Confronting lasers with gender diversity

Last week, two Chinese naval ships sailed through the Arafura Sea and the Torres Strait. While in Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone they attacked a Royal Australian Air Force reconnaissance aircraft with a laser.

The Chinese military is not scared of us.

I wonder why?

Don’t worry though. We’ve got bigger issues covered.

Both within military think tanks and the Australian Defence Force itself, brighter minds than mine are feverishly pondering gender. And the need for Australia to join Libya and Mexico in implementing a feminist foreign policy. And the pronouns necessary to ensure that the military is a safe space for our intersex and transgender warriors.

For a start, the Australian Defence Force has given up on gonads. It’s replacing them with GENADs. Yes, we now train and deploy gender advisors.

The Australian Defence College runs eight day courses on this stuff. The goal:

“…enhancing operational effectiveness through the application of a gender perspective across the spectrum of operations.

A gender perspective examines the effect of gender on people’s opportunities, social roles and interactions.”

GENADs got their first run in Afghanistan.

And, I’m sure, the rout from Kabul was totally enhanced by implementing a gender perspective throughout the operational planning of this panicked retreat.

At least we can say it seems that only non-female persons fell from military aircraft leaving the joint as fast they could. It would have been far worse if the US-led Coalition didn’t have a complete gender picture of the unfolding catastrophe.

This success should have been replicated off Australia’s top end last week. If only a GENAD was deployed we’d know by now what pronouns we should use to describe a laser. And, of course, a GENAD is a perfect countermeasure to the patriarchal aggression and toxic masculinity displayed by the Chinese navy.

Alas, our gender-focused military can’t waste time deploying these precious resources to a minor problem like the Chinese navy sailing off our coast. It’s focused on targeting the greater enemy within.

And that enemy would be ignorance.

There is nothing worse for morale than ‘misgendering’ your intersex or transgender commander who is also suffering suicidal ideation.

Sadly, no one really has any understanding of what is not offensive in this space. Delve into this question and you could find yourself eternally mining a bottomless pit.

But gender diversity brings a new military capability that must be unlocked if it is to be safely unleashed on the battlefield. This modern wonder weapon is kind of like a nuke but with far more scope for collateral damage and toxic fallout. It must be wielded with extreme care, lest all that pent up anger take out half our own front line.

Fortunately, the Australian Defence Force is busily beavering away to solve this problem.

The Cove is a website set up by the Australian Army as a ‘Professional Military Education Network’.

These words are currently on that website:

To be honest, if I met a higher-ranking officer who was gender neutral, I am not sure how I would address them. This admission makes me feel like a relative dinosaur, and to my knowledge is not covered in mandatory training. This admission of ignorance and omission of knowledge has led me to conduct some research. I may be wrong; however, I have not been trained during mandatory training on how to address individuals who are intersex. I am aware of pronouns in broader society such as they/them instead of him/her; however, if I was to meet an individual of a higher rank, I would not know how to address them. Transgender individuals have a rank and a gender which conforms to what is already known by individuals within in the military and adhered to.

And so are these words:

The ADF is evolving and is reflective of society. As mentioned, although I am in my early 40’s, I do feel like a relative dinosaur and want to know more. Should this be included in annual mandatory training? I think it should be so the workplace could be more inclusive across ranks and services. I welcome any discussion and educational points so I can learn more and not be embarrassed by being caught out. I would like others to learn as well to ensure a cohesive operating environment.

Don’t want to be embarrassed? Too late dude.

An actual lieutenant colonel in the Royal Australian Infantry wrote those words. That’s the same Royal Australian Infantry that fought at Long Tan. Times have changed.

The Australian Army thought those words were so profound that they were published as part of its ‘professional development’ program for the entire world to see.

It also added this encouraging note:

During the editorial process of this article, The Cove Team engaged Army’s Gender Advisor and the RSM-Army. Advice on the topic of gender neutral forms of address is that discussions are occurring at the senior leadership level and those responsible for protocol. Currently no formal policy on this topic has been released. We’d love to hear from anyone who has found an agreeable, informal solution to this in the comments below.

Whew, forget lasers. This is the thorny issue that needs priority attention.

