Time to drag national security strategy into the 21st century

April 23, 2020

Governments worldwide failed to act on pandemic dangers they identified decades ago. That cannot happen again.

By the time Kevin Rudd got to his feet to deliver the first national security statement to Parliament in December 2008, the traditional concept of national security had already passed its use-by date.

Rudd outlined a broad and growing list of security risks and pressures in the international system. Among them, he recognised that “a pandemic is bound to create real physical and social hardship and policy challenges for Australia”.

Peter Dutton’s Home Affairs Department: “a leviathan so bloated that it can’t move a muscle.” AAP
That was 12 years ago, and it now looks like an understatement.
Read more

Coronavirus: Golden opportunity to broaden and strengthen our national security

April 13, 2020

The biggest international crisis since World War II is increasing pressure for a rethink of national security policy that redefines ­sovereign risk and elevates the ­importance of non-military challenges. Despite its terrible toll, the pandemic provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to unite the country around a security agenda that will reshape how we live in a post-COVID-19 world.
Read more

Nowhere to hide from the spread of panic

March 6, 2020

When China sneezes the rest of the world catches a cold — literally, it seems. What began as a minor flu-like outbreak in Wuhan city has morphed into a full-blown international health crisis that has roiled financial markets, raised the spectre of an economic recession, disrupted global supply chains and adversely affected the lives of hundreds of millions of people. The world stands on the brink of a full-blown pandemic as the COVID-19 coronavirus moves out of China infecting more and more countries. Misplaced optimism that the disease would be contained risks being replaced by unfounded panic that could fuel, rather than arrest, its momentum. Read more

Shifting our focus to the north is timely, but it will come with costs

January 30, 2020

The government’s strategy for managing Australia’s turbulent ­security environment and building economic resilience is taking shape. Northern Australia Minister Matt Canavan’s declaration that Canberra will overhaul its northern development agenda to boost regional ties is the latest in a series of incremental changes designed to better integrate national security and development policy. Read more

Australia must stand strong against Beijing’s political warfare

January 10, 2020

China’s extraordinary growth as an economic and military power has been a defining development for Australia. But managing our future relationship with an increasing­ly assertive and authorit­arian China will require a reassessment of our assumptions about the nature of the Chinese political system and a willingness to learn from past mistakes.
Read more

What Are Iran’s Long-Term Goals?

January 9, 2020

Lydia Khalil, research fellow at the Lowy Institute and a former political advisor for the U.S. Department of Defense in Iraq, talks about the tensions between the U.S. and Iran. The House will vote Thursday on a resolution to limit President Donald Trump’s options for military action against Iran, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. Khalil speaks on “Bloomberg Markets: China Open.” Read more

The U.S.-Iran Showdown Begins in Iraq

December 30, 2019

The U.S. killed at least 25 Ktaib Hezbollah fighters on Sunday night in its first counterstrike in a decade against an Iran-aligned Iraqi Shia militia. U.S. F-15E aircraft struck three sites in Iraq and two in Syria in retaliation for Ktaib’s Friday rocket attack, which killed an American contractor and wounded four U.S. service personnel. Read more

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.
Read more

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