January 20, 2010: The Australian Navy and Air Force are having a problem with morale, since they adopted the same "no-alcohol" policy (in the combat zone) that the army has long had. At least in the Middle East (where many of the locals indulge, even though Moslems are not supposed to.) Previously, the navy and air force allowed troops in combat zones to have two cans of beer a day, if available, and the local commander was in the mood to approve.
But the new "dry" policy has caused problems, because in coalition situations, most allied troops are still allowed to drink. As a result, Australian sailors and airmen are eager to visit their allies, to get a drink or two. But that is not always possible, especially for ships at sea.
Many sailors and airmen drink to excess when they do get some leave, and access to alcohol. This has caused some problems, but, so far, the brass are not backing off on their no-alcohol policy for everyone.
They are probably encouraged by the U.S. experience, where the U.S. Navy went dry (at sea) in 1914, and all services banned alcohol ashore, in combat zones, in the 1990s. There have been some exceptions, and even the navy has, in some circumstances, allowed sailors "two cans of beer" while at sea. The army and air force have done the same thing in the combat zone, but rarely. At least that gives the troops hope. It's what the Oz troopers are looking for.