Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Australian Military Recruits US Veterans

I am not necessarily recommending this, but it is an interesting idea.

The US military is going through another Reduction In Force (RIF), the third that I have seen in my adult lifetime, under Presidents Carter, Clinton and now Obama: Democrats always looking for that ephemeral Peace Dividend.  Just as we are living off of the financial and economic sacrifices of our children and grandchildren by spending well beyond our means (if we taxed 100% from the incomes of the $100K and above category, it would account for only a few months of the national debt), we are also taxing the lives of those fewer troops we will still retain when we have to go to war again (and we will, we always have), buying time to build up the military we should have kept ready in the first place.

But we are instead turning out otherwise qualified veterans into a stagnant economy (the little growth is quickly overtaken by inflation and growing population), with unemployment well above 8% with little hope of it dropping anytime soon, and that is 8% by the most positive spin of the numbers, not counting the long-term unemployed who have dropped off the charts, and the under- or part-time employed.

What is a highly qualified, well trained and educated, professional military veteran to do?  Besides the gumption that many such veterans show for ‘doing what it takes’ (they wouldn’t otherwise have been in the all-volunteer military in the first place), they have another option added to the list: join the Australian military. 

The Australian Defence Forces have a severe shortage of soldiers, sailors and airmen in specific technical and professional fields (alas, the only Marines that Australia has are our own).  They have even opened more fields to women, including some combat roles.  To help fill the gaps, Australia is looking for “serving or ex-serving foreign military personnel, who can directly transfer their job and life skills to whichever Service they join, with limited training and preparation”.  Due to strong similarities in culture, military structure, equipment, and membership within the Commonwealth, naturally they are focusing primarily on the UK.  But Australia has also had a very strong relationship with the US, particularly since World War II.

These specific fields include special forces vocations (particularly with amphibious and parachute qualifications), submariners, EOD, medical technicians, fighter and multi-engine pilots, surface warfare amphibious and AEGIS experience, and many more.

For the sainted regular readers of this web log, you are aware that I have spent a considerable time with foreign forces, though I have never sworn allegiance to one (despite the UN insistence during my peacekeeping stint).  Other than the very remote possibility of joining the family’s traditional 8th Texas Cavalry should it be remobilized, I foresee a difficulty in risking a renunciation of US citizenship.  Not to worry, quotes one source:

According to the U.S. State Department, the U.S. and Australia each recognize dual citizenship.  Serving in the military of one is not listed as a cause for losing citizenship in the other.  The Australian defense site also notes that security clearances acquired while in the U.S. military are transferable to the Australian military.
That is reassuring but would be more so if it would address this passage from The Australian newspaper:

Applicants must apply for a permanent resident visa before coming to Australia.
They must also give a written undertaking that they will apply for Australian citizenship as soon as they are eligible. This is normally two years after permanent residence is granted, but an exception will be made for these service personnel, who will become eligible after three months' service.
Whichever the answer, it is likely an easier gig to obtain than the Légion étrangèr.

(H/T to Paladin Planet)

Update:  The pay isn't bad at all, though you should consider that the cost of living is somewhat higher in Australia.  Currently, the US and Australian dollar exchange is roughly equivalent (US$1.00 = AU$0.97).  (Thanks to Austin Craig)

Update:  Of course, that includes the Royal Australian Navy.


  1. Australian Military Recruits US Veterans. I am not necessarily recommending this, but it is an interesting idea.Also it seems that you do not have to lose your US citizenship for serving in the Australian military.
    Don Blankenship

    1. That's likely true. The Commonwealth has always been partial to the idea of dual citizenship, for probably obvious reasons.

      It's the American government that wouldn't recognise Australian citizenship. It used to be far more precise about the matter, & I remember language in my older passports that stipulated about swearing allegiance to a foreign power, but that became muddled with the American volunteers signing up with the Canadians & Brits before Pearl Harbor, among other examples, & the warning finally dropped off the passport altogether. The US law concerning foreign service & citizenship has been wound up with 'intent', so the topic is practically moot these days.


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