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’.
The development of North as a FOB needs to be part of, and supported by, Australia sovereign nation building efforts. FOB North as both a sovereign defence and national security concept is an integral part of building national resilience in Northern Australia.’
Alan Dupont participated in the panel discussion and Q&A Session in Canberra on Monday 19 August 2019.