Chief of Defence General Angus Campbell issued a statement tonight at 6.50pm that appears to backflip somewhat on implementing aspects of the IGADF Afghanistan Report’s recommendations.
FILE PHOTO (October 2006): Coalition helicopter movements in Tarin Kowt*, Afghanistan. Photo by Brian Hartigan. [*correct spelling in 2006]
“Defence is developing a comprehensive implementation plan to action the Inspector-General’s recommendations,” General Campbell said.
“No decisions have yet been made with regard to the appropriate options and approaches to implement the more than 140 recommendations, as the complexity and sensitivity of the issues outlined in the report will take extensive and considered deliberation.”
This, despite being quite clear and unequivocal that 2 Squadron SASR would be struck off the Army’s orbat (which Chief of Army said was actually his idea (therefore not a recommendation of the Brereton report)) or that the Meritorious Unit Citations would be revoked from Special Operations Task Groups who served in Afghanistan from 2007 to 2013.
General Campbell said any further action in response to the Inspector-General’s recommendations would be considered as part of the implementation plan, which is being developed with the oversight of the Minister for Defence and the independent Afghanistan Inquiry Implementation Oversight Panel.
He then went on to list “key issues of public interest” that would be addressed through the implementation plan – such as accountability, referrals to the government-established Office of the Special Investigator, compensation, honours and awards including citations, ethical development of the force and, command and control of the Australian Defence Force in coalition operations – which, while mentioning citations generally, didn’t clarify the status of the one ket citation currently in the public’s eye.
He also didn’t mention at all the status of the plan to strike off 2 Squadron SASR.
“Transparency is key to this process and I intend to speak publicly again, once the initial implementation plan is developed and first considered by Defence leadership and presented to government for consideration and input,” General Campbell said.