defence review 2022

Have Your Say in the Defence Review 2022

13 September 2022

3.2 MINS

Here’s your chance to provide input on the direction of our national security policies. Below are various topics of concern that you may include in your submission to the defence review.

On August 3, the Albanese Government announced a Defence Strategic Review, and called for submissions from organisations and the public, by October 30. The Review will be headed by former Labor Defence Minister Professor Stephen Smith and retired Chief of the Defence Force Sir Angus Huston.

On July 1, 2020, the Morrison government released the Defence Strategic Update, which identified that there were accelerating changes in Australia’s strategic environment and proposed a moderate upgrade of the nation’s defence capabilities. The 2022 Review will hopefully expand on and re-evaluate the main thrust of that Update.

However, it is apparent even to the most casual observer that the strategic situation in the South China Sea, the Indo-Pacific regions, the conflict in Ukraine, the bug-out from Afghanistan and the recent Pelosi visit to Taiwan coupled with the Chinese aggressive responses to the latter, foreshadow drastic implications for our hemisphere.

For decades, Canberra assured Australians that there would be at least a ten-year warning time of any potential threat to the country. News Weekly has long disputed that soothing government lullaby; but Canberra’s siren song lulled Australians into a stupor and defence acquisitions and preparedness deteriorated to the point where our overall military preparedness is in a parlous state.

Consequently, the Review seeks to better ensure that Australian Defence Force assets, structure and preparedness are positioned to meet looming regional security challenges.

The Looming Threat

So, what is the threat? In simple terms, the looming threat is the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) aggressive expansion into our vital sea-lanes and trade routes; not just in the South China Sea, but in the Pacific and Indian oceans. This means that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLA-N) seeks to control or close off the several key choke points within those huge oceans with overwhelming force.

The PLA-N has expanded enormously in recent decades and currently has in excess of 700 major surface combat vessels, nuclear and diesel-powered submarines, three aircraft carriers, ocean-going amphibious ships, mine-warfare ships, and fleet auxiliaries. It has around 90 patrol boats armed with anti-ship missiles and large numbers of armed so-called “fishing vessels”.

  1. The deployment of PLA forces includes not only coral-island bases in the South China Sea, but also “non-naval” strategic bases in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Djibouti, with plans for “docking ports” at Daru in Papua New Guinea, the Straits of Magellan, the eastern and western entry points to the Panama Canal zone, the Solomon Islands, Angola, Cambodia and Equatorial Guinea, to name a few.
  2. So, our fabulously mineral-rich Australian isle, sitting in the vast southern Indian and Pacific oceans, looks to an expansionist’s eye like an inviting diorama of “Custer’s last stand” … and that is no “Sitting Bull”.

What is to be Done?

Australia is starting from way behind. We have too few ships, planes, soldiers and sailors, and a choking plethora of red and green tape at every level, state and federal, of government, plus a lack of national will to defend our country against an enemy.

If you have views on defence issues, logistics, manufacturing, supply lines, even on PC wokeism in the Defence force, or climate-change impediments to the efficiency of national defence, please take a few minutes to write to the Review team.

Yes, you might ruffle a few bureaucratic feathers or stampede their sacred cows; but so be it.

The review team will accept submissions from the public until October 30.

Submissions to the Review could address any of the following

  • Fuel security (storages, refining, on/off-shore oil/gas exploration).
  • The “open sesame” and porous borders of Western Australia and northern Australia.
  • Adoption of nuclear energy generation (lift the bans).
  • Coal-fired power generation (we are closing them down).
  • Coal-to-oil liquefaction (we have huge deposits of suitable brown coal but lack the political will to produce oil).
  • Local manufacturing capacity (urgently need to revitalise industry).
  • Light attack aircraft (suitable for operations in WA and northern Australia, but we have none).
  • Armed drones (we have none, yet there is a quality local manufacturer exporting these).
  • Anti-ship missiles (we have limited stock but no manufacturers).
  • Reinvigorate school cadets, reservist forces, university regiments.
  • National Service (another political elephant in the room).
  • Infrastructure (rail, roads, transport, logistics, supply chains, the Cocos Islands, also deteriorated airfields in the country such as those at Longreach, Weipa, Derby, Exmouth (ironically, all were vital during World War II)).
  • Space (that area above earth’s atmosphere inhabited by satellites and other strange objects).
  • Cyber security (essential in modern warfare as is being proven in Ukraine).
  • Fast and versatile missile patrol boats (we have none).
  • Munitions manufacturing (we need more local production).
  • Faster acquisition of defence hardware such as aircraft, small arms, drones, fast boats (even off-the-shelf items).
  • Assets unfit for purpose (a litany of items).
  • The federal defence budget (needs to be raised to 4 per cent of GDP).

CLICK HERE FOR TERMS OF REFERENCE AND EMAIL ADDRESS FOR SUBMISSIONS.

___

By Tony O’Brien.
Originally published in News Weekly.

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One Comment

  1. Kaylene Emery 13 September 2022 at 2:57 pm - Reply

    Such a relief to finally see it written in black and white right here in our own Nation.
    Thank you.

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