Australia announces plan to recruit non-citizens to fill military shortfall

Australia announces plan to recruit non-citizens to fill military shortfall

Defence Minister Richard Marles unveiled the Albanese government’s 2024 National Defence Strategy, pinpointing workforce shortages within the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

Marles outlined plans to address these shortages by broadening recruitment criteria to include non-citizens, aiming for a ‘more diverse’ representation within the ADF.

“This means ensuring that Defence reflects its full diversity of Australia such that it is drawing on the talents of the entirety of Australian society,” Marles announced during an address to the National Press Club.

When questioned about potential recruitment sources, Marles highlighted Australia’s chief intelligence allies and regional partners as primary options, including AUKUS partners and New Zealand citizens residing in Australia.

However, he underlined the need for careful consideration regarding the eligibility criteria for non-citizens joining the ADF.

Marles drew parallels with other nations, noting examples like Nepalese and Fijians serving in the British armed forces and Micronesians in the US armed forces, indicating a precedent for such recruitment strategies.

With the ADF currently facing a recruitment shortfall of about 7.0 per cent, Marles stressed the necessity of exploring various avenues for recruitment to meet the force’s needs through 2040.

ADF chief General Angus Campbell previously acknowledged the recruitment challenges, highlighting their detrimental impact on force sustainment.

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