A former head of Papua New Guinea's defence force says efforts to rebuild the army are floundering for a lack of political will.
Major General Jerry Singirok says plans to grow the capacity of the force are being held back by the government's failure to repatriate and pay hundreds of retrenched soldiers dating back to 1999.
PNG released a defence white paper last year amid announcements by defence minister Fabian Pok that personnel numbers would be built from 2,000 to 5,000 in four years. However the numbers remain largely static and General Singirok says the military's operational preparedness is dire.
"In all aspects - mobility, logistics, just general administration, general discipline - it's at its lowest,” he said. “There's absolutely no political will. The minister for defence can say what he wants but if cabinet doesn't support what he's saying, it's only as good as a political speech."