Defence needs smaller, cheaper, more agile weapons

November 11, 2019

The recent call for a defence reset by two former air force chiefs adds to the growing pressure on Defence Minister Linda Reynolds to review the strategy of the 2016 defence white paper and the structure and geographical focus of the Australian Defence Force.

Retired air marshal Leo Davies and his immediate predecessor, Geoff Brown, say our defence strategy is outdated and that the ADF is poorly equipped to deal with emerging threats to our maritime trade, China’s rapid military modernisation and the possibility of great power conflict in the region.
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Australia needs its own fuel reserves

October 5, 2019

The heightened risk to Australia’s energy security from external shocks was starkly illuminated by the September 14 missile and drone attack on two of Saudi Arabia’s key oil installations, halving the kingdom’s oil output and reducing global oil supplies by almost 6 per cent….. Despite our claim to be an emerging energy superpower, Australia is more vulnerable to disruptions to the flow of oil from the Middle East than almost any other developed economy. Read more

On China at Consilium Conference

September 1, 2019

Alan Dupont presented on China at Consilium a conference held by the Centre for International Studies, one of Australia’s leading think tanks, at Byron Bay from 29 August to 1 September.
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Report Launch: Strong and Free? The Future Security of Australia’s North

August 19, 2019

The strategic importance of Australia’s north to Australia’s defence has long been recognized by government and policy makers. Despite strategic policy commitments to Northern Australia, there is a growing body of evidence indicating that the gap is widening between strategic policy and Defence’s actual activities and presence in the north. It is likely that with the significantly reduced warning times of future conflict the North of Australia will increasingly become either Australia’s Forward Operating (FOB) base or its lily pad to another forward location within the pacific or the first or second island chain.

This new report argues that ‘there is a need to reconceptualize Northern Australia, as a single scalable Defence and National Security ecosystem’. This ecosystem should be developed to ‘deliver integrated support to current and future ADF and National Security operations’.
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Indo-pacific strategic futures dialogue and simulation + next generation leaders workshop

August 12, 2019

Alan Dupont participated in Session 1: Regional Perspectives on Indo-Pacific Strategic Objectives

There is an emerging consensus among US allies and partners that a free, open, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific is in the interests of all nations and must be preserved. Beyond this broad vision for regional order, however, are a wide range of differences in national priorities, proximate interests, views about rules, norms and values, and geographic considerations. How do key regional countries define Indo-Pacific strategy and its objectives? Read more

A new type of war at our door

August 10, 2019

The defence community has begun an important generational debate about the strategy, posture and structure the Australian Defence Force needs in response to the most challenging regional security environment we have faced since World War II.

Anyone who doubts that the long peace in Asia has come to a precipitate end need only scan the latest news to see the confluence of geopolitical disturbances that has turned our once tranquil region into a combustible zone of conflict and strategic ­rivalry.

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In Conversation: Anthony Bubalo on Remaking the Middle East: One Year On

July 9, 2019

In Remaking the Middle East, Lowy Institute Nonresident Fellow Anthony Bubalo argued that despite continuing turmoil in the region the future of the Middle East was not inevitably bleak. Amid the ferment the region has experienced over the past decade and a half he also pointed to ‘green shoots’ of change: from new forms of ‘uncivil’ society driving social and political change to ‘impious’ politics, making societies more tolerant and pluralist. Read more

Australia must not lose East Timor to China

July 2, 2019

Scott Morrison has quickly put flesh on his Pacific step-up strategy. With the US, Japan, New Zealand and now France supportive, the Prime Minister has assembled an impressive coalition of democracies that may soon include Britain. Morrison knows that effective co-operation between Australia and the other Pacific powers will make it more difficult for China to entrench itself in our backyard and exploit the economic vulnerabilities of small Pacific island states. Read more

In The Thick Of Syria And Iraq: ‘Days Of The Fall: A Reporter’s Journey In The Syria And Iraq Wars’ – Review

June 22, 2019

Author and journalist Jonathan Spyer’s latest book explores the disintegration of the Middle East over the past decade. Days of the Fall: A Reporter’s Journey in the Syria and Iraq Wars is an up-close and personal account of the two major conflicts in the region that exemplify its descent into chaos, both physical and moral.

Spyer had been focusing on the Levant in general, and Syria in particular, for a good few years before President Bashar al-Assad’s regime was caught up in the revolutionary fervour sweeping across the Arab world. Read more