Australia can defend itself


Throughout history Australian security thinking was predicated on the notion that Australia could not be defended on the basis of its own population and resources. The idea was that it would require the help of a great and powerful friend. In the 1980s we showed that Australia could defend itself: with a carefully designed force structure and a strategic posture focused on controlling the Sea-Air Gap. If you control the “ocean moat” that protects Australia’s northern approaches then Australia can be defended with its own resources, including the mobilisation of civil resources through the Alice Springs to Darwin railway.

Professor Desmond Ball, 1947-2016
Self defence in the above context is predicated on a high degree of self reliance. As Australia inexorably slides away from a strong manufacturing base where peacetime production lines could be transitioned intto war time production lines, the 'ocean moat' concept becomes somewhat superfluous. Superfluous because it doesn't buy Australia any time to convert to a wartime footing if the manufacturing base is not there to repair, replace, maintain military and ancillary hardware in a fast, furious and sustained assault by a determined enemy. All an adversary has to do is build hundreds/thousands of smallish disposable boats to bring men and materiel across and there wouldn't be enough resources to stop the flood! The ocean moat concept is wishful thinking not backed up by historical precedence, nor put to the test to demonstrate workability. The Alice Springs - Darwin Railway could be cut in numerous places in one air strike or by small sabotage teams. Like the D-Day scenario - once they have landed in force there is not much you can do to reverse your fortunes. If you advertised to all and sundry your northern focused and northern based defence infrastructure and backed it up with placing your key defence assets up north, then how would you protect the soft southern underbelly of Australia, militarily speaking, to an adversary with scores of special forces capability carrying submarines, who could land such teams without detection? What protects Australia's northern aopproaches is the weather e.g. cyclones and mass floods, unseasonal and damaging weather, but during the good weather periods Australia's defence would be highly exposed to sustained attack.
Greg Jarosch 4 years 11 months ago
I agree with Greg's sentiments. In addition, modern technology and globalised finance eliminates all moats and Siegfried lines. If it comes to war, killing at a distance is increasingly carried out from an armchair - so watch out Australia. What is left of our resources (not people) will continue to get more and more valuable, though a few servants might (just) be useful :-) Our best protection is prediction, co-operation and intelligent evasion, not hopeless aggression. Especially not aggression in support of other interests than ours and such-like posturing.
Eric Coote 4 years 11 months ago
I believe we could defend ourselfs until help came from a larger ally. We have a good quality of weapons and highly trained forces ontop of reservists. I believe a smart enemy would attack with 3 large forces landing between Brisbane/Sydney, 2nd force between Adelaide and Melbourne. Once ashore would use our Highways to divide to take all cities including Canberra. The 3rd would capture Fremantle/Perth.This would leave Western Australian Capitals Darwin and Hobart isolated without room to retreat or gather futher supplies as well would cutting shipping lanes. Attacking Australia's heartland makes more sense. Australians believe attacks will always come from the North. A smart enemy will hit you where you least expect.
John 4 years 3 months ago
A good example for Australia is Israel. We should have the same mentality about defending our country as they do. They don't sit around waiting for the US to save them. They do their own stuff and they are less than half our population and gdp. Imagine what we could do.
Jason 3 years 3 months ago
I strongly feel Australia should have become a nuclear armed power long ago. After 229 years of European settlement and its active role in global conflicts Australia still lacks national maturity and international prowess compared to nuclear armed states of Israel and Pakistan.
aziz 2 years 4 days ago

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