Note: This is part of a series. You can read part one and part two here.

My argument ultimately boils down to two points: First, there is a very real threat that Australian Defence Force members face today, and second, it’s a fact that they can do nothing about it. It highlights how dangerously exposed they are due to specific legislation which is benefiting no one except criminals and would-be terrorists. The government is delusional if it thinks that it alone is going to be able to protect every single one of its citizens at all times. The Sydney Siege is a perfect example. Their Band-Aid solution so far has revolved around simply issuing memorandums to their service personnel in order to keep them safe.

While these certainly fit into an effective risk-management strategy, it would only ever form one layer of a comprehensive, defence-in-depth approach to force protection. The defence-in-depth principle represents a systematic, highly integrated approach to the physical security of people and assets. Like layers of an onion, mitigation strategies such as Facebook restrictions should only form part of an overall protection strategy; it should not be the only strategy. The entire concept of defence-in-depth rests on the notion that a shortfall in one protection layer will not lead to a wider, more serious failure in the entire system.

If, however, an attacker manages to defeat a military personnel’s softer measures—such as Facebook restrictions—and confronts them at their place of work, their home, at the shops, or anywhere for that matter, how effective is a memo going to be in protecting that individual? If that military personnel did everything they could to minimise their public profile as a current or former member of the ADF, but were still faced with an impending act of violence, what at that given point is going to protect them? I don’t think I need to spell it out.

Take two recent examples of security breaches in Defence establishments. On 14 March, a former professional football player turned degenerate drug user scaled two fences and was found in what is apparently one of the most secure Australian Defence Force sites in the country. Ben Cousins had infiltrated the Special Air Service Regiment’s base at Swanbourne Barracks and was later found by guards allegedly sitting in a Defence vehicle. Similarly, on 8 October last year, eight anti-war protestors from a group known as the Swan Island Peace Convergence broke into the highly sensitive Swan Island military base. The group claimed that it was there to “nonviolently disrupt preparations for [Australia’s] imminent war in Iraq.”

These two bases are undoubtedly considered the country’s most secure, yet both were easily penetrated by a drug addict on a week-long bender and a bunch of left-wing deadbeats. God forbid anyone with a malicious agenda ever try and infiltrate our bases. Not only would they apparently have an easy time in achieving this, but once inside, they’d undoubtedly find a large number of unarmed and defenceless military personnel.

It is a sad state of affairs to admit that we are living in a time where our soldiers, sailors, and airmen cannot comfortably wear their uniforms in the country that they have volunteered to serve and protect. It is also unacceptable that they cannot proudly and safely showcase their service on their social media accounts if they choose to do so. But sadly, these are the times we are living in. Rather than issuing memorandums and hot tips on how to hide their profession, the Australian government needs to get serious with the measures available for its service personnel to protect themselves.

As disgraceful as this is, it is just as disgraceful that the government fails to afford us a legal avenue to protect ourselves domestically from the threats posed by groups like IS and their sympathisers. They are happy to send us overseas to further their national interests and, if need be, die in the course of doing so, but the minute we get home, we are stripped of all means of protecting ourselves from people who are targeting us because of the very nature of our employment.