Australian Defence Force (ADF) operations

Budget Review 2011-12 Index

Budget 2011–12: Australian Defence Force (ADF) operations

David Watt

The Budget estimate for the total additional cost of Operations for 2011–12 is $1919.8 million, $1551.9 million of which has been contributed by the Government, with the Department of Defence required to absorb the other $367.9 million.[1]

Defence receives additional funding for operations in part because the cost of operations is not always predictable, but also because it avoids Defence having to cut or compromise other activities in order to fund military operations.  This additional funding comprises money to cover operating costs but also money for capital investment to buy equipment for a specific operation.

Some $1221.8 million of this has been allocated in 2011–12 to Operation Slipper, Australia’s military contribution to operations in Afghanistan and the wider Middle East (which includes regional anti-piracy operations). This comprises $959 million in new funding, plus $303.7 million in previously approved funding.[2]

The Government already provided Defence with additional funding of $108.5 million during 2010–11 to meet additional costs arising from the withdrawal of the Netherlands from Uruzgan Province. The budget papers state that this was to pay for the acquisition and maintenance of hardened living and working accommodation, increased transport costs, communications and detainee management.[3]

Operation Slipper is by far the largest operational commitment currently being undertaken by the ADF. Other operations receiving funding in 2011–12 are:

  • Operation Astute—the military contribution to maintaining stability in East Timor will receive $160.2 million in 2011–12. This comprises $137.9 million in new funding in addition to $26.8 million in previously approved funding.[4] Defence is extending the operation until 30 June 2012, but is also continuing to work towards transferring full security responsibility to East Timorese authorities, and expects to maintain bilateral defence cooperation with East Timor beyond 2012[5]
  • Operation Anode—Australia’s contribution the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) is expected to cost $43.5 million in 2011–12. Costs have been reduced by $1 million as a result of payment received from New Zealand for logistics support[6]
  • Operation Resolute—the ADF’s contribution to whole-of-government maritime security activities will comprise $9.8 million in 2011–12, although the cost of this effort (approximately 400 personnel operating mainly AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft and Armidale class patrol boats) will be met from within existing Defence resources[7]
  • Operation Kruger—the ADF's contribution to security for the Australian Embassy in Iraq, has been estimated to cost $2.1 million, but the Government expects Defence to absorb this cost without further supplementation. The ADF's military role in Iraq concluded in July 2009 and future security services for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will be provided by contractors. In addition to absorbing the net additional cost of the operation for 2011–12, Defence will also return to Government previous funding of $3.1 million provided for Operation Kruger.[8]

Other measures

A total of $482 million of the expenditure on force protection measures announced in last year’s Budget will be allocated in 2011–12. This includes $126.4 million which has been reprogrammed from the 2010–11 allocation.[9]

The Government has undertaken to provide $19.9 million over four years from 2010–11 to improve internet access for ADF personnel deployed on operations. Some $2.5 million of this will be met from within existing Defence resources.[10]

[1].       Australian Government, Portfolio budget statements 2011–12: Budget related paper no. 1.5A: Defence Portfolio, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2011, p. 32, viewed 16 May 2011,

[2].       Australian Government, Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2011–12, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2011, p. 128, viewed 13 May 2011,

[3].       Ibid,  p. 126.

[4].       Portfolio budget statements 2011–12, Defence Portfolio, op. cit., pp. 29 & 32.

[5].     Ibid, p.33; and S Smith (Minister for Defence), Australia—East Timor defence engagement, media release, 15 April 2011, viewed 20 May 2011,

[6].       Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2011–12, op. cit., p. 129.

[7].       Ibid., p. 126.

[8].       Portfolio budget statements 2011–12, Defence Portfolio, op. cit., p. 30.

[9].       Ibid., p. 32.

[10].     Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2011–12, op. cit., p. 127.