The Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) has welcomed the recently signed Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) and the Ship Rider Agreement with the United States (US) Government and Military, because of the massive assistance the military will be receiving from these agreements.
The Commander of Defence Force (CDF), Major General Mark Goina, said that his five lines of effort, aimed at improving the capacity of the defence force to Force 2030, will be greatly supported through these agreements, especially with the DCA.
The five lines of effort are People (the welfare of soldiers), Organizational Reform, Operational Proficiency, Infrastructure, and Nation Building. He said the defence agreements should improve the resources and systems that govern the way the defence force conducts military business.
“As I speak today, your defence force is a system and process that has broken down, we must fix this before we even think of bringing a ship in or bringing a helicopter in or bringing in high- end capability into the force, because if it comes in it will sit on a weak foundation that’s going to collapse. “This intent here is to address that before we start to look at bigger capabilities, high- end capabilities that can be able to support our government in the delivery of our core task,” said the CDF.
Goina said this because the findings presented by the Defence Assessment Report showed a negative picture of the PNGDF level of capabilities.
“When I took command, the PNGDF conducted a Defence Assessment on all its key capabilities in all the units, the aim was to determine PNGDF’s operational level of capability, today I want to inform you that the findings were not that good,” said Goina.
“As I speak today, we sit around 30 to 40% operational level of capability and readiness, way below the 50% to do something very, very effective and efficient to deliver on our core tasks every year.” He explained that the acceptable level of capability is around 70% to 80%.
“I would like to see our force level of capability to be at 80%,” said the CDF.
This would mean better equipment, uniforms and resources available to ensure the PNGDF delivers on its task to the government and the people of Papua New Guinea, which is to provide security, respond to natural disasters and assist in nation building.
Therefore, the CDF said the DCA should help the defence force in a very big way so that it can deliver on its mandated duties. Major General Giona also clarified that the DCA is no different to the ones PNG has with Indonesia and Australia, where the two militaries provide assistance whenever needed by the PNGDF.
Support like training to infrastructure rehabilitation or even establishing new defence facilities, because the defence budget alone each year cannot cater for many of the defence force’s needs.
The Major General said this while addressing various stakeholders, including the university representatives at the Public Information Seminar on the Defence Cooperation Agreement at the Murray Barracks in Port Moresby on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, to get things rolling with the US assistance, over the weekend a US military Boeing C-17 Globemaster landed at the Jackson’s International Airport, where it delivered over 2, 000 military items like uniforms, military hardware like protective vests and night vision scopes for personnel to use.