Wednesday 25 Nov 2020 | 02:40 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 25 Nov 2020 | 02:40 | SYDNEY

Strategy first, then 'kit'


Sam Roggeveen


19 February 2008 08:53

The just-released terms of reference for the Government's new air power inquiry look discouragingly conventional. It will engage in just the kind of horse-race form guide comparisons of aircraft — which plane goes faster? which carries more missiles? — that leads to the spectacle we saw on an ABC Four Corners program last year, in which analysts argued about which fighter Australia should buy in order for us to maintain the capability to bomb Jakarta. Unless you first agree on what air power is actually for, such an inquiry seems redundant. Yet, Defence Minister Fitzgibbon wants the inquiry to report back by the end of April so that its findings can be incorporated into the Defence White Paper process. I'd say this has it exactly backwards: after all, shouldn't you agree on a strategy before you make acquisition decisions?