Australia looking for a few good U.S. troops
Australian Navy and Army troops perform during an a 2011 airshow in Geelong, Australia.
May 8th, 2012
07:40 AM ET

Australia looking for a few good U.S. troops

Prospective U.S. military recruits have long been told "Uncle Sam wants you!"

Well, Stars and Stripes reports Tuesday that Australia wants you even more and is willing to pay for it.

"The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) welcomes enquiries from both officers and sailors who are interested in a new career and new life in Australia," the Australian Navy's website says.

The U.S. ally down under is seeking everything from submariners to doctors at ranks from enlisted to officers in all branches of its services and salaries can be substantially higher, according to the Stars and Stripes report.

A staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force with six years of service makes $31,946 while a corporal in the Royal Australian Air Force makes  $57,277 in U.S. dollars, Stripes reports. The difference is pay for an officer is less, but Australia still comes out on top, with a U.S. Air Force captain earning $63,263 and the Australian equivalent, a flight lieutentant, making $66,417 in U.S. dollars.

Stripes points out that Australia's economy, boosted by Chinese demand for its mineral exports, is in better shape than many other areas of the world.

Australia is seeking experienced applicants only and has a program in place to grant permanent residency to foreign passport holders.

Australia has signed on about 500 foreigners from the U.S., Canada, Britain and New Zealand in the past five years, according to the report.

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Filed under: Australia • Military
soundoff (337 Responses)
  1. Jade

    This also does not sit well with me either. I'm Australian, and I there's no chance that Australia would ever go to war with the US, that alliance is never going to break. But what about other countries? What would it take for eg China to approach and pay someone say from the Navy who has just been let go. Is someone tracking them? I doubt it... No-one seems to be worried from the US Government about these 500 or so...

    May 8, 2012 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Higaran

      There is no way to argue that a soldier should not be allowed to seek employment with another nation! Major corporations are allowed to sell off American made technology to foreign countries, so why can not a solider sell off his or her own assets for profit? The rules need to be changed globally to justify your point of view!

      May 8, 2012 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Vinny

      You don't know Chinese. Chinese will never hire foreigners for government and military work. They don't even trust their own.

      May 8, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • latuya83

      There's over a billion Chinese. I think they have the man power part taken care of.

      May 8, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Earnán M

      Manuel: service commitment has been 8 years since sometime in the late '80s. Source: retiired Army NCO who first enlisted when it was 6 and saw it switch to 8...

      May 9, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • tom

      What exactly didn't sit well with you? The article or someones post? Who said anything about a war between the U.S. and Australia?

      May 9, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. 99sparky

    For unhanon
    On the enlisted side, when you enlist it is for a total of 8 years, regardless of how long your active portion is. Your inactive reserve commitment after discharge would depend upon how long you were active duty. The total between the 2 (active and inactive reserve) is 8 years. So, if you enlisted and served for 4 years, your inactive reserve commitment would be for 4 years. 6 active gets you 2 inactive reserve. Also, inactive reserve means that you don't belong to a reserve unit and don't report/train on a monthly basis but are subject to activation. Finally, this only applies to an individual's 1st 8 years. If they serve more than 8 years acitve then they don't have any further commitment after discharge. For commissioned officers – no idea...

    May 8, 2012 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Manuel J.

      Sorry sparky. Your numbers are off, at least from a U.S. Army perspective. The total enlisted time, active and inactive, is 6 years.

      As for officers, it depends on how you went in. For example, if you went to one of the Academies, you are obligated to serve more time.

      U.S. Army Vet

      May 8, 2012 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  3. bobcat (in a hat) ©

    A middle aged woman has a heart attack and is taken to the hospital. While on the operating table she has a near death experience. During that experience she sees God and asks if this is it.

    God says no and explains that she has another 30 years to live. Upon her recovery she decides to just stay in the hospital and have a face lift, liposuction, breast augmentation, tummy tuck, etc.

    She even has someone come in and change her hair color. She figures since she's got another 30 years she might as well make the most of it. She walks out of the hospital after the last operation and is killed by an ambulance.

    She arrives in front of God and complains: "I thought you said I had another 30 years!!

    God replies, "Sorry, I didn't recognize you."

    May 8, 2012 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©


      May 8, 2012 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
    • bobcat (in a hat) ©

      I agree, but I haven't woke up good yet.

      May 8, 2012 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  4. Everett Wallace

    Will you pay these potential applicants debts off and provide protection for them and their families, paid health care and dental, if you got it like that then have at it.

    May 8, 2012 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
  5. Tebojockey

    So how do they overcome the label of "mercenary?" Under US law, if you fight or serve in the armed forces of another country, you lose your US citizenship and can be prosecuted. Apparently, this does not apply to the IDF or the Foreign Legion, but I wonder how this would work here? Are there any legal experts out there who could clarify this? Seems like an interesting opportunity.

    May 8, 2012 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
    • cedaly1968

      I think the US law you are referring to is if a soldier fights for a foreign country AGAINST the United States. There are plenty of incidences in the past where Americans fought with other armies (e.g. WWI and WWII) to defend other nations who were/are our allies. I think one point that is glossed over is that Australia is offering citizenship to these servicemen and women. I am curious if they will hold dual citizenship. I am not particularly worried, but interested that Australia cannot field their own experienced soldiers.

