|By Adam Gartrell
September 09, 2008 10:09pm
Article from: AAPFont size: + -
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AUSTRALIA'S armed forced must be better equipped to deal with new security threats associated with Asia's booming economies and expanding militaries, says Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
Addressing the RSL National Congress tonight, Mr Rudd said Asia could be home to the largest and most dynamic economies in the world by 2020, posing new strategic risks for Australia.
"In short, we have a rapidly changing region, but one still characterised by a number of unresolved flashpoints arising from unsettled territorial disputes," Mr Rudd said.
"As nations grow and become more affluent, they also update their military forces.
"We need to be aware of the changes taking place.
"And we must make sure that we have the right mix of capabilities to deal with any contingencies that might arise in the future."
The modernisation of Asia's military forces was characterised by significant improvements in air combat and naval capabilities, Mr Rudd said.
Australia had to be at the forefront of military technology development and acquisition, he said.
"Our armed forces must be equipped to deal with the emerging security environment," he said.
"We need a first rate and flexible land force - one capable of taking on challenges from contributing to high-end military engagements through to delivering post-conflict reconstruction support.
"We need an enhanced naval capability that can protect our sea lanes of communication and support our land forces as they deploy.
"And we need an air force that can fill support and combat roles and can deter, defeat and provide assistance to land and maritime forces."
The government will soon release Australia's first National Security Statement, which will set out how the country will approach national security challenges in the coming decades.
A Defence White Paper is also due later this year.
During his speech, Mr Rudd announced Australian Electoral Commissioner Ian Campbell had been appointed secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Tried showing this to Dad......thought it might have been a good sign. Dad laughed at me and said that it was violently at varience with the fiscal picture and the textbook definition of cognitive dissonance.