Strategic suspicion and coronavirus consequences: the cost of Australia’s defence (Marcus Hellyer)

Marcus Hellyer provides a measured and considered analysis of the spending and force structure proposals associated with Australia’s 2020 Defence Strategic Update and 2020 Force Structure Plan. The article considers the proposed funding model, tests the connections between the strategic drivers identified and the capabilities proposed for acquisition, and identifies some of the risks that could affect the successful delivery of the proposed capabilities.

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Morrison aligns defence policy with new reality (Michelle Grattan)

The 2020 Defence Strategic Update has given us the ‘defence pivot … designed to increase the military costs for an enemy thinking of attacking Australia, and to boost the ability to strike back at a distance if such an attack occurred’. But does the price tag amount to significant increase in Defence spending? Michelle Grattan observes that ‘the $270 billion ‘spend’ on hardware over a decade doesn’t actually represent a big increase from the 2016 figure of $195 billion’.

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It’s one thing to build war fighting capability, it’s another to build industrial capability (The Conversation)

Analysis suggests that the proportion of contracts awarded to firms that are both Australian operated and owned is low, and that work done by Australian-controlled companies has been increasingly subcontracted to foreign-owned prime contractors. The Australian part of Australia’s defence industry is small, and getting smaller. This subordinate role has important implications for the health of Australia’s industry and national resilience.

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Australia’s 2020 Defense Strategic Update and Force Structure Plan: A Paradigm Shift (Ankit Panda)

Ankit Panda reflects on the new context of Australia’s 2020 Strategic Update compared to its predecessor, the 2016 Defence White Paper, and the “bold prescriptions” that flow from Australia’s reassessment of the strategic environment – in particular, the notion of investing more in conventional stand-off weaponry – long-range missiles. This development will be a welcome one for many in the US strategic community, he notes, where calls for American allies to acquire such capabilities have long persisted.

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Hidden gems in Australia’s 2020 Force Structure Plan (The Interpreter)

The recent release of the Defence Strategic Update and Force Structure Plan provided an outline of the Australian government’s defence policy and capability priorities for the next decade. The Force Structure Plan in particular helps define how an additional [AUD] $270 billion will be invested to deliver critical capabilities for a more lethal, flexible, enhanced and independent Australian Defence Force (ADF). The $270 billion shopping list has some surprising inclusions… a close reading of the document reveals items that have largely escaped notice but are interesting because of their value, proximity, implications, novelty – or because they’re just plain weird.

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