Australia’s strategic quandary: political leadership and the abandonment of strategy

Australia’s strategic quandary emerges from its status as an ally to a great power. If it abrogates its responsibility to set national policy aims by joining in a coalition in which one great power antagonist determines the goals of the war it cannot claim to have a strategy. It cannot claim to be linking Australia’s national priorities to the military actions. Its fate would be in the hands of its great power ally.

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Strategic strike, deterrence and the ghost of the F-111

Some confusion has emerged in Australian strategic thinking over ‘strategic strike’, where a threat to an adversary’s key war-making assets produces a deterrent effect, and ‘tactical strike’, where an effect is sought on the battlefield. The result is the inability to see that strategic deterrence is a game for the nation with the preponderance of power and broad options.

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The warning that wasn’t: Robert Gottliebsen’s warning to the Australian nation on the Future Submarines

Robert Gottliebsen (‘The Australian’ 12 Feb 2020) claims to have found risks associated with the procurement strategy for Australia’s Future Submarine Program which ‘may even ultimately put the [ANZUS] alliance at risk’. Is there any basis to this claim? Or, more broadly, any evidence that Defence is not managing the project risks effectively?

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A critique of Australia’s SEA1000 Future Submarine project – from the outside

How did the Australian government decide to approve the SEA1000 project? That these decisions are always hidden from wider view by secrecy classifications and need-to-know protocols must be accepted, as must the reality that pragmatic consideration will be given to other important matters like alliance and industry policy. But nonetheless, Tthe decision doesn’t easily stand up to scrutiny.

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Australia’s ‘future submarines’ & future war

Australia’s SEA1000 Future Submarine project is back in the news following a 60% increase in the project’s cost to AUD 80 billion, and a report by the Australian National Audit Office that identified flaws in the acquisition process Mike asks the broader question of the strategic assessment that underpins an investment of this magnitude over an extended, 30-year timeframe. What sort of capability will be produced by the project, and what sort of conflict would the capability serve?

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NATO, the Middle East and the policy vacuum

Statements from NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg and President Trump reveal a divergence in the strategic interests of the Europeans and the US. If real alliances only work when there’s a clear alignment of strategic objectives, Stoltenberg’s comments are telling. Australia’s foreign and strategic policy needs to reflect a more sophisticated appreciation of the geopolitical shifts taking place.

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