Renewable superpower: Critical minerals are Australia’s ‘must have’ sovereign capability

June 24, 2023

~ Alan Dupont, The Australian

Rarely does a sparsely populated middle power get to play a leading role on the global stage. But could the continent’s rich critical minerals endowment make Australia a renewable energy superpower and rules maker in a world beset by geopolitical rivalry and the intertwined challenges of energy transition and climate change?

There are many who think so, including the previous and current federal governments. The preface to the 2022 Critical Minerals Strategy declared the Morrison government “is taking action to grow Australia into a critical minerals powerhouse”.
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Rethinking Sustainable Defence Forces: A Discussion with Dr. Alan Dupont

May 9, 2023

~ By Robbin Laird. Originally published at

In an earlier discussion with David Beaumont, I focused on the challenge facing the ADF of managing what I called the strategic triangle for force enablement.

That triangle is conceptualized in the featured graphic for this article. At the core of the triangle is the challenge of sustainability, the provision of supplies, magazine depth and what can produced by the allied arsenal of democracy.

At the 28 March 2023 Williams Foundation Seminar, Dr. Dupont looked at the sustainability challenge as understood in terms of the capabilities of the defence industrial base. He provided an assessment of the significant limitations facing the Western industrial base to support sustainable defense forces which could endure through a significant period of conflict.
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Dr. Alan Dupont AO: The End of History and the Polycrisis (Lonsec Symposium, 2023)

May 4, 2023

Prominent American political scientist, Francis Fukuyama, thought the end of the Cold-War marked the end of ideological conflict. But history has come roaring back as ideological divisions divide the world once more and geopolitical risk escalates. The world is facing a polycrisis. Multiple systemic disturbances – from the Ukraine conflict to rising US-China tensions, accelerating deglobalization and a high stakes tech war – are creating the most volatile, unpredictable and challenging investment environment since World War 2.

~ Keynote presentation at Lonsec Symposium, 4 May 2023 in Sydney.

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It’s time to raise the stakes in critical minerals contest

May 2, 2023

~ Alan Dupont

As the fossil fuel era fades, critical minerals are set to become the new oil. If not yet ubiquitous, they are the sinews of the emerging green and hi-tech economies.

They are also crucial for defence because they “power the weapons that determine geopolitical primacy”, says security analyst Liam Gibson. Defence needs rare earths for a vast array of applications, including smart bombs, radar, communication systems and advanced fighter aircraft.

This means that they are a strategic asset as well as an economic resource. Only a few minerals have played this role historically.

Silver needed for coinage in ancient times and oil, which still lubricates the wheels of transport and industry, are among them.

The problem for the world is that China has cornered the market in critical minerals, especially the 17 rare earths that are processed into high-value tech metals.
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Defence Strategic Review: Bold changes send clear message to potential enemies

April 25, 2023

~ Alan Dupont

Shrewdly timed to coincide with Anzac Day commemorations, the Albanese government has taken a major step forward in delivering on its promise to make the ADF a more “impactful” force, with the much-anticipated release of its response to the Defence Strategic Review. This sends an unambiguous signal to potential adversaries that while Australia is committed to preserving the peace, we won’t be a pushover if it comes to a fight.

The ADF is now set on a path of transformation – from a boutique force with niche capabilities but little punch to a harder, more lethal, self-reliant military that is also more interoperable with allies and friends. Higher levels of interoperability will be crucial to offset the advantages that autocracies have in their ability to mobilise resources and prosecute the untrammelled ambitions of their rulers.
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Failure not an option in this generational opportunity

March 18, 2023

Nothing less than a revolution in our approach is going to solve a problem that threatens to derail the ambitious nuclear submarine program and the ADF restructure.
~ Alan Dupont

The magnitude of the nuclear submarine challenge should not obscure a wider strategic problem. Our defence industrial base is so thin and under-resourced that we are at serious risk of losing a high-intensity military conflict within a few weeks against a well-prepared adversary.

Tinkering at the edges won’t make any difference. Nothing less than a revolution in our approach to defence industry, innovation and weapons acquisition is going to solve a problem that threatens to derail the ambitious nuclear submarine program and the Albanese government’s restructure of the Australian Defence Force.

This is a strategic failure long in the making. And it’s not just an issue for Australia. The US defence industrial base is in serious trouble and Europe’s is on life support. Their problems are also ours since most of our military equipment is imported from the US or Europe.
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Balance of power in Asia now shifting away from China

March 2, 2023

~ Alan Dupont

The galvanising impact of the war in Ukraine is not confined to Europe.

It is having an equally transformative effect on the security of our own region. “Ukraine today may be Asia tomorrow” is the new catchcry as countries reassess their vulnerabilities and the adequacy of their defence spending and security partnerships.

Overstretched and anxious to avoid being drawn into a Ukrainian quagmire, the Biden administration is keeping a watchful eye on its pacing challenger, mindful that China would like nothing more than to see the US bogged down in a protracted European conflict. Relentlessly focused on Asia, Beijing has been able to bide its time and build its forces while the US continues to be distracted by the polycrisis – multiple, interconnected global challenges that require its leadership and unique deterrent power.
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Don’t ditch the tank if you want real firepower

January 18, 2023

~ Alan Dupont, published in the Australian

War concentrates the mind like few other activities, so it’s not surprising that the Ukraine-Russia conflict is generating widespread media coverage of the combat power of the two protagonists.

Far from being a morbid fascination with the weapons of war, the debates they stimulate are critical to the functioning of a healthy democracy. Democracies that fail to gain public support for essential defence projects and policies are unlikely to be victorious on the battlefield.
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The Rise of the Geopolitical Economy and Australian Resilience

December 6, 2022

ACCI’s Business Leaders Summit sessions are underway with members and special guests hearing from Senator the Hon. Tim Ayres, Senator the Hon. Jane Hume, Paul Bloxham (HSBC) and Dr Alan Dupont AO (Cognoscenti) on the topic ‘The Rise of the Geopolitical Economy and Australian Resilience’.

Focusing on current trends in the geopolitical environment, the panellists are tackling how Australia is enhancing its resilience during this challenging time for global economics. This session was moderated by ACCI’s Chief of Policy and Advocacy, David Alexander.
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