ISSUE 150 : Sep/Oct - 2001 - Australian Defence Force Journal

adfjournal.adc.edu.au

ISSUE 150 : Sep/Oct - 2001 - Australian Defence Force Journal

A Force for All Seasons ...and all the right reasons35By Lieutenant Commander John P. Robinson, RANR“ …The fleet and the army acting in concert seem to be the natural bulwark of these Kingdoms.”Thomas More Molyneux, Conjunct Expeditions (1759)“ …Amphibious flexibility is the greatest strategic asset that a sea power possesses.”Captain Sir Basil Liddell Hart, Deterrence or Defence (1960)IntroductionThe Defence White Paper, Defence 2000provides the ADF with the firstcomprehensive and detailed blueprint forDefence in 25 years. It enunciates Australia’sstrategic policy for the next decade andprovides details for the further development ofthe ADF, in the form of the Defence CapabilityPlan. Whilst Defence 2000 provides the ADFwith clear strategic guidance on the wayahead, it is timely to review the capabilitiesrequired of the ADF and to critically examinewhether the current ADF structure issufficiently optimised to meet theserequirements. The current structure reflectsestablished and proven capabilities, but thesecapabilities and their relevance to Australia’sfuture Defence strategy must now be reevaluatedto ensure that they meet therequirements enunciated in Defence 2000.The development of future capabilities is avexed issue, where threat assessments and theretention of embedded core capabilities havecombined to forge the current structure andcomposition of the ADF.The end of the Cold War with the prospectof greater stability in Central Europe hasparadoxically seen the proliferation of greaterinstability in many other parts of the world.The proliferation of new conflicts and thecontinuation of many old ones providesurgency to the efforts being made by the UN toresolve a number of conflicts and provide UNpeacekeeping forces wherever possible.Within our own region, the recent events inEast Timor, Bougainville, the Solomon Islandsand Fiji are a timely reminder that Australia ispart of a region that is undergoing radicalchange, where limited regional conflict mayerupt with little or no warning. Political,racial and religious unrest continues to pose athreat to Australian interests and stabilitythroughout the region. In addition, theoccurrence of natural disasters will continue toplace an onus of responsibility upon suchcountries as Australia and New Zealand toprovide humanitarian aid within the region.Australia’s rapid and robust response to thesituation in East Timor in September 1999, andthe deployment of the INTERFET Force,highlights the prominence being givenworldwide to “out of theatre” operations orexpeditionary warfare and the need to havehighly mobile forces available to respondadequately to a variety of contingencies. It isnow opportune to consider whether theimportance being given to “out of theatre” orExpeditionary operations by such countries asthe US and UK is relevant to Australia in the21st century. In re-evaluating the ADF’sability to implement the requirements ofDefence 2000, it will be critical to Australia’ssecurity that all aspects of Defence areexamined and their relevance to Australia’s

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