The Australian Army: A History of Its Organisation from 1901 to 2001

The Australian Army: A History of Its Organisation from 1901 to 2001

The Australian Army: A History of Its Organisation from 1901 to 2001

The Australian Army: A History of Its Organisation from 1901 to 2001

Synopsis

This book describes the development of the Army and its evolution from the colonial armies of Federation to the modern, professional force it is today. It reveals that the Army's organization is the result of complex interactions between the government's fiscal and security policies, the desires of the public, and the ambitions of military leaders.

Excerpt

The geographical position of Australia and its now considerable population render
it comparatively little liable to aggression from any Foreign Power. In view of the
Military Force now in existence, and the strong spirit which animates it, territorial
aggression, except upon a large scale, would be impossible
.

Upon Federation, the new state of Australia, formed by the union of six former colonies, assumed control over many of the prerogatives reserved to sovereign states. Among the myriad new responsibilities, that of the defence of its territories, subjects, and interests, along with the merger of the colonial forces into the first Australian Army, were among the most critical. Although Australia would at first defer to Britain certain important national responsibilities, such as foreign policy, and while it would remain for the immediate future under the defence umbrella provided by the imperial army and navy, international security and the organisation of the country’s military forces would emerge as central questions in the development of the nation state and its character.

The term ‘first Australian Army’ is employed deliberately. Although there has been continuity in the provision of a military force, during its hundred-year history the Australian Army has had structures of such differing composition as to suggest the existence of a series of distinct military bodies. However, while the organisation of the army has frequently and sometimes dramatically changed, tradition, culture, and a common national purpose have provided enduring constants that have linked the structure into a continuous institution. Moreover, these changes are part of a natural and essential process. All armies must, under the stress of ever-advancing technologies, shifting national priorities and diplomatic initiatives, and adjustments to relative power relationships, to mention just a few potential security variables, periodically reinterpret their organisation. Therefore, the relationship between an army and its . . .

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