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Defence in depth

13 May 2013 16:41

Today we launch the first in a series of videos looking at Australia's defence and strategic policy. Entitled Defence in Depth, the videos feature interviews with defence and strategic experts on a range of issues, including the defence budget, strategic relationships, Australian Defence Force (ADF) capability, and Australia's military strategy. There is a remarkable degree of consensus among these defence experts as to where things stand with Australia's military capability and thinking.

COMMENTS

7 Jun 2013 17:48

Dougal Robinson is a Lowy Institute defence intern.

In this second video of the Defence in Depth series (part 1 on the defence budget), we asked defence experts to identify Australia's two most important strategic relationships.

There was a strong consensus that the US is Australia's most important security partnership. The alliance will remain 'pre-eminent' for the foreseeable future, according to General (Ret'd) Peter Cosgrove, former Chief of the Defence Force. Peter Jennings, the Executive Director of ASPI, agrees that the US provides a 'force multiplier' that greatly enhances the ADF's operational capability.

COMMENTS

11 Jun 2013 11:25

Cecelia O'Brien responds to last Friday's Defence in Depth video:

When I was a young grad student I had a professor who told us that if we had ten data sets and nine of those sets all had the same result, we should then devote our utmost attention to the one data set that did not get the same results. I have always thought this to be wise. Consider our tendency towards groupthink and confirmation bias. There is also that nasty tendency for surprises to pop up. The list of things we never expected is long and recent examples include the collapse of the Soviet Union, the so called Arab Spring and even the state of affairs in the EU. One would have to agree the failure to predict these events is not a minor shortcoming so a consideration of the outlying possibilities is worth some effort.

COMMENTS

14 Jun 2013 16:29

Major Gen (Retd) Jim Molan is author of Running the War in Iraq.

The video cameos featured in Dougal Robinson's post, Defence in Depth: Strategic Partners, go to two of the most important concepts in Australian defence: self-reliance and self-delusion.

Jack Georgieff looks more directly at self-reliance and reminds us how much has changed in this key defence concept in 25 years. The concept of self-reliance, says Georgieff:

COMMENTS

19 Jun 2013 13:19

Dougal Robinson is a Lowy Institute defence intern.

As the Australian Defence Force approaches the end of a period of high operational tempo, this third Defence in Depth video (you can watch the whole series and read commentary about it on this debate thread) asks experts whether the ADF is improving or declining.

There is consensus that extensive action in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Solomon Islands has left the ADF far better than it was at the end of the twentieth century. Our armed forces are much more competent, professional and better equipped, according to ASPI's Peter Jennings. The Australian's Brendan Nicholson agrees that the sharp end of Defence is more experienced.

COMMENTS

2 Jul 2013 08:55

Dougal Robinson is a Lowy Institute Defence Intern.

In this final video in the Defence in Depth series, we asked experts whether Australia's defence strategy is smart. You can watch the whole Defence in Depth series and read commentary about it on this debate thread.

Peter Cosgrove argues that Australia's strategy has generally been intelligent, but most of those questioned responded negatively.

Rodger Shanahan posits that Australia does not have a defence strategy, and, according to Hugh White, our strategy is either lousy or non-existent, because Australia lacks a coherent conception of the risks it faces and the capabilities it requires. Similarly, there is no logical relationship between our defence strategy and defence expenditure, Peter Jennings argues. 

COMMENTS