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Australian CDF Sees Air Power As "Vital" (Aug. 16)



Chief of Defence Force General Peter Cosgrove is "absolutely convinced" of air power's pivotal role in providing a persuasive and deterrent defense for Australia.

And Gen. Cosgrove told Air Force News he was "extremely proud" of the work of the Air Force's air-to-air refuelers and support elements in Kyrgyzstan as part of the international coalition against terrorism.

"I look forward to when they get home because they have done a fantastic job," he said.

"I hope we can give them a good homecoming and I certainly know that if we need other Air Force elements in any operational setting, they will present ready to go and as the most confident Air Force in the world."

He believed he was lucky to have already gained a lot of knowledge about the Air Force as a result of his career.

"I've worked and lived on bases where your fast jets operate, I've been on courses with your officers, I've been on operations and exercises delivered by the Air Force, supplied by the Air Force and brought home by the Air Force," he said.

In his first interview for the service newspapers since being appointed CDF, Gen Cosgrove also addressed the issue of changing service conditions, saying he wanted remuneration modernized to the point that if ADF personnel would not be better off after change, then at least they would not be worse off.

He said junior ranks in the three services wondered whether under "modernizing" service conditions were being reduced.

"That's a natural suspicion and one which will make us even more cautious about arriving at those changes," he said.

Any changes would be presented for "absolute scrutiny and debate by our people both junior and more senior" before decisions would be made.

"Of course we're obligated to explain to all the people who haven't been part of the trial procedure what we're on about, why it's good and how it will be better for them," he said.

But Gen. Cosgrove said there would instances where a condition would be changed because it was "old-fashioned and clunky in administrative terms".

Such change would seek to streamline conditions to divert funds into other areas of Defence, however, people had to be able to see that they would not be personally worse off.

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