Australia’s military will recruit some non-citizens in a bid to boost troop numbers

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In this photo provided by the Australian Defense Force, recruits march on to the parade ground during their graduation ceremony on April 26, 2024, at the Royal Australian Navy Recruit School at HMAS Cerberus, in Melbourne, Australia. (AP)

MELBOURNE, Australia, June 4, (AP): The Australian military will begin recruiting some non-citizens in a bid to boost troop numbers, the government said Tuesday.
Only people from other members of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing partnership who hold Australian permanent residency will be eligible.
The move is part of a push to build a military that can resist foreign coercion through blocked trade routes in the future, Defense Minister Richard Marles said.
Marles, who is also deputy prime minister, said the change was a major step toward addressing a 4,400-person shortfall in the Australian Defense Force, whose target strength is 63,600 full-time personnel. The government intends to increase that number to 80,000 by 2040.
Relatively low unemployment is one of the factors working against the Australian military attracting and retaining personnel.
Australia is particularly reliant on open sea and air routes as an island nation that trades with the world and is therefore suspectable to coercion from foreign militaries, Marles said.
“We are not trying to make ourselves a peer of the United States or of China,” Marles told delegates at a security conference. “That’s not a credible thing to propose.”
“In a far less certain world, do we have an ability to be able to resist coercion of any adversary and to make our way?” he added.

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