Tuesday 16 Aug 2022 | 06:02 | SYDNEY

Defence & Security

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

Why a U.S.-China 'Grand Bargain' in Asia would fail

In this review of Hugh White's book The China choice, published in The Diplomat, the Lowy Institute's Rory Medcalf focuses on the great difficulties facing a U.S.-China grand bargain and an Asian 'concert of powers'. He argues that it is right to warn of the risks of U.S.-China

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

Stakes in uncertainty: Australia future with China, India and the United States

Australia’s choices in the Indo-Pacific Asian century will not simply involve China and the United States. India, too, needs to be in the picture. In this lecture delivered at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi in mid-2012, the Lowy Institute’s Rory Medcalf outlines the impact of a

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

Walk a mile in China shoes

Not wishing to pile on to Abe Denmark\'s piece dismissing the idea that the US is containing China, but I have another concern to add to those of Hugh White. It relates to this passage in Denmark\'s piece: The key question is not whether China develops its own military power, but how

Containment? No. Primacy? Yes.

Abraham Denmark is right that US policy towards China is not containment, if we use \'containment\' the way he does. He defines the word rather narrowly, to refer only to the specific set of polices adopted by America towards the Soviet Union. So for him to say that the US is not containing

Don't worry about containing China

Abraham Denmark, Senior Project Director at National Bureau of Asian Research, served as Country Director for China Affairs in the Office of the US Secretary of Defense. These views are his own. The pages of The Interpreter have of late featured an interesting discussion on how Australia would, or

Reader ripostes: Demystifying Darwin

From our Facebook page, some interesting responses to Linda Jakobson\'s proposal to \'demystify\' the Darwin US Marines basing decision by turning the northern city into a hub for diplomatic meetings and humanitarian joint exercises. A selection, starting with Adrian Vandermay: A

What Abbott will do about defence

As the arrival next year of Tony Abbott\'s government looms ever closer, it is illuminating to have a de facto election manifesto. The glimpse of what the Coalition will offer voters is courtesy of a fine journalistic \'get\' by Crikey, which published the Coalition\'s confidential speaker

Demystifying Darwin

Chinese strategic thinkers, who previously did not pay much attention to far-off Australia, now want to know more about the \'Darwin decision\'. Was it directed at China, they ask? And how does the \'Darwin decision\' figure in US strategic plans to re-balance in Asia? Today, \'Darwin\' is nearly

Hope aground in South China Sea

Talks on an ASEAN-China code of conduct in the South China Sea were not the only thing to run aground in that contested body of water last week. Yesterday the Chinese navy rescued one of its frigates, which had been embarrassingly stranded on Half Moon Shoal, in waters claimed by the

Ex-Defence Minister wars with military

A former Defence Minister has taken a giant swipe at the culture and leadership habits of Australia\'s military. Joel Fitzgibbon says it is time to put a civilian in charge, sitting above the Chief of the Australian Defence Force \'to establish what Defence sadly lacks today; one final point of

Crisis and Confidence, one year on

Whatever sweet nothings cloy the public communiqués at the end of this week\'s ASEAN security meetings in Phnom Penh, the real diplomatic records will devote plenty of space to intrigue and tension over the South China Sea. The ten ASEAN states have failed to agree on the contents of a

Defence: If you can't measure it, how can you manage it?

To paraphrase the architect and artilleryman Vitruvius, you can\'t manage a defence force that you can\'t measure. I\'ve spent some time asking people how good the Australian Defence Force is, and I\'m not convinced anyone can tell me. Or more accurately, people can tell me how good or bad they

Defence Challenges linkage: JSF, hackers, Indian nukes and more

The Dutch parliament has voted to withdraw from the Joint Strike Fighter program, but does that actually mean anything? India will soon have a \'nuclear triad\'. Infinity Journal is a title I had not previously heard of: \'an online, peer-reviewed “journalzine” concerned with

Whisper it: We are containing China, just a bit

Robert Ayson is Director of the Centre for Strategic Studies at Victoria University, Wellington. In his recent post on the perennial risk of alliance entrapment, Andrew O\'Neil poses a teasing post-November question: what would Canberra do if a Romney White House tried to enlist Australia for a neo

