Possible Army Regiment Disbandment Stirs Speculation in Australia
Recent tweets from Fergus McLachlan, the former Major General of the Australian Army, have reignited rumours concerning the potential dissolution of the 7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (7RAR), and the 1st Armoured Regiment. The speculated reason is that recruitment challenges have left many units “understaffed”.
There’s talk that these units could merge into other formations. Specifically, 7RAR might be merged with 5RAR, forming the combined 5/7RAR in Darwin. Similarly, there’s a possibility that the 1st Armoured Regiment could be integrated into the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, based in Townsville.
“Veteran circles are abuzz with the idea that 7RAR might be shuttered, following the Army’s Defence Strategic Review,” commented Major-General McLachlan. While he noted that this might not be Canberra’s headline news today, he seemed concerned. “In an army with only a few battalions, I hope these whispers are off-mark. Maybe we should consider cutting down on some headquarters instead?”
Responding to the speculation, Michael Shoebridge, the Director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, pointed at the burgeoning upper echelons of the Australian Defence Force (ADF). “Our military is small, but the top is growing,” Mr. Shoebridge noted. He raised concerns about the rapid increase in senior ADF and Defence civilian roles, suggesting they’re consuming disproportionate resources, thereby complicating Defence leadership and management.
Furthermore, unnamed sources cited by the ABC have attributed the current situation to recruitment struggles, resulting in many units being under strength.
As anticipation grows, the Defence community awaits an official statement from Defence Minister Richard Marles regarding the Army’s restructure.