US servicemen and women urged to join Australian military amid budget cuts
Source: The Sunday TelegraphCANBERRA -- American servicemen and women are being urged to join the Australian Defence Force (ADF) amid US military budget cuts.
The ADF is inviting former foreign military personnel to apply for jobs it claims cannot be filled by Australians.
The scheme is attracting huge interest overseas with officers tempted by the higher pay and the offer to pay moving costs.
Australian Army vacancies range from surveillance and artillery specialists to intelligence, while the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) wants officers and sailors with expertise in maritime warfare.
"The introduction of the three Hobart class Air Warfare Destroyers from 2014 also demand skill sets not currently available in the RAN, including AEGIS Weapons System experience," it said.
The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) wants overseas fighter pilots and qualified test pilots with fixed-wing multi-engine aircraft experience.
With the Obama administration proposing to cut more than US$450 billion and over 100,000 military personnel from the defense budget over the next decade, US military publications have seized on the ADF overseas recruitment offers.
The latest edition of Stars And Stripes highlighted the often improved pay rates Down Under.
The annual base pay for an E-5 staff sergeant with six years experience in America was US$31,946 compared with US$57,277 in Australia. An O-3 captain with six years experience earned US$63,263, compared with US$66,417 in the ADF, it said.
"Australia has had a booming economy for almost two decades due to rising commodity prices and strong Chinese demand for its mining products," it said.
An ADF spokesman said the transfer scheme was open to all countries.
"Overseas candidates bring skills and attributes to the Australian Defence Force that will strengthen its operation and success rate," he said. The army has hired 507 overseas recruits in the past four years while the RAAF has enlisted 107.
The spokesman said overseas recruits received the same pay as Australian officers along with relocation costs.