The Australian Defence Force removed another 900 people off their Operation Bushfire Assist commitments overnight, drawing the total ADF force down to a not-insubstantial 5500. But that’s not the real point of this story…
CAPTION: Lieutenant Colonel Renee Kidson, commanding officer 5th Engineer Regiment Task Group, hands out lapel pins to soldiers at the old Bega Racecourse. The task group’s mission was to relieve fire-affected communities and assist civil response on the New South Wales south coast from Nowra to the Victorian boarder. Photo by Sergeant Max Bree.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The above caption is the only info we have on this activity. Written in past tense, it suggests their mission is complete, but we don’t know for sure and don’t know if they are going home or going to a new task/area (read more below).
RELATED STORIES: Operation Bushfire Assist 19-20
However, despite more than 1400 personnel now not being assigned to support Operation Bushfire Assist, Defence has not said who/units they are, from which locations or from what tasks they have been removed.
In fact, CONTACT is currently in a tit-for-tat email exchange with Defence to get some accurate figures after we noticed some discrepancies in their reporting yesterday.
Asking if they made a typo when they said the number of Reserves had reduced by 500 but the total remained the same, a Defence spokesman tried to assure us that the figures were accurate – but his longwinded “accurate approximation” only added confusion.
Defence said – “As of 28 January 2020, the figure of 6400 personnel is an accurate approximation in relation to military, not just ADF personnel supporting Operation Bushfire Assist and incorporates:
- approximately 2700 Fulltime force-assigned ADF personnel;
- approximately 2500 Reserve force-assigned ADF personnel;
- approximately 850 ADF personnel supporting but not directly force-assigned to the Joint Task Forces with deployed Navy and Air Force assets; and
- approximately 350 foreign military personnel.”
CONTACT called ‘bullshit’ and replied – “Your 28 January official update specifically said “About 6400 ADF personnel are supporting Operation Bushfire Assist”. The daily update did not and never has (even today) suggested a combined total of all military.”
We await further “accurate approximations” [oxymoron if ever I heard one 🙂 ].
Do you think I’m being overly nit-pickey? Please comment below.
I think it’s justified for ‘truth in reporting’ and ‘historical accuracy’.