Australian Army to outsource its intelligence and security services

November 14th, 2007 - 2:39 am ICT by admin  
The move takes the trend towards outsourcing key defence roles to a new level and in part reflects a shortage of uniformed officers qualified for such tasks.

According to The Australian, the Defence Materiel Organisation last week issued a unique tender request titled “Contracted Security and Intelligence Services to the Australian Army”.

The tender calls for the recruitment of eight senior civilian personnel “to provide intelligence and security advice to military personnel in locations in Brisbane, Darwin and Townsville”.

These security managers will be responsible for protecting soldiers in army barracks from attacks from anyone from drunken civilians to terrorists, as well as investigating mismanagement and fraud inside the base.

The army has used private security guards to monitor the perimeter of its defence bases for more than a decade but it is the first time it has outsourced the management of base security to civilians rather than uniformed intelligence officers.

A Defence spokesman said the successful applicants would need high-level security clearances and would gain access to classified intelligence aimed at “identifying potential security threats or trends” to the army’s First Division, based in Brisbane, Townsville and Darwin.

The outsourcing of such a delicate area of the army’s functions reflects a shortage of soldiers available for such tasks at a time of substantial overseas deployments and shortfalls in recruiting targets.

Outsourcing is also seen as a more economic and efficient way of filling jobs that do not necessarily require a soldier, sailor or airman to perform them.

A Defence spokesman said the base security managers would also oversee internal investigations into any mismanagement at the bases, including breaches of corporate governance.

“Their duties include auditing accountable documents, providing advice on procedures, compiling reports and assisting in minor investigations,” the spokesman said.

“A security clearance is required as staff may view, discuss and write reports relating to potentially classified material.”

The contract for the successful applicants will be signed on November 23, the day before the federal election.

The Australian Defence Force has sharply upgraded the physical security of its military establishments in recent years to guard against terrorist attacks. (ANI)

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