Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 2 2016 Contents 14 Defence Issue 2 2016
From page 12
Investment in people is also important, so
Defence plans to train people to work overseas.
Language and cultural awareness training will
also be increased.
Peter says the White Paper’s strategic policy
framework began its evolution on a positive
footing by encouraging the nation’s political
leaders to think two decades into the future.
In a series of deep dives on a long-term
strategic outlook, thought-provoking questions
were posed, such as: Where will China be in
2035? Where will the US be in 2035? Will
the US still be the world’s global pre-eminent
military power? Where will US power be
relative to the growing military strength of
Peter says there was a comprehensive
strategic assessment of Australia’s outlook to
2035. This was achieved by close cooperation
with agencies such as the Office of National
Assessments and departments such as Foreign
Affairs and Trade and Prime Minister and
“In the end we made the unremarkable
judgement that there’s no more than a remote
prospect of a military attack on Australian
territory by another country over the next 20
years,” he says.
“There will be tremendous economic
opportunities in our region, but also a far more
complex and uncertain strategic environment,
given the pace of change in our immediate
environment and beyond.”
The White Paper identifies six key drivers
that will shape the development of Australia’s
security environment until 2035. They are:
The relationship between the US and China is
fundamental for regional security for at least
the next 20 years, and the ability to manage
differences is critical.
Challenges to stability of the
rules-based global order
Australia’s security and prosperity relies on a
stable, rules-based global order that supports the
resolution of disputes by peaceful means and
allows free and open trade.
The growing terrorism threat
to Australia’s security
Terrorist groups such as Daesh will continue to
be a threat and, over the next 20 years, it can be
expected that new terrorist groups will emerge.
Peter says tackling this threat will be factored
into Defence’s operational and capability
State fragility within our
Peter says risks arise from uneven economic
growth, rapid population growth, crime, climate
change, social and governance challenges.
Climate change is likely to increase the demand
for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
For example: “A cyclone like Cyclone Winston,
which hit Fiji, and Cyclone Pam, which hit
Vanuatu, can literally set back those countries in
their development terms by a decade or more.”
The pace of military modernisation
in our region
Australia’s ability to maintain technology
and capability superiority in the region will
be challenged by the growth of more capable
and modern military forces in the Indo-Pacific
region to 2035 and beyond. For example, Hugh
White, the author of the 2000 White Paper,
“wasn’t writing about the submarine programs
in Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.
That’s something that we were faced with when
we were writing this White Paper,” Peter says.
Increasing security threats in
space and cyberspace
“The cyber threat to Australia is growing. It
represents a real and present risk to the ADF’s
warfighting capability, our national security and
economic prosperity,” Peter says.
Peter says from assessments of the strategic
environment and the six key drivers, new
Defence policy settings were formed.
“Importantly, the paper acknowledges
that Australia’s strategic circumstances mean
that Australia’s defence strategy cannot be
constrained by historical notions of defending
Australia at our borders and in the air-sea gap,”
“Strategic defence objectives recognise that
events far away from Australia obviously impact
our national interest, whether it’s Daesh at the
moment or other forms of instability in the
Middle East, or threats to global energy supplies
and trade routes.”
He is pleased the White Paper provides a
“comprehensive long-term plan for the safety
and security of the Australian people and the
defence or our territory and interests”.
Guidance about the priorities for international
engagement will be in the Defence International
Engagement Policy that will be issued mid-year.
An Australian soldier instructs an Iraqi counterpart at the Taji Military Complex north-west of Baghdad as part of our contribution to the fight against Daesh.
Photo: Captain Bradley Richardson
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