And is it really acceptable that over a decade after the Australian Defence Force accepted that ‘gender neutral’ was actually a thing no policy has yet been developed on gender neutral forms of address?

I think not.

This moral failure is probably a war crime. Better get the Inspector-General onto it.

But at least we can now understand why that laser was painted on our RAAF aircraft.

The Chinese chap in charge of it was probably just reading The Cove and laughed so hard that he lost all control of where the blinding red shiny beam was directed. It was just a momentary accident. But one that is perfectly explainable.

Our bad. We won’t post this stuff so often and everyone will be safer.

And, let’s face it, we’re in mortal danger here. If the guy in charge of nuclear weapons ever browses over to The Forge Australia could be vaporised.

The Forge is ‘an online hub designed to help build and hone the intellectual edge of those involved in the profession of arms’ and is delivered by the Australian Defence College. And it is honing our intellectual edge to take down the greatest threat of all: anti-feminist misinformation on Twitter.

This is currently published on The Edge:

Twitter Girl

Attention ladies! Did you hear?
You can be a musketeer!
Wear a beret, fight like men,
just be sure to hide your femme.

Fire a rifle, hump a pack,
steady girls prepare for flak.
Doesn’t matter what you do,
‘cause Twitter-sphere’s got a view.

Prove your worth and earn your place,
makes no diff’rence for the case.
Token female, yes that’s you,
cheap shots thrown, there are a few.

Comments on your braids and bun,
never mind you shoot a gun.
Clothes and makeup’s all they see,
breaking glass? I disagree!

‘In my day’ the old vets start,
their loaded views they impart.
Ignorant but bold as brass,
certain you are not their class.

If you fail now, they will say
‘this is proof, girls shouldn’t fray!’
Succeed? Again, vultures tweet
‘she must’ve found how to cheat’.

Should you fall, for country flag,
rest in peace,  in body bag,
‘Daughters!’ ‘Mothers!’ they’ll becry,
sacred vessels should not die.

Armchair generals, they’ll proclaim:
‘Feminism is to blame!’
You heard right girls, it is true,
war is not the place for you.

But my dear, hold this to heart,
you were born to serve the part!
Listen not to what they say,
you are not some Twitter prey.

Chins out ladies, you will see
ten years now, I guarantee,
those in doubt will find the truth,
you belong, your merit proof.

That is gold. Brought to you by a taxpayer-funded military website and penned by someone who is paid to keep our nation safe. She even got an award for it. Well done.

Yes. When World War Three breaks out we’ll fight it with Girl Power. And, thanks to The Forge, it’s guaranteed that, for the first time in history, Girl Power will win.

It’s scary. Our Defence thinking is shaped by people who, for real, act like the Wonder Woman movie is a documentary.

And they’re not content with merely picking the low hanging fruit like Twitter trolls or gender neutral terms of address. They are aiming high. Like, really high.

Australia, wait for it, could have a feminist foreign policy. How shiny!

So shiny that everyone’s now pushing for it:











Some of these articles were written by Defence personnel. Others were written by academics who train Defence personnel.

A feminist foreign policy is an idea now at the heart of the intellectual direction of the Australian Defence Force.

The Chief of Army scholarship is awarded for “research that broadly aligns with the Army Strategic Futures Agenda”.

And in 2020 it was awarded for research into gender and conflict. The recipient is totally onboard with the whole feminist foreign policy thing, writing in August 2021 that it would “strengthen Australia’s resilience, gaining influence through respect and equivalence with our regional Pacific partners.”

And this new strategic thinking is obviously working: Chinese warships are sailing off the Australian coast and targeting our aircraft. That’s got respect written all over it.

But if the stress of this new-found ‘respect’ all gets too much to handle, the Chief of Army’s scholar has some other helpful advice as well: just forgive yourself. It’s all part of ‘self-care’.


Here we go:

If you’re anything like me, you probably owe yourself an apology for all the years you spent denying yourself the same kindness and care you extend to others. Treat yourself with softness even when times get tough, and accept that you are a work in progress. This forgiveness is important when your inner voice makes you feel guilty for prioritising self-care. Accept that this feeling has come from years of social conditioning, then progress forward knowing that you can only thrive if you’re whole.

