ASPI suggests
31 May 2013|
Indonesian peacekeepers with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) prepare to leave their base for a patrol near Al-Taybe, South Lebanon.

In case you missed it, yesterday was the launch of Mark Thomson’s magnus opus for the year, The Cost of Defence: ASPI Defence Budget Brief 2013–2014. And the cost of Defence? It’s AUD$69,081,980.82 a day.

What about the cost of a UN peacekeeper? The answer is US$1,028 a month. David Bosco’s new Foreign Policy piece looks at the military and political value of the blue helmets which Colum Lynch describes as the “UN’s own caste system”: richer states foot the bill for UN peacekeeping while poorer ones provide the troops.

Who is Obama’s Kissinger? In the latest issue of Foreign Affairs, Michael Hirsch evaluates Hillary Clinton’s legacy and the soft-power touch to US foreign policy.

Xinhua news reports that Indonesia is developing its own ‘cyber army’ to combat attacks against government websites in recent years. The Indonesian Defence Ministry’s Director General of Security Potentials said that the ministry would develop a ‘National Cyber Security’ system.

Speaking of cyber security, ANU’s Des Ball was interviewed by Four Corners about potential Chinese hacking of Australian government and business assets.

Lockheed Martin revealed a $US4.5 billion ($4.6bn) reduction in costs in 2012 of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program in an update report to US congress. It’s worth noting because it’s the first year a cost reduction has been announced and might save Australia millions.

Sticking with the F-35, the US Navy has identified the modifications required for landing helicopter dock (LHD) amphibious assault ships to accommodate the new fighter aircraft.

The 12th IISS Asia Security Summit aka Shangri-La Dialogue starts today, and ASPI’s Peter Jennings, Tanya Ogilvie-White and Graeme Dobell will be reporting from there. Follow the events in realtime via IISS on Twitter (@iiss_org), especially tweets with hashtag #IISS_Asia, or follow the official blog Shangri-La Voices.

Lastly, frequent Strategist contributor on African issues, Sabrina Joy Smith, attended the Building Sustainable Peace in Africa: Engaging Australians International Engagement Workshop held at the University of Melbourne, 3 May 2013. Her report on the meeting is here (PDF).


Canberra: the Centre for Democratic Institutions’ Annual Address will be delivered by The Hon. Theo Zurenuoc MP, Speaker of the National Parliament of Papua New Guinea. His speech is entitled ‘Restoring the people’s confidence: Restoring the people’s parliament’, Wednesday 5 June 6 – 7pm at Molongo Theatre, ANU. Registration is essential.

The Australian Red Cross, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Centre for International and Public Law at the ANU College of Law is holding a panel discussion of the Arms Trade Treaty with Dr Greg French, Ms Monica Silverwood and Dr Stephanie Koorey, Tuesday 11 June, Law Theatre (ANU), 6 – 8pm.

Melbourne: Former Head of Mission in Jakarta, Bill Farmer AO, recently delivered the keynote speech at our inaugural Australia-Indonesia Defence & Security Forum. He’ll be sharing his thoughts on bilateral relations in an election year at an AIIA event, Dyason House, Wednesday 12 June 12.15 – 2pm.

Natalie Sambhi is an analyst at ASPI and editor of The Strategist. Image courtesy of Flickr user United Nations Photo.