Defence today issued a press release talking up the Australian Army Skill at Arms Meeting 2020 scheduled to start tomorrow at Greenbank in Brisbane – with no international component mentioned.
FILE PHOTO: Australian and international participants at AASAM 2013. Photo by Sergeant John Waddell.
Army says AASAM is ‘an annual combat marksmanship competition with a long-standing reputation in the ADF and Armies of the Indo-Asia-Pacific Region, and with Australia’s traditional defence partners‘.
Run since 1984, AASAM is heralded by Army as Australia’s premier military shooting tournament, with a growing reputation worldwide.
Army said as far back as 2013 that it was then the world’s biggest international shooting competition – and has only grown year on year since then, with teams and observers from 21 armies attending in 2019.
Yet, most notable about today’s press release is a complete lack of reference to the much-heralded international component of AASAM.
The release says, “The competition will identify the champion shot of the three services as well as select the Australian Army Combat Shooting Team to represent the Australian Army in future international marksmanship competitions” – the first of which would normally be the international component of AASAM the following week, at the same range, as part of the same AASAM.
The international component of this year’s AASAM is actually still promulgated on the Army web site AASAM page, scheduled to run from 24 March until 3 April.
Since that that page was updated as recently as 13 February 2020, something significant would have to have happened to force a cancellation of the international component.
Something like a COVID-19 pandemic perhaps?
Army was asked for urgent clarification (see their response here). However, we are completely bemused why today’s press release chose to ignore this significant news entirely.