Dubbed Project Greyfin, the first stage of the defense spending plan will see roughly $500 million forked over to cover the costs of improved equipment and training for Australia’s eight special forces units. According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the initial funding will specifically go to bulking up weapons, body armor and training and giving troops both cutting-edge parachuting and climbing systems.
Expected to be disbursed over a four-year period, the first stage of the funding will also be going to medical search and rescue and communications functions.
“[This is] the biggest single commitment to upgrading the capability of our defense forces since the Second World War,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters during a tour of the Sydney-based Holsworthy Barracks.
“This is about ensuring our special forces continue to be on the leading edge of capability, because the threats are always there, and challenges are always there … whatever calls are made on Australia and wherever we are asked to turn out or, indeed, where we are taking the lead, we need to make sure our forces are in a position to do so.”
Canberra's latest push to increase its defense spending comes years after the Australian Department of Defense’s 2016 White Paper noted the government’s need to shell out more to strengthen its forces. Additionally, the move comes as the Australian government seeks to make good on its commitment to spend 2% of its gross domestic product on defense by the end of fiscal year 2021.