For Whom the Bell Tolls
If Putin is looking to history to justify Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, he should also heed the words of one of history’s great literary figures in John Donne.
Book Review: Stopping Military Suicides, by Kate Hendricks Thomas and Sarah Plummer Taylor
Veteran suicides number 500 in Australia over the last two decades, overshadowing 41 combat deaths. This is the context of the urgent need for the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide. Statistics suggest the scale of the issue but it gets starkly personal when we know or have supported someone who has taken their own life or thought about it.
Book review: Broken Nation: Australians in the Great War, by Joan Beaumont
My fascination with the Great War, as for other amateur genealogists, begins with the involvement of my relatives. My wife’s paternal grandfather Edward Funston served on the Western Front and suffered trench feet, as well as his brother Hubert Funston who was shot beside him. Her maternal great grandfather Thomas William Austin also served, and survived the war but disappeared. On my father’s side, Fred Petty arrived on the Western Front in December 1917 and was killed by a German shell in March 1918.
Indonesia and China: Geostrategic Implications for the ADF
As security tensions heighten in the Indo-Pacific, Australia is well placed to strengthen its relationship with Indonesia by stepping up military cooperation to jointly address China's growing influence in our region.
Relax Vlad, Nobody Covets Russia
Every nation has legitimate security concerns. It is also apparent that people can love their country no matter what kind of country it is. Recently, Russian President Vladimir Putin held forth on how NATO encroachment eastwards threatens Russia and causes Russia concern. What makes no sense to observers is: who does he think is coveting Russia? Who in their right mind would want to?
ANZUS in the 2020s - A Blessing or a Curse for Australians?
The Security Treaty between Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America (ANZUS) came into force on the late Emperor Hirohito’s 51st Birthday the 29th April 1952. Without Japan’s warmongering in the Pacific, even given the rise of communism, it is unlikely to have existed. In 2020 the Australian Government’s Defence Strategic Update (DSU) stated: “the prospect of high-intensity military conflict in the Indo-Pacific is less remote than at the time of the 2016 Defence White Paper (DWP), including high-intensity military conflict between the United States and China. This paper, in answering the question in the title, will also propose an alternative to ANZUS avoiding the Commonwealth becoming embroiled in a third world war. Any such option must still meet the government’s “firm commitment to the Australian people” in the first sentence of the DSU’s foreword “that we will keep our nation safe and protect our way of life for future generations.”
Commandant for a Day: Preparing War Colleges for the Future
War colleges around the world have endured significant challenges over the past two years. COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on faculties as they wrestled with lockdowns and restrictions that tested the achievement of learning objectives.
To the credit of many, the show has gone on with minimal disruption. Yes, there have been a healthy dose of remote learning periods, but the lectures continued and the assignment deadlines remained largely untouched (much to the dismay of the students).
Let the War Games Begin!
Let the War (Games) Begin!'
Two gaming enthusiasts roll the dice at the Australian Command and Staff College to demonstrate how wargames can be a creative engagement and learning tool that enhances the learning experience.
Australia’s Military Strategic Challenges – Close to Home
The 16 September 2021 announcement of an enhanced trilateral security partnership between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States (AUKUS) confirmed beyond any remaining doubt that the Australian Government considers its strategic environment to have permanently changed. The 2020 Defence Strategic Update presaged the announcement by highlighting a number of developments which had swiftly altered the strategic landscape of the Indo-Pacific region since the publication of Australia’s 2016 Defence White Paper.
The Art of Pacifism in the Conduct of War
For some, pacifism is a dirty word, shorthand for an unwillingness to fight on behalf of your country. However, pacifism is not just about being anti-war or anti-fighting. It is also about how not to get into a war. It is this latter meaning of pacifism that I draw on in this essay to discuss ethical issues in security strategy, not to undermine the willingness to fight but to consider the pragmatic tools that pacifism provides to prevent the need to fight. I am an amateur boxer, so I understand the inclination to fight and the desire to confront an adversary with force.
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’.