ASPI suggests
12 Feb 2013|
President Barack Obama gives his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol, Jan. 27, 2010. (Photo was shot with a tilt-shift lens) (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Welcome back for our pick of the defence and security world’s articles over the past week and listing of interesting events.

Navy and fleet sizes

The US Navy has reduced its fleet requirement from 313 to 306 ships. If you’ve been following Andrew Davies’ graphs of the week on the US Navy and fleet size, you won’t be surprised.

Nuclear security

With President Obama set to deliver his State of the Union address later today, the team over at Arms Control Wonk have distilled the best quotes about nuclear weapons and disarmament from all past SOTU addresses, going back to President Harry Truman.

There’s a little inter-blog discussion going on about nuclear superiority, sparked off by Erik Voeten’s post on The Monkey Cage which questions conventional wisdom on the subject, followed by a response by Daniel Nexon over at Duck of Minerva.

Japan and China

The Diplomat’s Trefor Moss argues that, despite a hawkish PM, it’s unlikely Japan will go to war with China and gives seven reasons to back that up.

Over at CIMSEC’s blog, Felix Seidler has a piece that asks, will China’s Navy be operating soon in the Atlantic?

Cyber security

RAND Corporation has a new study out on how to characterise cyber security threats. Meanwhile, NPR has a segment (transcript included) on the Pentagon’s offensive on cyberattacks.

Special operations

Set aside some time for this article by Phil Bronstein about the man who shot Osama bin Laden. This long and often gritty article (warning: this is an earthy piece with some graphic descriptions and language to match) is an intimate look at the shooter’s life, his account of the raid, and his thoughts on Zero Dark Thirty. Around those elements, Bronstein weaves a one-sided critique of what’s waiting for the shooter after a life in SEAL Team 6: ‘Nothing. No pension, no health care, and no protection for himself or his family.’

Irregular warfare

Another worthy longer read is Max Boot’s recent Foreign Affairs essay on the evolution of irregular warfare. Boot’s piece looks at concepts like the ‘guerrilla/nomad paradox’ through to what lessons irregular wars and counterinsurgencies in the 20th and 21th centuries can teach us.


Canberra: If you’re a young NatSec professional in the capital this week, head over to ANU for the special launch of the Kokoda Foundation’s Future Strategic Leaders Program for 2013 tomorrow Wednesday 13 February from 5.30pm.

Also at the ANU, Professor Benjamin Reilly will be speaking about democracy in Southeast Asia and its relationship to China on Tuesday 19 February at 12.30pm.

Lastly, Professor Nigel White will examine the thorny question of Security Council mandates and the use of lethal force by peacekeepers on Thursday 21 February at 6pm at the ANU.

Brisbane: RUSI Qld is hosting Squadron Leader John Jenkins, XO 5 Flight RAAF Amberley who’ll speak on the operational role of the Heron UAV on Wednesday 20 February, RSVP by tomorrow 13 February.

Melbourne: If you’re in Melbourne next week, the Hon Dr Craig Emerson MP, Minister for Trade and Competitiveness, will be speaking about the Asian Century White Paper at an AIIA lunch from 12.15pm on Thursday 19 February, RSVP by 14 February.

Jakarta-based readers, pencil in 28 February for the launch of the Australia Indonesia Youth Association’s Symposium Series where Dewi Fortuna Anwar, senior advisor to Indonesian Vice President Boediono, will be discussing Australia–Indonesia relations.

Image courtesy of Flickr user The White House.