Robert Bond Director Citizens for Defence
CITIZENS FOR DEFENCE
Coalition needs a 30 yr defence plan
Mark Thomson, senior analyst for defence economics, ASPI, writes a searing exposé of the lack of serious defence planning of our political masters.
The major parties have no idea and care little for Australia to have a modern highly efficient fighting force to defend our motherland. Thomson exposes in every paragraph the government’s ineptitude in having no long term goals for defence but just a few ad-hoc political decisions for short term political expediency.
The result is an almost nonexistent defence force trying to carry on operations with a 1.5% of GDP budget. It is a mathematical impossibility and a grave strategic error which is going to cost this nation dearly in the decades ahead.
Any nation serious about protecting its sovereignty should be spending 2% of GDP on operational costs which includes extensive war games at least twice a year extending to 1500 kilometres from our coastline with emphasis on northern Australia. Another 2% of GDP should be invested in a hard hitting naval battle group and hardened forward naval and airbases around Broome, Darwin, and Weipa to guard our northern shores.
That said, I feel Thomson’s suggestion that we build the fourth AWD and equip it with the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defence system employing the SM-3 missile deserves consideration. The Chinese DF-21 ballistic missile anti-shipping threat is all too real and is a threat against our AWD and amphibious ships alike. It is naive to think these weapons will not be distributed widely amongst Chinese clients in a few years and Australia should try to think ahead.
Australia should also be planning to have anti-ballistic missiles installed at Broome and RAAF Scherger at Weipa to guard against any rogue state shooting a nuclear device at our capital cities. North Korea is so deranged that it could decide to take out a large city in Australia for the simple reason it cannot do so to the US because of the effectiveness of their ballistic missile shield. Thomson is correct in calling for Patriot missile protection for our troops. Patriot missiles and iron dome defence should also be used around high target military bases particularly in the north.
If the construction of another AWD allows our shipyards to continue operating until further work arrives, it could be a very useful strategic move for the future even though the politicians arrived at it for the wrong reasons.
The new work could be to build an aircraft carrier possibly based on the US marines VTOL F35B ships with another planned in the next decade. This would give our amphibious ships some air cover which could be critical if the fleet is out of range of our land bases.
The crazy idea of building 12 antiquated diesel electric submarines for a guess of $36 billion in 2009 dollar value which will really be $80 billion????, Or maybe $100 billion????, should be ridiculed for its stupidity and waste of taxpayer’s money.
Three Virginia class nuclear powered submarines should be purchased as soon as possible from the US to at least guard our amphibious battle fleet from attacking submarines and surface ships.
Surely arrangements can be made with the US government to build the remaining seven or nine submarines with nuclear power plants partially in Australia in cooperation with the US ship builders.
The Coalition do not need 18 months to produce a Defence White Paper on these issues but should be revealing in the next month or two their policy for the next thirty years in a 30 year Defence White Paper revised every 5 years or when a Defence White Paper is issued.
The citizens of this nation may then be able to better follow the muddled thinking of the major parties when it comes to the security of this nation.