Chapter Four - Outcome Performance > Outcome Three: Army Capabilities > page 3 of 14
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Outcome Three: Army Capabilities

Mitigation of Key Risks

In the Portfolio Budget Statements 2004-05, the Army identified two key risks to fully meeting its preparedness responsibilities - personnel and logistics support.

Personnel

In 2004-05, the Regular Army strength decreased by 379 personnel to 25,356. To meet current preparedness requirements and future capability commitments detailed in the Defence White Paper, the Army's funded strength is projected to be 26,442 by 2009-10. The Army still remains on track to achieve this through the development and implementation of a number of strategies to improve recruiting, retention and remediate critical employment categories. In 2004-05, the Army Reserve strength decreased by 855 to 15,845.

There was a downturn in the recruiting achievement from the previous year and an increase in the separation rate. This has increased pressure on key personnel areas such as medical professionals, linguists and technical trades. In 2004-05, the recruiting for both the full-time and part-time Army components was 81 per cent and 76 per cent of targets respectively, compared to the previous year's performance of 84 per cent and 84 per cent. The average recruiting performance for the past four years has been 84.1 per cent and 65.6 per cent for the full-time and part-time components respectively. The full-time Army separation rate increased to 13 per cent, compared to 10.9 per cent for the previous year, which is comparable with the Army's historical separation rate of 12.0 per cent. Lower recruiting achievement and higher separation rates place greater risk on the Army achieving future strength targets.

Logistics Support

Logistics deficiencies have affected all of the Army's outputs. These relate to shortages in serviceable equipment and shortages of qualified logistic personnel in selected mechanical and supply trades. Ongoing funding has been provided to remediate logistic shortfalls. Improvements in the level of preparedness are beginning to be realised. Further measures are being implemented, including a range of retention measures for key logistic trades. The implementation of base support structures and dedicated staffing within Army Headquarters has improved communication and the delivery of garrison services. Army and the Corporate Services and Infrastructure Group have developed the Army National Garrison Support Services Standard. This new national standard has made service contract re-negotiations more efficient and guarantees a universal minimum level of base services to all Army output elements.

The Army's reporting and assessment of the enabling groups' support of the Army has been significantly enhanced by the development and adoption of the Base Enabling Support Assessment Tool. This tool is used to identify and treat risks to Army output and to manage the relationship with Defence's enabling groups. The age of the Army estate and the increasing cost of repairs continues to place added pressure on facility operating costs. Upgrades to permanent and transit living-in accommodation are being progressed under Project Single Leap and programmed base redevelopment respectively.

The development of Materiel Sustainment Agreements with the Defence Materiel Organisation and the provision of supplementary funding will help to resolve the difficulties in maintaining equipment fleets.

The deployment of the Al Muthanna Task Group to Iraq in April 2005 was achieved in only ten weeks. This can be attributed to the systems and procedures in place between the Army and the Defence Materiel Organisation. The close cooperation and good relationship that the Defence Materiel Organisation shares with the Army and industry were instrumental in resolving critical capability deficiencies in Combat Body Armour and protective enhancements for vehicles.

A 100 per cent stocktake was completed in Army on all principal, managed and rotatable items from January through to the end of June 2005. This stocktake was part of the Defence-wide 100 per cent stocktake and the results have not only improved the accuracy of the Army account, but also ratified all Supply Customer Accounts held by Army within the Standard Defence Supply System.

The Defence Road Transport Exemption Framework has progressed well at the national level and now has endorsement from the National Transport Commission. This framework will eliminate the requirement for permits and exemptions for Defence vehicles in all States and Territories and will establish the procedures and policies for further consultation with respective States and Territories Road Traffic Authorities.

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