Australia-Middle power without punch

Robert Bond   Director   Citizens for Defence

 www.citizensfordefence.org

CITIZENS FOR DEFENCE

Chinese Stealth Fighter

                           Chinese Stealth Fighter

Australia-Middle power without punch

bobGraeme Dobell, the ASPI Fellow Journalist has plenty to say about the US and China in his recent post but little to say about Australian duplicity on defence matters.

Graeme mentions Bob Carr’s comments about the coolness displayed by the US at Ausmin 2012 and puts it down to the strongest isolationist sentiments in America since the 1940s, and yet fails to mention the possibility that the US was upset at the 1.48% of GDP Australian defence budget compared with the 4.1% US defence budget in a time of great US austerity.

To the concerned citizen it appears that the US has had enough of the parasitic Coalition partners it has to carry on the back of its war fighting military machine needed to maintain world peace. Australia is amongst the leaders of this august group of nations bludging on the American military largess and we cannot even choose whether we wish to side with a communist aggressor or our defence saviour of 90 years standing.

Collins calls the NRMA

     Collins calls the NRMA

The major parties have led Australia down a hazardous path in the 70 years since we were saved by the US aircraft carriers in WW2. We have refused to spend money on maintaining a prudent and hard hitting defence force. Our defence spending has been under 2% of GDP for that period except for times of conflict.

Even these funds have been frittered away in crazy decisions which resulted in us having probably the most disjointed, ineffective defence force of any middle power in the world. Such examples as having Australia build a one off 90 year old technology Collins submarine fleet of 6 ships which are by far the most expensive submarines in the world to maintain at $150 million per annum and have an availability to defend this nation of less than 10%.

We are racing headlong into another quagmire with our plan to build another fleet of 12 diesel dinosaurs which will leave us defenceless under the water for the next 50 years. We have no hardened defensive bases in the north, no naval battle group, and an air force made up of planes mainly manufactured in the 1980’s with no plan to combine fighters, fuel tankers, AWACs, electronic countermeasures planes, and armed drones into a coordinated force to defend the north in the north.

Indonesian Islamists

         Indonesian Islamists

Indonesia is putting on a big show about intelligence gathering but Australia shouldn’t apologise. Nor should we try to buy love by giving concessions or any other aid. If we have any spare cash it should be sunk into defence assets in the north for our protection from any future adventurous northern nation. We gave Indonesia a billion dollars in the recent tsunami and all we get in return is contempt. Treat Indonesia with the greatest neighbourly respect short of compromising our sovereignty and live with what the future brings.

Chinese Aircraft Carrier

     Chinese Aircraft Carrier

China has to be stopped in its tracks now from its quest for bellicose expansion plans in the world by military threats and force before it has time to build an unstoppable war fighting machine. The West if it had any sense would build missile for missile, stealth fighter for stealth fighter, battle fleet for battle fleet, etc until the Western nations interests have been protected.

Australia should launch a crash program where we acquire the wherewithal to defend the Northern Australian land mass and coastline and project power to the northern shipping lanes from Asia to the Indian Ocean. We could blockade Chinese merchant ships and secure our area and allow the US and its other allies to concentrate on the sea air battle closer to China.

Australia is a middle power that has recklessly abrogated its responsibility for its own defence to another nation in order to save a few pieces of silver and yet we are amongst the richest nations on earth per capita. As a middle power we lack any punch for our weight.

Graeme has made some good points but what he didn’t say probably has far more significance to Australia’s future.

Defence analysts can do better

CITIZENS FOR DEFENCE

Robert Bond    Director    Citizens for Defence

www.citizensfordefence.org

US marine amphibious hovercraft

US marine amphibious hovercraft

Defence analysts can do better

bobBenjamin Schreer, an ASPI senior analyst, and Hugh White, professor of strategic studies, ANU, are blinded by their clinical dissection of Indo-Pacific power balances. As a result they have little interest in the preparedness of our defence force now and into the future.

Schreer suggests that we use our Defence Materiel Organization (DMO) to improve TNI’s defence procurements and also suggests we contribute to the improvement of the Indonesian defence force.

White suggests the West gives ground to a communist country without a fight in the forlorn hope this will placate the Chinese bellicosity in the world. White belittles the Air Warfare Destroyers and amphibious ships Australia is acquiring and suggests we be saddled with 24 WW2 technology submarines which cannot travel more than 70 kilometers submerged at full speed of under 22 knots.

