In Australia, troop deaths in combat remind the public of the terms of employment of Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel and raise the question of commensurate compensation. One community group is committed to the task of developing a ‘military covenant’ to articulate these terms and compensations based on the idea that the ‘unique nature’ of military service is an invocation of a social contract. But is a social contract really at the heart the Australian civil-military relationship?
Since 1999, Australia has increasingly deployed the military in joint, combined, interagency environments as part of a ‘whole-of-government’ approach. Despite some successes, a number of barriers between the contributing agencies continue to interfere with attempts to synchronise disparate elements of national power into a uniﬁed national eﬀort.
The material comprises a 2014 interview with Air Vice Marshall John Blackburn (Retired), in which he poses a number of questions relating to the resilience of Australia’s Defence logistics capabilities. The questions and tacit solutions he proposes have become more relevant given recent instability in the South China Sea and the current shifts in US foreign policy.
Establishing and maintaining the necessary levels of trust in Australian civil-military relations has been tested over the past decade by incidents such as the ‘Skype’ and ‘children overboard’ incidents. This paper looks at civil-military relations; relationships between the civilian government, society and military leadership.