Chief of the Defence Force Christmas Message

Published on ACM Mark Binskin (author)

Location(s): Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, during Operation FIJI ASSIST 2016. (photo: ABIS Chris Beerens)
Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, during Operation FIJI ASSIST 2016.

Chief of Defence Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin gives his best wishes for the season.
"As 2016 draws to a close, I would like to thank you for your efforts over the past year. Whether on operations, exercises or in support of these tasks, the work you do contributes to the Australian Defence Force’s overall capability.
I understand, at times, working hard behind the scenes in training or supporting roles may seem like a thankless duty, but I recognise the critical work being done across the organisation to ensure the Australian Defence Force is well prepared, ready and responsive to achieve our missions.
Our operational tempo peaked early this year after the deadly Tropical Cyclone Winston struck Fiji in February. At its height, about 1000 personnel were deployed to Fiji, and many more were supporting our operations from Australia, making Operation Fiji Assist one of the Australian Defence Force's largest humanitarian assistance missions.
It also highlighted what the Australian Defence Force can achieve when we operate as an integrated joint force, working with local authorities and residents.
It also demonstrated our ability to deploy a range of high-end capabilities at short notice without reducing the rate of effort to our continuing operations.
Our enduring contribution in Afghanistan continued to provide valuable training and advice across all operational levels throughout 2016, while Operation OKRA reached a significant milestone this year with the combined Australian-New Zealand Task Group Taji training more than 14,000 regular Iraqi Army personnel.
Over the same period, Navy has seized and destroyed almost $2 billion of illegal narcotics under Operation MANITOU, while Air Force recently recommenced Operation SOUTHERN DISCOVERY, providing heavy-lift and logistic support to Australia’s Antarctic mission.
The Australian Defence Force has also contributed to multinational and United Nations missions in challenging conditions across the broader Middle East, as well as South Sudan, and we have not let our guard down on our domestic border protection mission.
In parallel to our operational obligations this year, we have also maintained our commitment to the welfare of our people, in particular through the continued improvement in mental health care and continuing research.

This work will continue into 2017 and beyond as we seek to understand better and meet the needs of those who require our support.
For some people, the anxiety of moving to a new location or unit can feel daunting, so I encourage anyone who feels they need extra support at this time of year to please reach out and ask for it.
Finally, I would like to acknowledge and thank our Defence families. Their support makes the demands of service more manageable and allows us to undertake the important work we do at home and abroad.
Wherever you are this holiday season, I wish you and your family a safe and happy festive season.
Thank you for your contribution in 2016.
I look forward to what the new year has in store."