Where do these crazy ideas come from? Does a communist country that runs over its citizens in tanks if they mention the word democracy give two hoots about international law or acts of appeasement by western democracies? Any act of weakness by the West will just spur the Chinese dragon on to further adventures.

Benjamin Schreer last year advocated the White Paper 2013 avoided any suggestion of a future conflict with China and suggested if such an event ever comes to pass we leave it up to our ally the US to deal with.

Now Schreer is taking liberties in our dealings with Indonesia that just do not add up. It is only a decade since the East Timor episode where Australian soldiers were pitted against Indonesian soldiers and militias. It was an ugly situation made worse by my son, a Lieutenant in the army reserve volunteering for Timor duty in the darkest hours.

Thankfully, the US had a fleet just over the horizon and a cigar chewing US general who told the Indonesians a thing or two in no uncertain manner at a meeting between the Indonesians and Australians on the border between Indonesia and East Timor. It was reliably reported at the time that he demanded Indonesia remove its soldiers from East Timor and call off the TNI militia and prevent any militias from entering East Timor. He said the US would cancel all aid to Indonesia if they didn’t and would then cancel all arms shipments to Indonesia. The US did both anyway. He then said if they still persisted the US would “bomb the crap out of them” and if this failed they would invade them.

This is what saved Australia from Indonesia’s wrath. Australian troops could have been wiped out to a man without the backing of the US.

USS Essex Talisman Sabre

USS Essex Talisman Sabre

Yet Schreer says leave China up to our ally, the US. Some fair weather friend.

The recent export cattle crisis displays the brittleness of the relationship between us and our close neighbour even when Indonesia has the most pro western government in its history.

This nation of 250 million people has the highest proportion of Muslims per head of population of any nation in the world. Indonesia is in a constant battle to contain the violent Islamist element and its many sympathizers. Westerners are regularly being targeted and murdered in that country.

Indonesia has had several coup d’état in the past where dictators have reigned with great loss of life. Yet our Ivory Tower Academics have stared into the future and infallibly advised our government that an Islamist takeover will not happen and we need no defence preparedness.

The truth is the Islamists have already claimed northern Australia as part of a future Islamic kingdom and in the event of any Coup they could have a million militia with machetes and wearing sandals roaming the north and there would not be a single thing we could do to prevent them.

Indonesian Islamists

Indonesian Islamists

Give them their trusty AK 47 sub-machine guns and grenade launchers and who knows where events like this could end. The north is a comfortable overnight rubber ducky ride from Indonesia and given the lack of security, small population and remote locations it is possible for thousands of militants to land undetected.

Schreer and White should realize diplomacy rarely works unless you are carrying a big stick.

Amphibious ships need to defend Australia

 Robert Bond   Director   Citizens for Defence

 www.citizensfordefence.org

CITIZENS FOR DEFENCE

US marine amphibious hovercraft

US marine amphibious hovercraft

Amphibious ships need to defend Australia

bobThomas Lonergan on the ASPI blog lists all the uses our amphibious ships can accomplish as well as attacking Dr Hugh White for his dislike of big ships and his desire for a fleet of 24 submarines.

Both Lonergan and White miss the point that a hard hitting defence force should be both balanced and prepared for all out war.

Lonergan states “The ADF’s developing amphibious operating concept (PDF) doesn’t envisage high-intensity conflict or major war……. Emphasis is being placed on military support to humanitarian assistance and disaster recovery, evacuation operations from unstable areas, peace-enforcement, peace-keeping, and, domestically, Defence Aid to the Civil Community (DACC)”.

Concerned citizens and Australian taxpayers never spent billions of dollars for these ships to be primarily used for “humanitarian assistance and disaster recovery”. Their first use is for the defence of Australia. They should be part of a battle group capable of amphibious operations in hostile territory. The battle group should closely follow the example of the US marines who have had many decades of firsthand experience in amphibious operations.

As for White’s 24 diesel electric dinosaur submarines, the invading force will overrun these in a few hours and then outrun them to the Australian coast. If the submarines were nuclear powered and could silently operate at 32 knots submerged indefinitely, the enemy would certainly get a hiding.

