Australia - Army Chief Defends Troop Equipment

The Diggers have always suspected that in relation to the supply of clothing and equipment, Murphy's Military Law applied, in that their equipment was mostly supplied by the lowest possible tenderer.

My own opinion is that the fault lies within the defence force's procurement and quality control system

Australia's army chief has defended the quality of equipment issued to the country's combat soldiers as "the best we can give them" despite a damning report into the defence force's procurement system.

The wide-ranging review found the system was being exploited by companies involved in the buying and delivery of clothing and equipment for Aussie troops.

Some soldiers have also reported problems with their boots, while others complained of backpacks being either too big or too small.

Army chief Lieutenant-General Peter Leahy said Australian army issue gear was among the best in the world, denying there was a problem with the equipment.

"I'd say that it's a healthy feedback system. It's about a hundred thousand items of equipment," Lt-Gen Leahy said.

"A lot of the issues that come through that are reported defective or unsatisfactory material are normal routine things where soldiers are putting forward suggestions.

"We've got tens of thousands of boots on issue. There's about, I think, 147 complaints, there might be more.

"I don't want to stifle the complaints, I want to hear from the soldiers, because they are the guys in the field using this stuff. They're the ones who can help us improve it.

"I am confident that the equipment that our soldiers who are deployed on operations have is about the best we can give them."

The defence department copped most of the blame in the report for running a dysfunctional system that led to "inappropriate behaviour" by private companies, shortcuts, and a lack of oversight or quality control.

The report also said clothing and equipment companies exploited the system to misrepresent their products to Defence and secure contracts that they did not deserve.

Defence Minister Brendan Nelson has approved sweeping changes to the procurement system, including the implementation of 29 recommendations raised in the review.

Dr Nelson declared the equipment provided to the Australian army was "second to none in the world" but in the same breath conceded the procurement system could also be improved.

"Australian soldiers owe their lives, not only to the quality of their training and military leadership, but also to the quality of equipment provided to them," he said.

"We can also do better in the way we actually purchase and deliver equipment to Australian soldiers.

"It is absolutely essential that every young Australian that proudly wears the uniform of the Australian Army is not in any sense shortchanged in what they do."

Labor's defence spokesman Senator Mark Bishop questioned the seriousness of the review, saying some soldiers had also complained about inadequate webbing used to carry vital equipment, including bullets and water bottles.

"Serving personnel were forced to spend up to $300 from their own pocket to buy adequate webbing," Senator Bishop said.

"This suggests deep flaws in the procurement process are indeed leading to Australian troops being given faulty clothing and gear."

Source: AAP News Service
Sounds familiar....

At least I won't have too much of a culture shock next year! :)
Having just rejoined I can say that mostly the new stuff is pretty good. There are a few minor gripes I'd have, but compared to what I handed in to the Q Store when I left 10 years ago .... it's pretty good.

Compared to what I was issued in 1985 .... WOW !
IrishGuard said:
Some soldiers have also reported problems with their boots, while others complained of backpacks being either too big or too small.

Source: AAP News Service
We have the exact same problem my bergan was both too small to fit all the crap I had to carry in and at the same time much too fecking big to carry.

It is a disgrace I tell you - something should be done.


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