Monday 17 Dec 2018 | 09:35 | SYDNEY

Australian Defence Force

Blog feature ends, challenges remain

Today The Interpreter concludes its discussion on Australia's Defence Challenges, a sponsored partnership with the Department of Defence aimed at supporting external engagement ahead of the 2013 Defence White Paper and related processes. Several months ago we established the aims of this blog 

What are we defending ourselves from?

James Goldrick's thoughtful response to my last post raises lots of important issues. Let me touch on two of them. First, James says that my argument for sea denial over sea control focuses too much on high-intensity conflicts and especially power projection in such conflicts.  James says we

To defend Australia, we must defend the sea

Hugh White and I have been debating the subject of sea control and sea denial. As part of that exchange, Hugh posed questions to me which were related to particular scenarios. The difficulty with postulating any scenario is that it can be treated as one of those 'Yes Minister' irregular verbs: your

Technology and 'irregular' land warfare

Ben Fitzgerald is Managing Director at Noetic Group. He is based in Washington, DC. With an impending White Paper and associated questions about Australia's future capability needs, it is worth spending a few moments thinking about the capabilities of our potential adversaries. More

Defence cuts based on dangerous assumptions

Jeffrey Grey is a Professor of History at the University of New South Wales, Canberra (ADFA), and foundation Director of the Australian Centre for the Study of Armed Conflict and Society. Democracies display a lamentable inclination to believe in 'peace dividends' and to retrench military

Thai-Aus defence cooperation: Where to now?

Dr John Blaxland is a Senior Fellow at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, ANU. As Australia prepares to withdraw from Afghanistan, consideration is being given to how best position the Australian Defence Force afterwards. The focus needs to return to Australia's region and particularly

Reader riposte: More on Goldrick-White

Markus Pfister writes: To sum it up: Surely then both Hugh White and James Goldrick can agree that we need to aim first for sea denial, and when that has been achieved we could and should spend the balance of our naval resources on achieving some degree of sea control, and that this worthy aim

The ADF and cyber warfare

Richard Addiscott is an information security consultant with BAE Systems Stratsec. The views expressed here are his own and do not represent the views of his employer. What is cyber warfare and what could it mean to the Australian Defence Force? I hope the 2013 Defence White Paper will address

Reader riposte: The Goldrick-White debate

Nic Stuart writes: What makes the current debate between James Goldrick and Hugh White so interesting is that it's grounded in capabilities – both platforms and systems. This is the hard edge of the defence debate; where our desire to have strategic options meets budgetary and political

Myanmar: Time for Australian Defence Cooperation

Dr John Blaxland is a Senior Fellow at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, ANU. Myanmar, emerging from a long period as a pariah state, is confounding sceptics with the pace and extent of reform since Senior General Than Shwe handed over power to his successor as president, Thein Sein,

Response to James Goldrick

Many thanks to James Goldrick for his responses to my recent Monthly discussion of maritime strategy in Australia's defence. James' recent retirement from the RAN is a loss to the ADF, but a gain to public debate, because he has long been the ADF's most learned maritime strategist. So I welcome

Managing strategic uncertainty

Chloe Diggins is a Research and Analysis Officer at the Australian Army's Land Warfare Studies Centre. The views expressed are her own and do not reflect those of the Australian Department of Defence or the Australian Government. Recently, Sam Roggeveen asked what's the best way to deal with

False thinking and Australian strategy (3)

Rear Admiral (ret'd) James Goldrick AM, CSC is a Visiting Fellow at the Lowy Institute. This is the final post in a three-part series. Part 2 challenged claims by Lowy colleague Hugh White that Australia doesn't rely on the sea. Part 1 argued against White's assertion that sea control cannot be

We need to forecast war

Christopher Joye is a leading economist, policy advisor, fund manager and former director of the Menzies Research Centre. In The Australian Financial Review today I have a column that responds to a question posed by Sam Roggeveen. Specifically, Sam asks, 'What's the best way to deal with strategic

False thinking and Australian strategy (2)

Rear Admiral (ret'd) James Goldrick AM, CSC is a Visiting Fellow at the Lowy Institute. In this three-part series he challenges claims by Lowy colleague Hugh White that Australia cannot achieve sea control. In my previous post  I pointed out how Hugh White's article, A Middling Power: Why

False thinking and Australian strategy (1)

