NATION Reform to unleash SAS on terrorists
AUSTRALIA’S elite troops will be able to kill terrorists sooner under a Turnbull Government plan to sharpen its response to domestic attacks.
Laws will be strengthened to make it easier for the Australian Defence Force’s Special Air Service Regiment ( SAS) to take over unfolding attacks from state counter- terrorism police.
Currently, SAS response to a possible terrorist attack on Australian soil is constrained under the Defence Act. State police have to say an attack has exceeded their capability.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Defence Minister Marise Payne will reveal the provision that limits state police from asking the ADF for support sooner will be removed. The Act will also be changed to make it easier for the ADF to lock down a city during an unfolding attack or shoot a terrorist.
The reforms will also allow the ADF to take control of an attack from the beginning.
The Australian SAS, which is deployed to war zones to kick down doors and kill combatants, have better weapons, better technology and expertise. There were reports in May of a British SAS sniper shooting dead an ISIS militant in Iraq from 2.4km away using a CheyTac M200, a manually operated, rotating bolt sniper rifle.
In Australia, the range for state police is about 400m, but when it comes to accuracy, it is generally a range of about 100m.
The Government overhaul has been sparked by a 2016 review of Defence’s support to national counter- terrorism arrangements but also mirrors recommendations made by NSW Coroner Michael Barnes’s coronial inquest into the Lindt cafe siege.
“It’s the first time Defence’s contribution to domestic counter- terrorism has been re- viewed since Turnbull said.
“It is essential that Australia evolves its responses and countermeasures in response to the changing threat.
“Defence must be able to contribute effectively to domestic counter- terrorism efforts, in addition to its offshore counter- terrorism missions and regional capacity- building activities.
“State and Territory police forces remain the best first response to terrorist incidents immediately after an attack starts.
“But Defence can offer more support to states and territories to enhance their capa- 2005,” Mr bilities and increase their understanding of Defence’s unique capabilities to ensure a comprehensive response to potential terrorist attacks.”
The changes still mean state police will be in charge of the majority of terror incidents, especially when there is an active shooter who has started killing people.
The ADF has never been called to respond to a terrorist incident, and during the deadly Lindt siege, ADF personnel said they were attending in an informal context. The army has two tactical assault groups in Sydney and Perth to rapidly deploy to domestic counterterrorism attacks.