Can Australians fight?
A change in the character of war is the importance of pre-conflict, political warfare to weaken adversaries and undermine their will to fight. Meanwhile, recent wars between states reinforced the enduring nature of protracted, conventional war to avoid existential threats. This essay asks if Australia has the national understanding to counter the impact of political warfare and the commensurate will to endure a protracted war in the Indo-Pacific.
Climate and Australia’s National Security
Climate change matters to Defence and has a direct effect on warfighting. Inaction threatens to undermine Defence’s contribution to Pacific Step-Up initiatives and puts us at a competitive disadvantage in developing regional influence and power projection.
Break in the Chain - Intelligence Ignored Launching of the Easter Offensive of 1972
As publishers and historians have now pushed the Vietnam War into a few paragraphs in a Cold War section of United States and world histories, the events contained in most discussions of the war usually ignore the Easter Offensive of 1972. If mentioned at all, it often centres on the Paris Peace Talks and Operation Linebacker but not on why and how it occurred nor the NVA and VC massacres of their own people.
Enter, the Contemporary Australian Warrant Officer
The specialist skills of Warrant Officers have traditionally made them indispensable across the Services, but is this rank and role in a state of emergence? Could there be even more value in this cohort as modern conflicts emerge in brand new domains?
Rhetoric and Reason; What Drives the US and China
China has long charted its own course towards a defined destiny, while the West drifts from the path of unity towards a destination unknown.
One of China’s greatest strengths in the coming decades is that it knows where it is going. China, unlike the West, has a tangible, common future which it moves towards with fierce conviction. As a result of seeds planted long ago, China is now reaping the fruits of unwavering commitment to its direction at a time when the West faces trouble establishing unity.
Back to the Future for the South West Pacific
As this decade progresses, more and more learned Australians are joining a gospel choir. The melody they intend to sing is that we are at greater risk of a military conflict in our region than at any time since the end of World War II. While conveniently ignoring the brutality of the Korean War and our relatively limited entanglement in Vietnam, the bass and alto vocals are drowned out by the keening of sopranos and tenors. The latter support a bipartisan political system and electoral cycle which reinforce the creed that votes can only be secured by a hawkish approach to Defence.
Counterpropaganda is Not a Dirty Word
Democracies need to shed the ethical baggage associated with counterpropaganda and harness the integrity of their institutions to engage in positive information offensives in a hyper connected age.
The US’s troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in the summer of 2021 remoulded the global geopolitical terrain in ways the strategic punditry is still grappling with. The international media was awash with the scenes of the mujahideen confidently posing for the cameras as they occupied the complexes of Kandahar, peering straight into the West’s bone-weary democratic soul.
The Next Revolution in Defence Spending
‘Whatever works’ is what the world’s military wants to purchase. But what is working in the current Ukrainian crisis? This lateral thinking look at the source of Ukrainian strength could suggest the next revolution in Defence spending.
Privatisation and the Pitfalls of ADF Expansion
If the ADF is to retain its best people as well as drive recruitment, it needs to match the attractions of private enterprise and not submit to an erosion of its core purpose.
Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine – Five Lessons for Taiwan
Beijing is closely watching the West’s response to the 24 February 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine for its own plans regarding the eventual subjugation of the independent country of Taiwan. The West’s desultory response to the crisis has revealed plain vulnerabilities and false assumptions about what the West would likely do in the event of an amphibious invasion or blockade of Taiwan by mainland China.
In Memoriam of the UNSC – The Ukraine conflict, world order, and the ADF
Russia’s act of aggression against Ukraine has finally proved the frailty of the UNSC design against belligerent behemoths.
Three words that conjure dangerous oversimplification
The Defence Strategic Update of 2020 provided three words that neatly encapsulate Government’s strategic objectives. The words also capture the raison d'etre of the Australian Defence Force and the tasks it is likely to execute in a period of ‘the most consequential strategic realignment since the Second World War’.