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Army June 23, 2011
By Nadia Osman and
ADF MEMBERS participating in Project
LASERR can expect the next round of
surveys to appear in their inboxes and let-
Project LASERR (Longitudinal ADF
Study Evaluating Retention and Resilience)
involves two studies examining mental
health and retention issues for ADF mem-
The project is segmented into two
streams. The first stream (Project LASER-
Retention) involves gathering feedback
from participants on their conditions of ser-
vice and job satisfaction as well as gauging
their intent to continue serving or leave the
ADF. The second stream (Project LASER-
Resilience) investigates members' mental
health and psychological resilience.
The chief investigator on Project
LASER-Retention, Lt-Col Emma Little,
said as Defence was such a large organisa-
tion, it was sometimes difficult for indi-
viduals to have their say on how it operated.
"These surveys ask important questions
about why members choose to stay in or
leave their service. It's important for policy
makers to be acutely aware of issues that
affect members' decisions," she said.
"It's only through members telling us
something could be done better that we get
the opportunity to improve on it. It is also
good to know what Defence is doing well."
All personnel who enlist in the ADF
are given the opportunity to participate in
The study requires participants to com-
plete surveys at various points in their
careers during the first four years of their
military service. This allows researchers to
determine factors that cause dissatisfaction
with the ADF and factors that promote psy-
chological resilience in personnel.
Directorate of Mental Health Clinical
Programs and Standards research fellow
Monique Crane, a Chief Investigator for
Project LASERR, said it was important to
discover what factors influenced the men-
tal health of ADF personnel so Defence
could proactively prevent mental illness and
adequately care for its members.
"A range of factors may assist military
personnel to 'bounce back' from potentially
traumatic or difficult events during their
careers," Dr Crane said.
"The best thing participants can do is
respond to the surveys in an open and hon-
est way so we can determine what service
and training Defence can provide."
Data collected from these surveys will
be used to aid the development of psycho-
logical resilience training programs.
"Continued participation in the studies
will make a huge contribution to the devel-
opment of mental health policy and psycho-
logical resilience training," Dr Crane said.
"By taking the time to complete the sur-
veys, participants will not only assist exist-
ing personnel, but future members too."
By Cfn Max Bree
LOCAL unit commanders
are now authorised to provide
emergency civil assistance for
up to 48 hours.
Recent changes to Defence
Assistance to the Civil
Community (DACC) category
authorisations where unit com-
manders may provide support
from their own resources in local
emergency situations, extends
the duration of assistance from
24 to 48 hours.
Maj David Armit, Joint
Operations Support Staff
(JOSS) NSW, said the changes
were implemented after a
review of lessons from recent
DACC callouts to floods in south
east-Queensland and the NSW
cities of Wagga Wagga and
Under the old rules, prepara-
tion and transiting may have left
units with little time to help com-
munities before the 24-hour limit
was reached, Maj Armit said.
A Defgram, released on
May 5, outlined the changes to
DACC Category One -- local
ting Defence resources under
Category One are required
to inform their service HQ,
HQJOC Joint Control Centre
and the regional JOSS.
DACC Category One emer-
gency callouts may also be
authorised by senior ADF offic-
ers or administrators.
Defgram (270/2011) expires
on August 5, but changes to
DACC Category One will be
finalised in DI(G)35-1, due for
release this year.
Emergency assistance options
expanded in response to floods
Tested: Changes to the DACC authorisations have been made based on experience in recent
Photo by Leut-Cmdr Fenn Kemp
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