Response to media reporting on combat ration packs and the Army Chaplains badge
17 February 2016
Letter to the Editor - The Daily Telegraph
I am writing to you regarding the report by Mr Matthew Benns on Australian Defence Force (ADF) combat ration packs and the Army Chaplains badge on Wednesday, 17 February 2016.
Documents released under FOI outline a request from the Army for future combat ration packs to include a variety of menu options such as standard, vegetarian, halal and kosher meals.
Combat ration packs currently used by the ADF are not prepared to halal or kosher specifications. Items included come from a wide range of suppliers, some of which are halal or kosher certified manufacturers.
Combat ration packs are not about political correctness. Combat ration packs are about our people.
The ADF carefully researches the composition of combat ration packs to ensure they are nutritionally appropriate for the work our people do. The reason for this is very simple; sailors, soldiers, airmen and women think and fight better if well fed.
It is important our combat ration pack menus cater for a variety of tastes, including the food, social and religious preferences of ADF members, now and into the future. Thirty days eating the same meal is demoralising; I know.
Further, ADF combat ration packs are designed to align with NATO and coalition interoperability requirements. The Army’s request for standard, vegetarian, halal and kosher menu options will improve our ability to work with coalition partners on operations and exercises.
Our soldiers can also be more effective if they are able to share food with local communities, or in circumstances of natural disaster, feed affected residents. Importantly, this offers an opportunity to build rapport and friendship with those whom we are working to assist.
The proportion of combat rations specifically manufactured to meet religious considerations will vary subject to the ADF’s demography and our operating environment. The suggestion that one third has to be halal certified is incorrect.
Finally, the suggestion that the badge of the Australian Army Chaplains has been changed because of an association with the Crusades is false and misleading. Defence has previously corrected reporting on this matter. I refer you to the following link for further information: http://news.defence.gov.au/2015/11/30/response-to-media-reporting-regarding-army-chaplaincy-badge/
Lieutenant General Angus J Campbell, DSC, AM
Chief of the Australian Army