Transporting troops to Australia from other countries to assist the Australian Defence Force is the biggest challenge the government faces.
But it is also one that the Defence Force can tackle.
Defence Minister Chris Evans has pledged to make the process of moving troops to the Australian mainland as smooth as possible.
“The main challenge is the cost,” he said.
“If we can achieve the cost, then we’ll have more of a capability to get troops to where they need to be.”
The Department of Defence has been working on a plan for a rail and road system that would transport troops and equipment to and fro across Australia.
The plan is to put a rail network in place and be ready for deployment by 2020, Mr Evans said.
He said the rail system could be built by 2022 and be fully operational by 2021.
It would take the army, navy, air force and coastguard around 10 years to build the system, he said, adding that the first phase would be complete in 2024.
There is a huge demand for the military to transport the troops from overseas to Australia, he added.
He said the Defence Forces would have to be able to meet that demand.
Mr Evans said the cost of moving forces to Australia is $200 million.
He also said the military would have “a huge amount of autonomy” over how the troops would be housed, as well as the equipment they would use.
“That’s a huge amount, and that’s something we’ll take into account when we make our decisions on where we’re going to send troops,” he told ABC Radio National.
Australian Defence Force commander Colonel Paul Macdonald said the Army has been developing the plan since the mid-2000s.
Col Macdonald, who is also a senior commander in the Defence Intelligence Organisation, said the plan would be “very much of a collaborative effort”.
“There is no single point of origin, so we’ll try and get the whole logistics package together and make sure we get it right,” he added, adding he would not be surprised if it took some time to finalise.
‘We need a secure place to stay’ Another challenge is maintaining the military’s presence in Australia.
There are currently around 200,000 personnel in Australia, most of whom are stationed in the Australian Capital Territory and other areas of the country.
A new defence minister will be elected on December 18, and will have the responsibility of determining the future of the military.
But there are also a number of other issues the government will be looking to resolve before the end of the year.
They include the future use of the Australian Navy’s ships and submarines, the military service’s role in overseas operations, and the future role of the Defence Signals Directorate, which will operate in foreign countries and will be responsible for protecting national security.
However, the Defence Department has made no official announcements regarding any of these issues.
In February, Defence Minister Mark Binskin announced that he would consider allowing the Australian military to operate on its own in Afghanistan, although he did not give a timeframe for the decision.
Last month, Defence Secretary James Brokenshire also confirmed he would be looking at whether the Australian defence force could operate on an air base in Qatar.
Speaking to the ABC, Mr Brokensville said he had already made an initial decision to allow the Australian Army to operate in the country, but added that there was no timetable for when that decision would be made.
As the Defence Minister, Mr Binskins duty is to ensure that the Australian armed forces maintain and enhance their capability to support the security of Australia, the international community and the international alliance, he explained.
I am not making any decision at this time, but I will make sure that our people are well trained and that our defence force is well prepared to protect Australia and the United States, he told the ABC.
Asked whether the decision would involve the Australian Armed Forces operating in the Middle East, he replied: “I think the decision is still on the table, I’m not going to say when, but it is still something that is something that we’ll look at.”
While it is a long way from Afghanistan, Mr Macdonald is confident that the decision will be made by the end at the earliest.
After the announcement that the Army would be moving to Qatar, Mr Bourke said the move would be welcomed by Qatar and its allies in the region.
Qatar has long maintained that the move to Qatar would be a positive development, and he said the decision was being welcomed by both the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
Senator Bourke also said he would like to see the Australian Government consider a possible sale of its naval assets to Qatar.