Public enemy down under

Aussies to recruit special forces from the public


Australia has launched a public recruitment drive for elite commandos and special forces troops to help it in the war on terror.

This marks a break with tradition in the recruitment of special forces, which has tended to be done through defence ranks rather than by advertising jobs to the public. The Australian government opened up more than 300 commando posts earlier this year.

Recruits will be between 19 and 30 and will undergo accelerated training. Those who are successful could be on the front line as elite troops within 18 months, according to Major General Duncan Lewis, who is leading the recruitment drive.

Commandos parachuted into Sydney Harbour last week to publicise the campaign. Lewis hopes that between one-quarter and one-third of the vacancies will be filled by recruiting directly from the community.