Reader ripostes: Australia alliance choices

Peter Layton\'s comment on the US alliance is below. But first, here\'s Malcolm Davis, who posted this on the Lowy Institute\'s Facebook page: This is a really great piece in the SMH. I\'ve immediately assigned it for this week\'s reading for my students doing my \'Strategic China\' at Bond

Australia slow-motion alliance choice

The posts published yesterday by Andrew O\'Neil and Malcolm Cook were each submitted without knowledge of the other, but taken together, they summarise pretty nicely the two sides of Australia\'s debate about the US alliance. O\'Neil warns that the economic and strategic forces shaping

ANZUS: A buyer market for Australia

Andrew O\'Neil\'s post on Australian anxieties about ANZUS abandonment reminds me of a conversation I had recently in which a colleague framed ANZUS as a \'buyer\'s market\' in which Australia is the buyer. It\'s an observation worth exploring. All alliances evolve, and as Geoffrey Barker

Australia win-win security alliance

Analysts have long worried that the defence of Australia and Australia\'s Asian engagement project pull the country in different directions and create serious policy challenges for Canberra. Today, we see this worry among those who postulate that there are tremendous tensions between

The US alliance: Fear of entrapment

Andrew O\'Neil is Professor in the School of Government and International Relations at Griffith University and Director of the Griffith Asia Institute. Australia is physically far removed from the conflict hot spots in Asia and has not been seriously threatened by any regional power since

The 'pivot' in Australia-Indonesia strategic relations

Greta Nabbs-Keller is writing a PhD at Griffith Asia Institute on the impact of democratisation on Indonesia\'s foreign policy. \'One cannot understand major developments in Australian-Indonesian relations unless we see them in the context of Australian-American relations\' argued Australian

India-China: The carrier race

China and India are neck-and-neck in their development of new-generation aircraft carriers. Both navies now have \'new\' ships undergoing sea trials, and the race is on to see which will be the first to undertake landing trials for fixed wing aircraft. The Times of India reports that India\'s

Defence Challenges linkage: Pivot, malware, Southeast Asia and more

The US military is rediscovering some of the Southeast Asian bases it abandoned in the 60s and 70s. But meanwhile, Sino-Thai military relations are improving steadily. Useful table on world military spending. The US is the baseline, and it gives both IISS and SIPRI numbers. Australia\'s Tiger

Strategic warning or strategic surprise?

Defence white papers normally include a paragraph or two on strategic warning. It is a fundamental aspect of defence policy and relates to strategic risk and hedging. The 2009 White Paper included the following commentary: Australia has an enduring strategic interest in ensuring that any

US strategic thinking about the Indian Ocean

David Brewster is a Visiting Fellow at the Strategic & Defence Studies Centre, ANU. US strategic thinking about the Indian Ocean is in a state of flux. While it is not at all clear where it will go, we can nevertheless understand some of the basics of US strategy in the region.

'Asian pivot' is really an 'Asian re-balance'

David Brewster is a Visiting Fellow at the Strategic & Defence Studies Centre, ANU. Should we call the recent changes to US strategy in Asia the \'Asian pivot\'? Or should we, as the Obama Administration insists, see it as a \'re-balancing\' of US defence resources? The new US strategy

Defence: Self-reliance is self-delusion

LT COL Ben Pronk is from the Directorate of Army Research and Analysis. These are his own views, not official policy or the position of the Australian Government, Defence Department, ADF or Army. Australia\'s defence challenges cannot be resolved by tweaks; fundamental change is required.&

Australia strategic environment: 10 propositions

Robert Ayson is Director of Centre for Strategic Studies at Victoria University, Wellington. Here are ten propositions about the strategic environment which I think the writers of Australia\'s 2013 Defence White Paper need to keep in mind: 1. The overarching factor is the shift in the

Two interviews: Willox and White

I conducted two interviews recently on defence themes. Below, see Innes Willox, Chief Executive of the Australian Industry Group and panelist at last week\'s launch of the Lowy Institute Poll, talk about the high public support the poll found for the US Marine deployment to Darwin. But first, here