Image by ANU

Defence Force Chief honours the impact of serving women

25 October 2018

Australia’s Chief of Defence Force, General Angus Campbell, has spoken of how the increasing rate of women entering into the armed forces has improved the nation’s military capabilities.

Praising the impact of women in Australia’s armed forces, General Campbell told the 2018 Women in National Security conference he was pleased with the recent uptake of women joining the defence force.

“Around 40 per cent of people entering the Air Force are women. About 30 per cent entering the Navy are women. About 20 per cent entering the Army are women,” General Campbell said.

“Those entry rates are very promising and positive, in terms of the future workforce and the potential of that workforce.

“In our most recent operational commitment, in the Philippines, you see those numbers being reflected in terms of the percentages of women serving.”

General Campbell expressed his bewilderment with those who still do not seem to understand the benefits the increase of women is having on the Defence Force.

“What it does not provide is any diminution in capability of the Defence Force, in fact the reverse,” he said.

“By drawing on a wider community of Australians who wish to serve their nation, we have the opportunity for a more talented, more diversely capable organisation that can engage across the range of occupational settings we participate in.”

General Campbell said Australia’s military activities in Afghanistan had provided some clear lessons in how deploying more women could result in improved operational outcomes.

“There is an operational effect that, when we started those activities in Afghanistan, was under optimised for our purpose,” General Campbell said.

“If you want to participate wholly and fully in that operation but you are a company of say 120 men, you will only talk to 50 per cent of the population and you will rarely be invited inside the walls of the family compound.”

In only its second year the ANU Women in National Security Conference has established itself as one of the most influential events for Australia’s defence and national security sectors.

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