      May 8, 2012 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Texas Crazy Man

      No, they just give up their American Citizenship and take Australia Citizenship and get on with their lives. Maybe this is a lesson for America, let all the Immigrants that you let into our Country every hour with full benefits prove this by doing some MANDATORY time in the Military proving your love for your new Country. OH, I AM SORRY, THEY SPEAK NO ENGLISH AND PLAN TO NEVER LEARN, they just want all the bennies with no obligation to NOTHING!!!!!!

      May 8, 2012 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • jrh0

      Negative. Fighting for another country CAN be cause for the US to take revoke your citizenship, however it would almost never happen. Supreme court rulings have upheld the opinion that an American must willingly and deliberately take an act to give up his citizenship. The argument made was that serving for another nation satisfies this, and the SC said no. At this point, you basically have to declare your desire to renounce citizenship. Otherwise, it is assumed that you intend to keep it.

      EX: Many Americans with Israeli blood and dual citizenship go home and serve Israeli military time in order to preserve their status.

      May 11, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. 0k1d00k13

    Interesting, so the US spends millions to train them and then they go to Australia (where the cost of living is higher) to make a few more bucks.

    May 8, 2012 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
    • cedaly1968

      Interesting, they go to war, are wounded, watch their friends be murdered or maimed, sacrifice time from their families and friends, and return to find out their job has been eliminated or sent overseas. There homes get foreclosed on, the ratio of homelessness among veterans is 10x to the US population. We wave our flags and tell them we love them but don't want to pay higher taxes to cover the long-term care associated with disabilities both mental and physical. They go to war to defend our freedoms and our way of life and many come home to find a thank you note and a pink slip. I don't blame them for seeking other opportunities, would you?

      May 8, 2012 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Jason Glugla

      The cost of living in Australia is a little higher and the pay is alot higher. When you consider that in Australia you have a real system of medical care while in the States, if you get sick there is a very good chance you will be financially destroyed. There really is no comparison.

      May 8, 2012 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  7. John T.

    Where were these guys in '08 when I wanted back in the U.S. military and I couldn't because I was too old?

    May 8, 2012 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
    • NZscientist

      John T, perhaps you should look at emigrating to Australia anyway. The government is actively looking to grant residency to citizens of other countries, including the US, who have skill sets needed for the economy. All tradesmen, health care professionals, teachers are welcomed with open arms. Or perhaps your skills acquired in the military would enable a job in the mining sector, which is booming now and is predicted to expand exponentially in the next few years.Even minimum wage is near on AUD30,000 per anum (or about USD32,000).

      May 8, 2012 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
  8. JerseyJeff

    This actually isn't a very new idea, it is a milder version of the French Foreign Legion. The biggest difference is that Australia is looking for Americans exclusively, which makes sense. We're both share a history of being former British colonies and have a similiar basis of culture. I wonder how well it will work out for Australia.

    May 8, 2012 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      I tried to do this before, they take Americans, Candadians, and any commonwealth country.

      May 8, 2012 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  9. Texas Crazy Man

    Australia is a most beautiful Country and the women are fine with the ratio between the women and men at 10 females to 1 male. This would be a great move. I find it interesting that other Countries are willing to compete for American Military Personnel and pay them better than the U.S. who keeps knocking down the benefits of our Military. If I wasn't 110 yrs. old I would be gone to Australia having a good ole time!!!

    May 8, 2012 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  10. William

    Send them Dick Cheney. He likes to play war all the time.

    May 8, 2012 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  11. Joe

    I tried to do this about a year ago, they were pretty much only taking people with submarine service or Medical Officers, I figured as a CTI (Arabic, Dari) I'd be a shoe in but nope.

    May 8, 2012 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  12. Coexist2011

    The report is flawed and fails to analyze the true disparities in pay which lies in the benefits package. An Air Force Captain actually makes about $98,000 in the DC area when you add the tax-free housing and feeding allowances. What about the health and retirement benefits? Can we juxtapose those as well? Plus Australia can never pay you the equivalent of fighting for your own country so I'm highly doubting that this holds much water.

    May 8, 2012 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Their government provides free health care, the real disparity is the cost of living, everything is very expensive over there (bottle of poweraid 4 dollars) the pay is probably pretty similar once you factor that in.

      May 8, 2012 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Tony

      The report also fails to mention the exorbitant difference in costs of living between the two countries.

      May 11, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Me

    A staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force with six years of service only makes $31,946 ?? It's a miracle they can get anyone to join..

    May 8, 2012 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      That number is a little misleading, its their basepay. Its not including BAH which varies depending where you live but in Southeast Virginia would be 1200-1400 hundred a month depending on where you live, and BAS which is currently 343. Both of which are tax free. The real figure would be close to 50,000.

      May 8, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • glj

      Agree. I did 13 years and finally called it quits as an E5, was more concerned with education than I was about getting promoted. It was good experience but it put me behind the 8-ball on my retirement plan. If I had it to do over, I MIGHT have done 4 years and left the service.

      May 8, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • jrh0

      That is only base salary though. It doesn't account for housing allowance (they either give you a house on base or pay a standard cost of rent, utilities and food for your area). IT also doesn't account for medical, insurance, etc.
      When I was a SSgt my base pay was probably around 30+ but add in housing and I was probably closer to 50's or 60's.

      May 11, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  14. saywhat

    Sure, these two Australians don't seem to look too happy about what's been going on in Iraq & Afghanistan,right mate?
    Good morning all.

    May 8, 2012 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  15. How about 10 thousand men

    As we downsize, I would think Australia could find 10 thousand good men from the US if they wanted.

    May 8, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
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