Rear Admiral (ret'd) James Goldrick AM, CSC is a Visiting Fellow at the Lowy Institute. In this three-part series he challenges claims by Lowy colleague Hugh White that Australia cannot achieve sea control. Professor Hugh White's article, A Middling Power: Why Australia's defence is all at

The ADF and the Afghan army: A question of command (2)

Tom Hyland is a freelance journalist and former foreign editor of The Age and The Sunday Age. The need for a clear command structure when Australians patrol with Afghans was the subject of part 1 of this post. So-called 'green-on-blue' killings by Afghan soldiers of their foreign mentors –

ADF and the Afghan army: A question of command

Tom Hyland is a freelance journalist and former foreign editor of The Age and The Sunday Age. This is the first of a two-part post. When Australian troops go on patrol with the Afghan army, and things turn nasty, who’s in charge? The question, which goes to the heart of  Australia's effort

Reader Riposte: Of one mind

Major Gen (Retd) Jim Molan, author of Running the War in Iraq, writes: Paul Scanlan and I are in violent agreement. I predict that a force structure review, conducted today, that looked at the strategic environment to determine what Australia NEEDS compared with what the government thinks

What might the 2013 White Paper say about space?

Brett Biddington is a retired RAAF officer who consults on space and cyberspace matters. In the past five years, Australian policy makers in and beyond Defence have devoted a lot more attention to Australia's interest in space and to developing appropriate policy settings. Since December 2008,

Reader riposte: Strategic uncertainty

Paul Scanlan writes: Sam Roggeveen asks an interesting question: if you face an uncertain strategic future, how do you structure a defence force? Sam and Major General Molan have put the case for a balanced force in an environment of strategic uncertainty. While I agree about the uncertainty, I

In defence of a balanced force

Major Gen (Retd) Jim Molan is author of Running the War in Iraq. Sam Roggeveen asks an interesting question: if you face an uncertain strategic future, how do you structure a defence force? Any threat from a major Asian land power is so unpredictable at present that to structure the ADF only

As Australia changes, so must the ADF

Dr Ben Wadham is a former serving member of the Army. He is now a sociologist at Flinders University\'s School of Education, researching civil-military relations. The recent presentation by Defence Minister Stephen Smith to the Lowy Institute on the 2013 Defence White Paper&

Reader ripostes: Strategic uncertainty

Below, Nic Stuart responds to Sam Roggeveen\'s post asking how defence planning can occur when our ability to forecast the future is so poor. But first, Lindsay Bignell: Without knowing the probabilities of which scenarios are more or less likely, it would seem sensible to plan on that

Reader riposte: Why is ADF voice missing?

Josh Farquhar writes: The Chief of Army\'s response to Dr Palazzo\'s insightful and constructive comments on the lack of ADF involvement in public debate does not address Dr Palazzo\'s most critical point: why have senior ADF officers been so notably absent in the public debate? Of

Defence: Planning for the unknowable

The link I posted this morning to an article on how intelligence agencies can improve the accuracy of their forecasts puts me in mind of the next Defence White Paper, and the job involved in planning for defence capabilities decades into the future. There\'s solid research that political

In defence of strategic uncertainty

If there\'s one feature that defines Australia\'s strategic environment out to 2035, it is complex uncertainty. Not the supposedly inexorable rise of China, not the decline of America, not globalisation, not climate change or weapons of mass destruction or terrorism, but uncertainty. The first

Reader riposte: Spend less on defence

Bernardo Camejo writes: There\'s been a lot of debate going on about defence spending in Australia, mainly among experts who know what they\'re talking about, and whose opinions should be heeded by policy-makers. I\'d like to add my two cents to the argument, not because I want to contradict

All quiet in Defence? Chief of Army responds

Lieutenant General David Morrison (pictured) is Chief of the Australian Army. I am a strong supporter of discussion and debate on a wide range of issues, including the future nature of warfare; however I disagree with the thesis put forward by Dr Albert Palazzo in the latest Land Warfare

RAAF is growling, not purring

Major Gen (Retd) Jim Molan is author of Running the War in Iraq. It was fascinating to watch the announcement by the Minister and the Chief of Air Force on the purchase of the Boeing EA-18G Growler advanced electronic warfare capability. The system will be acquired using a US purchasing

