Bioprospecting in the frozen continent

Guest editor Anthony Bergin If I were an Australian scientist excited by the prospect of novelty in Antarctic-derived organic material or processes, I might have a tough time getting there, collecting my samples and bringing …

Cutting our cloth – part II

In my previous post, I found myself agreeing with Jim Molan that the ADF was in danger of entering a period of serious decline in its ability to maintain capability. The combination of tight budgets and …

Dennis Richardson and Arthur Tange: part II

My previous column compared the only Australian mandarins who have headed both Foreign Affairs and Defence, Dennis Richardson and Arthur Tange. To further pursue that comparison, step forward two other mandarins: Philip Flood, former Secretary …

Is Antarctica demilitarised?

Guest editor Anthony Bergin Article 1 of the Antarctic Treaty provides that Antarctica ‘shall be used for peaceful purposes only’. It prohibits ‘any measures of a military nature, such as the establishment of military bases …

Cutting our cloth – part I

Jim Molan wrote recently that the ADF is ‘…being pushed into a state where its capabilities are at, or will soon be at, a state from which they will not be able to be revived …

Dennis Richardson and Arthur Tange: part I

With his appointment as the Secretary of the Defence Department last year, Dennis Richardson has joined Arthur Tange as the only public servant to have headed both the departments of Foreign Affairs and Defence. Given …

ASPI suggests

China released a new Defence White Paper. Lots of commentary on that, including from the BBC, NYT, and The Australian. In particular it seems that China didn’t include a no-first-use statement about its nuclear arsenal. …

TPP is politics by other means

Mark’s explanation of what is complex terrain is pithy. Asia has two free trade agreements, one championed by the US at the expense of China (TPP), and one via ASEAN which includes China but not …

Percent of GDP spent on Defence is a straw man

Surely the discussion (see yesterday’s posts from Andrew Davies and Graeme Dobell) about average percentage of GDP allocated to defence investment is a straw man floated by the Minister for Defence. Somewhat successfully it seems. Defence …

Table of the week – recent defence budgets

As Graeme Dobell’s account of Defence Minister Stephen Smith’s speech suggests, there was scepticism in the audience about his claim that the defence budget over the past twelve years averaged out at a little over …

North Korea’s changing nuclear posture

Recent posts by Tanya Ogilvie-White, Ron Huisken, and Rod Lyon provide stimulating perspectives on North Korea’s evolving strategy and international responses to it. The lion’s share of recent commentary on North Korea has tended to …

Air/Sea/Land Battle

I spent September 1984 sleeping in German forests and barnyards. It was Exercise Lionheart and my regiment, the Royal Yeomanry, was providing rear area security for the British Army of the Rhine. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the …