Link: Pacific Islands Report
Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Plans Announced To Increase PNG Military Personnel
Former commander doubts PNG can support buildup

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Feb. 13, 2013) – Papua New Guinea's government says it plans to build the country's military up to five times its current strength.

The Defence Minister, Dr. Fabian Pok, has told the PNG parliament that defense force personnel will be increased from the current 1,900 to 10,000.

Dr. Pok says the government has approved the purchase of new weapons, aircraft and patrol vessels.

Former Papua New Guinea Defence Force commander, General Jerry Singirok, has told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat program that while he supports the defense build up, he doubts the government can support such a large increase in personnel.

General Singirok says more than 2,000 retrenched soldiers are currently awaiting repatriation by the government.

He says the government has not provided any budget guarantees to prioritize the defense force.

"The government has not produced a white paper or national security policy that will justify the increase of the defense force," he said. "I'm not so confident that the increase in the defence force will solve a lot of these in-house issues."

General Singirok says that PNG has unique security concerns as it's the only nation in the region that shares a border with another country.

He believes an increase in defense capabilities would ensure PNG's security.

Radio Australia:
Copyright 2013 Radio Australia. All Rights Reserved

Go back to Pacific Islands Report