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16 responses to “Defence and security links post”

  1. Doug

    The big argument over the past few weeks in the media seems to be about submarines – on the basis fo the Collins class fiasco are we headed for another boondoggle on a larg scale driven by the so called experts?

  2. JoeG

    There’s an interesting article on terrorism “experts” at The National Interest – New Year Brings Good News on Terrorism: Experts Wrong Again. Over three-quarters of the terrorism experts surveyed believed that an attack on America of the scale of 9/11 would occur by the end of 2011. To quote from the article “In 2004, Russell Seitz plausibly proposed that “9/11 could join the Trojan Horse and Pearl Harbor among stratagems so uniquely surprising that their very success precludes their repetition,” that “al-Qaeda’s best shot may have been exactly that” and that, as its forces wane, the shadow the terrorist group casts looks “ever less caliphal and more quixotic.””

  3. Occam's Blunt Razor

    The US would do well to look at the mistakes made by our defence planners.

    Australia has been playing catch up since the 1986 Dibb review where Australia focussed on fighting three men and a dog and our Defence forces were subsequently significantly eroded. This resulted in Australia not being able to effectively operate in a Coalition environment in Gulf War 1 and only did East Timor by the skin of our teeth. The logistic sytem was so run down that soldiers couldn’t get supplied with razors or tooth paste for months, let alone laundry servies or replacement socks and jocks. The level of logistics support for armoured vehicles in both Somalia and East Timor were virtually non-existent.

    We still suffer from the stupidity of the decision making inthat period – most of our aircraft fleet can’t operate in a Coalition environment, many of our ships are still fitted for but not with vital capabilities. The Army is too small to sustain any meaningful size operation outside a coalition (within in which we are highly dependant for much indirect fire support and aircraft support) and it is too small to provide an adequte gene pool for the relatively large size of Special Forces that we now operate.

    It is possible to equip and train for conventional war and then operate in an assymetric threat environment in a counter-insurgency operation than it is to go the other way.

  4. akn

    …a smaller US military, with more of a focus on the Asia-Pacific and fewer resources centered on long land wars.

    I’d normally feel that the promise of fewer US boots on the ground would mean that the poor and dispossessed of the world could sleep more securely despite their hunger and oppression. But then there’s the drones, ya know?

    See ‘US drone strike kills 16year old Pakistani’ at Democracy Now (http://www.democracynow.org/2011/11/7/us_drone_kills_16_year_old)

  5. conrad

    “on the basis fo the Collins class fiasco are we headed for another boondoggle on a larg scale driven by the so called experts?”

    Who cares? What are we going to use the F-35s for anyway apart from pleasing the US? If they do turn out to be crappy, then we will have submarines that never work and do not even have full crews (and no-one cares, because their purpose has already been fulfilled) as well as planes that are not good for much apart from politics also. But that’s presumably enough.

  6. derrida derider

    Nothing is likely to be able to reestablish the old order, where the USA could operate with impunity pretty much on China’s doorstep.

    Yes, and our foreign policy establishment doesn’t seem to have even begun to think through the implications of that, let alone the implications of the US in the quite near future also being unable to operate with impunity in the Indian Ocean, the Phillipine Sea, the Straits, etc without the local’s say-so. If they had they’d have run a mile from the idea of US Marines in Darwin.

    At the end of the Korean War the US had about half of world economic output. At the end of the Vietnam War they had a third. At the end of the first Gulf war they had a quarter. At the end of the second one they had a fifth. An Australian strategy that once made sense is becoming dangerously detached from reality.

  7. James McDonough

    Perhaps a trickle of traumatized veterans is an acceptable price to pay for continuing to keep the US happy. More have died for less. Anyone voluntarily joining the Australian armed forces could be reasonably expected to know what’s going on, after all, we’ve been fighting the same war for about sixty years now.
    Presumably the attitude on the ground is that the government leads and the services serve. I don’t share either opinion but the alternatives seem worse.
    Up on the history level, I’m not sorry to see the collapse of the American Empire but I confidently predict that it will be replaced by something worse. In the meantime, if we have to be someone’s quarry (in the open-cut-mine sense, not the hunted-till-death one) I suggest that we prostrate ourselves before New Zealand, the Pacific Home of the sensible defence policy.

  8. GregM

    James@9.

    New Zealand’s defence policy is Australia.

  9. John D

    Regan destroyed the Russians with his star wars campaign. This is because the Russians got sucked into trying to keep up with the US defense wise and ended up seriously damaging their economy because they couldn’t afford it. The US has been running the risk of being sucked into making the same mistake by the Chinese and, to some extent, by Al Qaeda.
    Obama’s decision to drastically cut defense spending was the right move under these circumstances. The decision to maintain its presence in our region also makes sense in light of the Chinese defense build-up and uncertainty re their long term objectives. The best thing Obama can do defense wise is to work to restore US economic strength.

  10. John D

    Talking about the desirability of submarines etc. is not going to be very productive until we know what our armed forces are there for and under what circumstances we would act in concert with other armies. If we don’t think these things through before making decisions we are going to get lumbered with yet another very expensive naval wet dream.

  11. akn

    Dear OBR, whatever the deficits of the Dibb report it at least identified that any military threat was to the North of Australia rather than the South. This upset the wives of the military and naval establishment who rather liked living in Sydney and Melbourne and who haven’t stopped whining about it since. As far as the military establishment is concerned it is always the fault of politicians that fighter planes are too expensive, submarines are too loud and someone forgot to put the cap back on the toothpaste. What a joke.

  12. Occam's Blunt Razor

    @13 akn – I was part of the move to Darwin of the 1st Brigade. Loved Darwin as a place to live. But as for working there – you cannot train for half the year because the vehicles can’t go off formed roads – end up redeploying to the south. I remain unconvinced that having our most potent land formation in Darwin is the best option.

  13. David Irving (no relation)

    Razor @ 14, I’ve suspected for years that the main reason 1 Bde got moved up to Darwin was polital / economic rather than strategic. It would have created a hell of a lot of local jobs.

    Incidentally, one of the Battalions has just been moved back down to Adelaide – not sure which one as I’ve been out of the loop for years, but they’re housed in a tin city at Edinburgh. I don’t think we’re under threat from anything that necessitates a local infantry battalion …

  14. Katz

    How many times must the US abjure “long land wars in Asia”?

    In fact, the US is haunted by the ghost of Vietnam. Given that now the US now has announced its primary military function to confront the rise of China in the region, it would be relatively easy for China to engineer through proxies a tempting land war scenario somewhere in Mainland Asia.

    Should Australia be formulating its military doctrine in expectation of supporting yet another lame-brained US military fiasco in Mainland Asia?