Australia has strengthened the command and control arrangements for the Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) in a bid to prepare the elite military unit for upcoming challenges.

The SASR is a special forces unit in the Australian Army and forms an integral part of the Special Operations Command.

The unit will now be led by a Colonel (O6) instead of a Lieutenant Colonel (O5). The elevation will help in ensuring ‘sufficient capacity and appropriate oversight for the complex missions’ that SASR is expected to perform in the future.

Minister for Defence Peter Dutton said: “Command of the SASR unit will be elevated to a Colonel, and, where appropriate, increase the qualifications and experience of those who oversee sensitive operations.

“This is a critical reform to prepare the SASR for future conflict, getting them back to basics and focused on the challenges ahead.

“We have seen the skill and acts of bravery of the SAS in just the last week from the work that they have done in Afghanistan. Those men and women who serve in the SAS are an incredible asset to our country.”

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Additionally, the overhaul will lead to an increase in the qualifications and experience of those who oversee sensitive operations.

Assistant Minister for Defence Andrew Hastie said: “These are important and historic changes that will ensure the Regiment’s leadership is mature, experienced and better qualified to command sensitive strategic missions.

“This is a new era for the SASR: making it stronger and ready for the challenges ahead.”

The SASR was established as a regiment in 1964, taking up the baton from its predecessor, the First Special Air Service Company. The unit’s services include counter-terrorism and special operations.

Recently, the Australian Government announced new grant funding to boost the export capabilities of six local businesses.