Robert Bond Director Citizens for Defence
CITIZENS FOR DEFENCE
Defence analysts on another planet
Andrew Davies is a senior analyst of defence at ASPI who advocates Australia continues to spend a minuscule 1.6% of GDP on defence condemning this country to unacceptable risks of intimidation or worse by Asian nations in the region over the coming decades.
Nowhere in his article has Andrew estimated the extra risk his misguided suggestions will wreak on this nation if his bluff is called. How many lives will be lost, how many women raped, and how much property will be destroyed or commandeered, all because government and their analysts want to save a few pieces of silver in the short term?
Nor does Andrew mention that our ally, the US has been spending 4-5% of GDP since WW2 on its defence and by default, our defence. This is 3% of GDP more than we pay and amounts to a direct subsidy to Australia of around $46 billion dollars in this financial year alone. Australia has been bludging on the US in similar fashion for the past 70 years and yet Andrew and many other analysts accept this reprehensible rorting of an ally as reasonable.
It is hard to fathom why defence analysts would advocate any security for Australia less than the maximum we can afford. Andrew actually admits no one can predict what conflicts may lay ahead in the future. It is laughable suggesting all Australia can aspire to is a stoush with a defenceless island state on our northern perimeters. This is not defence but an abhorrent cop-out of our responsibility to protect this nation to the best of our ability.
Australia should be capable of running a Falkland’s operation three times more effective than the British did, albeit at a third of the distance the British had to travel. What is stopping this nation from reaching its potential except spineless politicians and subservient analysts?
Shouldn’t the bare bases at RAAF Scherger, Curtin, and Learmonth be developed into hardened forward defence airfield with underground fuel and weapons storage, top end radar and missile fortifications as well as a few stealth fighters ready to go on each base?
Our defence forces need to be set up so we can project air power 2000 kilometres out to sea from our northern coastal bases in a matter of days. We should have large comprehensive exercises twice a year carrying this out and improving our performance with new equipment and tactics.
If our so-called analysts had been halfway determined to defend Australia, they would have bluntly told the politicians that we need nuclear submarines for our vast oceans and seas and to defend our amphibious ships. Two small aircraft carriers should be built that could accommodate 20 stealth VTOL F35 fighters and associated aircraft on each ship.
With more air warfare destroyers and nuclear submarines this could become a small hard hitting battle group which could be capable of credible amphibious operations for Australia’s defence or in an alliance with coalition forces. In Australian waters it could operate under the added air cover of ground based stealth attack aircraft extended by fuel tankers.
What is the point of having half a fleet incapable of anything but assisting cyclone hit victims or earthquake events? It’s one and only true purpose must be for the maximum protection of Australia and this can only be achieved if it is built in to a coherent fleet with regular exercises with the air force and army to hone the whole defence forces war fighting capabilities.
Most of the university professors who call themselves defence analysts don’t get this and live on another planet. Australian citizens want palpable defence assets that we can see performing regular exercises which proves their capability to defend this nation if “sh*t happens”.
Retired general Jim Molan is not one of them. He has seen the ravages of war in Iraq at first hand and knows that defence capability cannot be compromised by mealy-mouthed analysts advocating a policy of “let’s hope for good luck” and save a bit of silver.