Our smartest military officers write this stuff.

I’m not so much into self-care.

I believe more in responsibility. And Australia should start exercising it. We will do so when we give up the delusion that Wonder Woman can deter China.

Our Defence Force needs to stop playing games with gender rubbish and our military officers need to stop blogging about bubble baths in a feminist echo-chamber and start focusing on actually defending the nation.

We’ll know that’s happened when Gender Advisors are gone and we can actually field a new ship, submarine, jet or helicopter in time for World War Three and man them with soldiers, sailors and airmen who have the patriarchal fortitude to defend Australia.

Author: Bernard Gaynor

Bernard Gaynor is a married father of nine children. He has a background in military intelligence, Arabic language and culture and is an outspoken advocate of conservative and family values.

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  1. it is with dismay I read all this Bernard. I thought Mr. Dutton had cleansed the ADF and it is now men and women in traditional male and female roles that work in our ADF. Of course there will be some gifted actual women who will fly planes, drive trucks and all that, and men who are extraordinary administrators etc., but generally the defence forces to be able to defend the country would need a solid base of men doing what males do best and women doing what women do best. Heaven forbid my comment, imagine the feed back. However, the human population grew and thrived on these innate attributes of the differences between male and female. and now we see the results of what happens when we don’t follow what proved to be the best way that men and women live and work. As men and as women. Not some hybrid, concocted distortion of imagination.

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  2. The bigger problem is wasted projects and no accountability. The French subs, The Canberra class ‘white elephant’ landing ships, the JSF and the list goes on. Unless there is serious leadership and serious reform about procurement, things are looking bleak. Even bleaker is to be utterly dependent on the US. Yes they are a good ally, but relying solely on allies is a recipe for disaster.

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  3. Don’t forget about D-RAP. Defence Reconciliation Action Plan.
    In May 2020, Deputy Chief of Navy (DC-N) issued Navy Directive 05/2020.
    That directive was in support of the Defence Reconciliation Action Plan (D-RAP) 2019-2022, launched on 14th August 2019.
    This covered the introduction of the Naval Indigenous Advisor (NAI) and listed all the individuals and Organisations which would be in place to assist him.
    DC-N’S directive was to “challenge entrenched ideas and identify barriers to successful Navy careers for Indigenous members”.
    The idea was to increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (ATSI) serving in the Navy.”
    The support consists of the following:
    1.Staff Officer Indigenous Affairs,
    2.ATSI Diversity Reference Group,
    3.Indigenous Cultural Advisory Group,
    4.Indigenous Performance Group,
    5.Regional Indigenous Development Officers,
    6.Defence Indigenous Liaison Officer Network.
    The are are also “courses” designed to assist ATSI people:
    1.Indigenous Pre-Recruit Programme,
    2.Indigenous Development Programme,
    3.Indigenous Graduate Programme.

    As at May 2020, we had 607 ATSI people serving, and, of that number, we had 46 ATSI Officers and 58 ATSI Senior Sailors.
    As at the end of January 2022, we had 494 ATSI people serving, and, of that number, we had 41 ATSI Officers and 53 ATSI Senior Sailors.
    The D-RAP had a target of 3% by 2022 ….. which they seem to have achieved, albeit even with a reduction of ATSI people. The D-RAP also has a target of 5% of ATSI people by 2025. The Defence Portfolio of the 2021-2022 Budget has a predicted Navy personnel target of 16,010 by 2025. We presently have 15,027. So 5% by 2025 seems to be an achievable target, but only if the ATSI attrition rate can be stopped.

    In 2020, I queried whether the numbers and cost would be worthwhile.
    That the numbers have dropped, tends to lend weight to my thoughts in 2020, and in any event, we are talking about a maximum of 800 people here. All that effort, all those organizations, all those meetings …… to achieve a target of 800.
    I consider a targeted advertising campaign would be more efficient and cost effective.
    I also wonder whether the Navy has successfully challenged entrenched ideas and identified barriers to successful careers for Indigenous members. Despite repeated requests to Defence, nobody has been able to advise me whether any “entrenched ideas” or “barriers to successful careers” have been identified. I presently have an email in the Minister for Defence Personnel’s inbox. Perhaps he can advise me.

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