Huge rebuilding job for Gen Augwi

Letters, Normal

I WOULD like to congratulate Francis Augwi on his recent appointment as the new PNGDF commander. 
The former intelligence boss is now faced with a huge task.
His appointment could not have come at a better time when council members have been spending big and extravagantly, giving the impression that the force has a lot of spare money to waste.
The new one-star general will have to take over a grossly underfunded, undermanned and demoralized force and reshape it for the future. 
This is one of the most trying times for this once proud national icon as defence and national security of PNG is not a top priority of the Government. 
The present political regime has, unfortunately, shown its ignorance and apathy about improving PNG’s national security for a long time. 
I just hope Waigani will make the new general’s role easier before the next elections in 2012. 
This is an opportune time to change this mindset. 
I have confidence in Gen Augwi in his new role to see some good basic changes made to a force that needs a better deal.
The new commander will no doubt have his hands full to whip the present military into top shape and form. 
This can be done if the new general resists the temptations of his predecessors in taking too many unnecessary overseas trips and with a completely no-nonsense command team.
A new good command team is an absolute must. 
It will ensure the commander’s intent and mission is not compromised and carried out without fear or favour by fully committed, dedicated officers and subordinates. 
This is the only way to make the PNGDF really work to the expectations of the whole country. 
I urge the new commander to constantly remind the minister, the PNGDF council and the NEC that the force is not a mere “paper tiger” but a force to be reckoned with. 
The time for the Mr Nice Guy role is over and the commander must take tough actions to ensure the PNGDF does its job first entrusted to it at Independence.
Gen Augwi must tell the Government and bureaucracy to “put up or shut up”. 
The Government has two choices to make – give the PNGDF what it needs now or scrap it. 
The least the Government can do is sack Gen Augwi, but the NEC does not have the guts to do it without risking the full wrath of the public.
Please make full use of the expertise of former PNGDF executives with credibility to get the force put up a compelling case for the Government so it is not treated with mere “lip-service”. 
As recently discussed, I am willing to assist and offer the required guidance and support needed by the new command team with the future aim of making the force a better team in the national interest.
Finally, I urge all officers and troops (sailors, soldiers and airmen) to get behind the new commander and make the PNGDF do its job well for the benefit of our people and country.– Reginald Renagi Port Moresby