Following a recent CONTACT article that suggested 2RAR would ‘cease to exist as an infantry battalion’, new details have emerged.
In an article in ARMY newspaper today, the commanding officer of 2RAR referred repeatedly to his unit as 2RAR (Amphib) and suggested the unit would be reduced to a headquarters and three sub-units.
While he politically correctly described the new structure as ‘leaner and more agile’, others have told CONTACT it will be about half the size of a regular infantry battalion.
The restructure will see 2RAR focus on specialist amphibious skills, with what we think is an ‘ambitious’ aspiration to ‘still retain the ability to act as a conventional infantry battalion when required’ – while somehow, the reduced unit establishment would also ‘allow soldiers with amphibious experience to be shared across Army’.
One hint at how this might be achieved, however comes in the suggestion that “the transition is a great opportunity to harness the total force to integrate reservists and ex-serving ARA personnel”.
ARMY newspaper also introduced a “Plan Keogh” today, without explanation. CONTACT has never heard of Plan Keogh – and a search of both the Defence web site and Google failed to shed any enlightenment.
CO 2RAR Lieutenant Colonel Doug Pashley told ARMY news it was an exciting time for 2RAR, building on the amphibious trial and being given the opportunity to establish a world-class amphibious unit optimised for pre-landing force operations.
“Working as part of a joint team, 2RAR (Amphib) will be the eyes and ears of Australia’s amphibious force, specialising in the use of small boats and the conduct of reconnaissance, surveillance and sniping in a littoral environment,” he said.
“They will be aiming to provide the landing force with a detailed understanding of the environment they are about to step into.
“2RAR (Amphib) will be responsible for securing beach and helicopter landing sites in support of an amphibious landing, and will be key to enabling the landing force to come ashore and complete its mission.”
2RAR will formally transition to Amphib on 15 October and the restructure will be marked by a parade on November 23 – the 69th anniversary of the Royal Australian Regiment.
Lieutenant Colonel Doug Pashley said they wanted to use the parade to recognise the change to 2RAR but also to acknowledge the hard work and dedication that all ranks and all corps have made to develop Army’s amphibious capability.