Nuclear submarine under way

Nuclear submarine under way

But there needs to be both nuclear submarines well out from our coastline harassing the enemy fleet and there needs to be a battle fleet of Australian ships under the cover of air bases in Northern Australia. This battle group should have 20 F35B VTOL stealth attack aircraft on each of our amphibious ships capable of attacking the enemy with long distance anti-ship missiles whilst the air force with the aid of fuel tanker aircraft gives cover to the fleet.

When the enemy lands on our shore the fleet could retire and regroup by replacing the F35 Fighters with helicopters and troops to be used in co-ordination with the army and air force to oppose the enemy forces.

Australia badly needs US marine size aircraft carriers for the F35B stealth fighters which could be built in Australia.

China should be the driving force for a crash modernization of the Australian defence force. It is nuclear armed. It has over 2 million troops it can call on. It has a full arsenal of ballistic missiles including anti-ship missiles. It has complete range of cruise missiles and tactical weapons.

Anti-aircraft missiles

Anti-aircraft missiles

China shows every intention of expanding its influence and borders with military threats.

The citizens of Australia deserve to be protected by a fair dinkum defence force capable of credibly assisting the US to remain influential in the Indo-Pacific region in the interests of peace and stability. The alternative is to wake up one night to see an enemy soldier driving a bayonet into your guts as is happening in so many parts of the world today.

Such a force would accomplish everything Lonergan suggested as well as providing us with a more effective defence force.

Australia shamed in Afghan war

Robert Bond   Director   Citizens for Defence

 www.citizensfordefence.org

CITIZENS FOR DEFENCE

Aussie Land Rover

Aussie Land Rover

Australia shamed in Afghan war

bobThe bravery and dedication of our soldiers fighting in Afghanistan is the only area of our defence forces that performed with distinction.

They fearlessly carried out their duties without the help of fighter aircraft, helicopters, tanks, heavily armoured personnel carriers, drones, anti missile weapons and most other high technology equipment demanded of a modern fighting force.

The Australian governments under John Howard, Julia Gillard, and Kevin Rudd starved our forces of the very equipment that was needed to ensure the safety of our troops in Afghanistan.

This resulted in the needless deaths of soldiers in Taliban ambushes because we had no armed reconnaissance drones surveying the ground ahead. Other soldiers died by sniper fire or improvised explosive devices simply because the government sent them to war in open Land Rovers more suited to chasing buffalo in the Northern territory than repulsing a Taliban ambush.

Aussie Soldier

Aussie Soldier

Other soldiers died because we had no helicopters to immediately evacuate the wounded to specialist medical care. It was common to have to wait 6 hours or more for a US or other Coalition helicopter to finish its tasks and travel long distances to make the pickup.

Deaths of fighting forces will always be inevitable in a war, but it is up to the government and the Australian people to provide our patriotic volunteer fighters with all weapons money can buy that will protect the lives of these gladiators fighting for our freedom.

The psyche of the average Australian (as reflected by the jelly-belly governments we elect) projects helplessness and pacifism beyond what is prudent for our survival given our isolated geographical position beneath billions of people to our north in the turbulent Indo-Pacific region.

These people for thousands of years have ruled with the spear, the arrow, gunpowder and now ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and a range of other tactical missiles. Democracy was unknown and human rights were determined by who had the biggest weapon.

Afghanistan was a perfect opportunity for Australia to develop its armed forces under realistic conditions in an insurgency conflict and yet our blinkered governments tried to do as little as possible to assist our Coalition partner the US. We fool no one. It is obvious to the world what little support Australia is giving to the Coalition and how we cannot even supply the forces to tame a small backward province like Oruzgan.

The simple fact is the Australian governments have so starved the military of funds in the last decade that we have no FA 18 jet fighters capable of performing in Afghanistan. We couldn’t even supply Black Hawk helicopters for our troops because of technical deficiencies. Our attack helicopters do not exist. Our Abrams M1 tanks are not battle ready because of unsuitable communications equipment. The list is long and the Minister for Defence, Senator Johnson should have to expose it to the Australian people.

Aussie soldiers on patrol

Aussie soldiers on patrol

The government refuses to come clean on any of this information claiming it is classified and would be useful to the enemy. The enemy knows more about our pathetic governments performance in providing this nation with a credible defence force than we do with their spies and cyber hacking. It is the concerned citizens, commentators, and general public our government wants to hide their dismal record on defending this country from.

Our record in Afghanistan shows Australia for what it is and that is a middle power that punches way below its weight in defence matters.