January 14, 2012

Send in the Marines - boost Australia's little Defence Force

The United States Marines - already (semi) based in Robertson Barracks in Australia's Northern Territory. Some tote 40mm Semi-Automatic Grenade Launchers (good for home defence!! :)

OPINION PIECE - Defence priority needs to swing back to our Asia-Pacific neighbours

"The next [Australian] defence white paper presents regional opportunities and challenges.
W are not about to be attacked, but the region looks less stable: US-China relations are developing a harder edge to military competition. China, Japan, India and other Asia-Pacific countries are vigorously modernising their forces. The potential for at-sea confrontations over resource claims in the South China Sea is rising.

Space and cyber spaceADF stabilisation operations in the future.

...Like the US, and after a decade of fighting in the Middle East, [Australia needs] to pivot back to Asia, backed by a plan for comprehensive ADF engagement in the region. A high priority should be building a deep strategic relationship with Indonesia....The white paper should also aim to rebuild a much closer relationship with Papua New Guinea. [Pete believes the development of West Papua is an important matter in the Indonesia relationship].

... we need more emphasis on defence engagement with North and Southeast Asia. Our military and defence civilian presence in our embassies in Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing, Hanoi and other capitals needs to grow...

A very senior Chinese officer recently told me that the People’s Liberation Army sees its relationship with the ADF as second only to its deep ties with Pakistan. While that is an unusual observation, it shows we can build regional defence ties in ways that gradually increase trust. ... we have a deeper stake in the long term security of our region than in the stability of remote southern Afghanistan.

[we need to] speed up delivering on our new defence co-operation plans with the US. There is no more vital strategic interest for Australia than to ensure the US remains deeply engaged in Asian security. Moreover, it is better to see the US working with its allies in preference to one possibility which might see Washington and Beijing working as a group of two, cutting deals on regional security.

It escapes no one in the region that a large rotational US marine and air force presence in Australia’s north would massively complicate an adversary’s plan to do us harm. Co-operating with the US sets a benchmark standard for the AD F’s level of military capability below which we must not fall.

Last, the US presence also enhances engagement and confidence in Southeast Asia. The new white paper should exp and this cooperation, for example by committing to strengthen the runway of Cocos Island to support Australian and US operations.

...The planned feasibility studies into the future submarine make it clear that no decision on submarine numbers can be made until final approval of the project in 2017.

If there is no possibility of reviewing the size and scale ot the biggest-ticket Defence equipment proposals ~the submarines, joint strike fighters and some of the major shipbuilding proposals we will end up with an ADF built around a small number of costly platforms and gaps in every other part of the force...." Complete analysis.

This articles tie in with many previous posts on this blog including: Cocos Islands and Stirling submarine base , Indonesia-Australia-maybe China exercises, China, India, Pakistan nuclear relationship and Japan missile progress and Australian Force Posture Review and UAV issues.