Saturday 18 Aug 2018 | 02:42 | SYDNEY
Saturday 18 Aug 2018 | 02:42 | SYDNEY

Defence White Paper debate: Round 11

26 September 2008 14:36

Campbell Micallef is participating in our student blog debate on the Defence White Paper.

Surely Sam is trying to provoke a reaction when he argues that Australia is now committed to perform expeditionary operations because it decided to buy some expensive expeditionary toys. Decisions concerning the acquisition of military capabilities should go hand-in-hand with the types of operations one hopes to perform. Perhaps it is the case that a decision has been made to practise expeditionary operations in the future, and as a result, a decision has been made to build the forces needed to fulfil these operational requirements.

However, the fact that Australia has recently decided to further develop its surface fleet, or acquire amphibious ships today, does not mean is any way, shape, or form that the ADF is now locked into a situation where it must perform amphibious or expeditionary operations tomorrow. Clearly the assets you decide to buy will determine what you can or cannot do in any situation, yet in no way should a military capability shape what you must do. 

On the issue of my ‘preventative medicine’ proposal in the Pacific region, I agree with Iain that it is difficult, and there may be times when it doesn’t work. It would also be wrong of me to assume that Australia currently ignores prevention. However, arguably we could be doing more. The recent Pacific Island Seasonal Workers scheme is just one example of what is possible. We have many non-military tools at our disposal and it would be illogical not to use them. I would argue that China’s recent diplomatic inroads in the Pacific are at least marginally a result of our recent failures to connect with those in our own backyard.