indigenous people’s civil rights and the transfer of issues related to this population group to the federal government. But the indigenous people have not yet received the Australian state’s recognition of its right to its land. The Australian indigenous population today amounts to approx. 200,000 people. Two-thirds of them no longer live in tribal communities, but live in urban areas. For modern Australia, this population group is arguably second-class. A minority of indigenous peoples continue to live in areas that Europeans abstain from. This applies to the desert areas in the central parts of the country and the rainforest areas in the north. Here they maintain their religious and social traditions.
In most cases, women have formal equality with men, but in practice there is a long way to go. Traditional attitudes are at least as strong in Australia as in Western European countries. Only one-third of college students are women, 8% of lawyers, 14% of doctors. Children’s institutions are sparse. In politics, women continue to play an insignificant role: during the 1970’s, however, women’s movements grew in the larger cities.
Australia remained a “white” country in the post-war period, although immigration rules for non-Europeans were somewhat relaxed in the 1960’s. Of the more than three million immigrants after 1945, the vast majority came from Europe, and about half came from the United Kingdom. Immigration was planned. Australia needed manpower, above all skilled labor. However, immigration quotas were sharply lowered in the 1970’s as unemployment rose. Australia remains a European – not to say British – outpost in the Pacific. Even the many southern European immigrants have had to acknowledge that preferably British ancestors must be able to slip easily into society. This has given rise to and gives rise to social conflicts. Nevertheless, political ties with Britain have become increasingly weakened, as a result of the declining economic importance of the former motherland. In 1960, 25% of exports still went to Britain. By 1975, the share had reached 6%. At the same time, Japan became an increasingly important trading partner. Among other things. for that reason, from the 1970’s, Australia began to orient itself more towards its Asian neighbors. The outpost is in the process of finding its role as part of Asia.
Australia is a member of the following multinational military alliances: ANZUK, ANZUS and the Manila Pact.