Observations on the defence debate

Christopher Joye is a a director and strategic adviser to a number of funds management and financial services companies. He\'s also a blogger and columnist for the Financial Review. I come to the defence debate hampered by being a clean-skin, but without the baggage of legacy conditioning

Defence: The shape of things to come

Major Gen (Retd) Jim Molan is author of Running the War in Iraq. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute is a significant national resource for the consideration of strategic and security issues, and its people are truly world class. Rod Lyon recently put out a paper titled Strategic Contours:

ADF silent in debates on modern warfare

The views expressed here, based on this working paper, are the author\'s and do not reflect those of the Department of Defence or the Australian Government. Periodically the US military is host to a robust, heated, and sometimes painful debate on the future character of war. These debates are

Defence and security linkage

Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith spoke yesterday at the Lowy Institute. While he may have left a lot unsaid about how Canberra can reconcile defence budget cuts with unchanged core strategic assessments and capability needs, at least he recognised the Indo-Pacific nature of Australia\'s

Stephen Smith speech: First impressions

The 26-page (!!) transcript of Defence Minister Stephen Smith\'s speech to the Lowy Institute today is available for you to read, so I won\'t summarise it. As the Minister joked, if he had read the whole thing, we would have needed dinner served. I haven\'t read the full transcript yet, so I\'

China Choice: The missing question

Dr John Blaxland is a Senior Fellow at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, ANU. Hugh White\'s recently released book, The China Choice, is an enjoyable read, capturing much of what he has blogged about on The Interpreter over the last couple of years in relation to the US and China

Explaining the CSIS force posture study

Mike Green is Senior Adviser and Japan Chair at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, Washington, DC. The CSIS study on US force posture options for the Asia Pacific has generated some interesting discussion in the Australian media. The main headline seems to be that we

Indonesia at Pitch Black

If you\'re a military aviation buff, the pictures emerging from Exercise Pitch Black, Australia\'s premier air warfare exercise, are spectacular. To see Indonesia\'s Russian-designed Sukhoi fighters on Australian soil and in formation with our F/A-18s is a rare and impressive spectacle. But

Defence White Paper 2013: What do we need?

Major Gen (Retd) Jim Molan is author of Running the War in Iraq. Professor Paul Dibb offers those who will draft the Defence White Paper 2013 two choices: a modified DWP2009 or an approach based on a new force structure designed to meet restricted funding. At the same time, he mentions the

Cat among the carrier pigeons

Australia\'s Fairfax newspapers have set the cat among the carrier pigeons, with these dramatic reports about supposed \'plans\' and \'recommendations\' for a US nuclear aircraft carrier base in Western Australia. What the news stories neglect to mention is that the relevant American

White Paper 2013: What are the options? (part 2)

Paul Dibb is Emeritus Professor at the School of International, Political and Strategic Studies, ANU. This two-part article is a longer version of a piece published in The Australian on 27 July.     In my previous post, I unpacked the problems inherent in trying to

White Paper 2013: What are the options? (Part 1)

Paul Dibb is Emeritus Professor at the School of International, Political and Strategic Studies, ANU. This two-part article is a longer version of a piece published in The Australian on 27 July. The drafters of the Defence White Paper 2013 face two options: attempt to rework the 2009

Southern Philippines: Looking outwards

Steve Rood\'s latest writing on the stop-start peace process in the Southern Philippines contains this very interesting take on why there may be a greater chance that the present \'start phase\' may stop with a political solution this time. At the same time there is the increasing urgency of

A leaner, more effective Army Reserve

Imagine if we decided that, at $17 million per gold medal, preparing elite athletes for the Olympics was too expensive and that instead we\'d pay our fastest and fittest to train only for 40 days each year. Come Rio 2016, no one would expect many Australian Olympic champions. Yet that\'s precisely

Do we take 'warning time' seriously?

Justin Jones\' post on the continuing relevance of warning time as a strategic concept has been somewhat neglected and is worth returning to. The concept of Australia having enough warning time to mobilise a larger defence force for a major conflict has underpinned strategic planning for

What’s in a word? Why ‘a bit of containment’ fits

Robert Ayson is Director of the Centre for Strategic Studies at Victoria University, Wellington.     The first rule of the social sciences and humanities is to avoid contests over the definition and application of terms. But that rule only applies on the Planet Zog. Here on earth

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