The commander ofthPNG Defense Force saysthe army will need to identify its needs and put a proposal to government to build upthe capacity ofthe Lae based Engineering Bettalion.
Beigadier General Francis Agwi saysthe capacity building process will involve millions of kina andthe recruitment of more women engineers.
The Lae based engineering battalion a crucial part of nation building – has been very much for many years underutilized.
It is currently engaged in various projects inthe country, including a road that will linkthe Western highlands to Madang.
ThPNG Defence Force command in Port Moresby is now looking at process of rebuilding and revitalizingthe battalion.
“We are increasingly getting requests from organizations asking us to build roads but at this point in time we are looking at our capacity to be engaged in all our tasks…One ofthe biggest issues we have is manpower,” said Agwi.
Speaking to EMTV three months ago, Lae’s Area commander, Group Captain Peter Aimos saidthe battalion can do more ifthe government puts in resources to buildthe force.
The Defence force continues to face serious challenges.
Aging equipmentoand aging soldiers,the average age of non-commissioned ranks is 43, and about one quarter ofthe infantry personnel will reachthe compulsory retirement age by 2015.
The 2015 deadline has also putthPNGDF command under pressure to build upthe force.
Asthe defense force continues building towards a total strength of 10 thousand, its ongoing issues of discipline have come tothe fore in recent weeks.
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