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Defence not good at handling change

BY REGINALD RENAGI

A DEFENCE ORGANISATION without a built-in means of managing rapid change is without the means of its own preservation.

Experience over the years has revealed that the PNG defense organisation is not good at adeptly handling change.

Whilst the PNG Defence Force has come a long way since independence, major events in recent times have placed the professionalism of the force into doubt.

Serious cracks have shown in terms of way Defence does its business and the way it handles its people.

The pulse of endeavour in our country’s military is wavering as we face an undeniably serious personnel wastage problem.

Defence is confronted with the problem of revamping the whole organisation.

The truth is that the declining level of experience continues because good people do not feel strongly committed to this once proud and professional state security agency.

Unless Defense streamlines its processes to reduce frustration, people will continue to leave the services.

The PNGDF is becoming uncompetitive because it is not placing its people in an environment where they feel like winners.

Many service personnel perceive that the PNGDF is misunderstood by an uninterested public and increasingly cowed by a government which fails to recognise the uniqueness of the military and make allowance for it.

The first priority must be to reshape and refocus the whole defence structure and processes to better serve the aspirations of the kind of people it needs in future.

Defence needs a professional team of men and women – a highly educated, trained, motivated elite force endowed with social prestige.

Comments

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Francis Hualupmomi

Regi, I totally agree with you. PNGDF needs to be reformed with the changing political, strategic and economic environment. Australia should also do more in the current defence cooperation package.

Reginald Renagi

In the past 15 years, the PNGDF capabilities has seriously eroded so it is now not an effective fighting force.

The constant financial constraints enforced upon the defence organisation since Independence has taken its toll over the last 36 years.

The PNGDF has lost much of its professionalism, credibility and integrity as a direct result of the Sandline Crisis in 1997.

The PNGDF command misused the military for the first time in its history to directly usurp the power of the State Authority (National Command Authority).

Since then, successive governments have ignored the PNGDF and left it much to its own devices despite repeated representations to higher authority to allocate it sufficient resources each year.

Reginald Renagi

Thanks Barbara - Late last year the Defence Minister and Member for Kabwun, Bob Dadae MP, pushed through parliament, the International Obligation Bill. This will allow the PNGDF to participate in UN peacekeeping deployments overseas.

There is already a provision in the Defence Act and this is the fifth function for the PNGDF. This Bill expands upon it with legal basis and operating parameters for future international contingents.

The first team of UN Peacekeeping Operations (UNPKO) Observers induction course just completed their training in country. This was conducted for the PNGDF by a Australian Defence Force training team.

Such training given to the PNGDF is carried out under the New Defence Partnership agreement. This is an ongoing arrangement between the PNGDF and ADF under existing Defence Co-operation Program since Independence.

Barbara Short

Beautifully written, Reg! I'm very out-of-touch with PNG affairs as I've been away on a great holiday in Victoria.

But I think I read somewhere that the PNG Defence Force were to get more involved in working for the UN and their various missions throughout the world.

I think this would be an excellent experience for the PNG Defence Force personnel and a great training ground.

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