Introducing Australia’s Antarctic challenge

Guest editor Anthony Bergin  Here’s Australia’s Antarctic scorecard: We claim 42% of Antarctica – an area roughly the size of Australia minus Queensland We’ve been there for over a century, and one of Antarctica’s greatest …

Graph of the week – Moore’s Law

This week’s graph isn’t news in its own right. Moore’s Law—which exists in various formulations—concerns the rate of increase in computer performance. It’s well known and has been around for almost fifty years now. But …

Defence: the most fundamental task of government?

When Prime Minister Gillard announced the National Security Strategy in January this year, she said: ‘national security is the most fundamental task of government’. Indeed Section 51 of the Constitution provides the Commonwealth with powers …

Ross Terrill’s long road to China

Ross Terrill’s life course and professional experience mirror much of what has happened in Australian geopolitics and economic life since WWII. The country lad growing up in Gippsland started with the ‘umbilical cord’ view of …

Two thoughts on the DPRK question

Tanya Ogilvie-White’s recent article is a thoughtful and sensible piece that sparked two thoughts. First, the proposition that Chinese and US interests in respect of the DPRK are beginning to align means, I believe, that …

North Korea: still sliding towards the abyss?

Spurred on by Tanya Ogilvie-White’s post on Friday, I want to add some thoughts to the mix on the current situation on the Korean peninsula. What do we know about what’s really driving decision-making in …

Wars of necessity: naive militarism

Jim Molan’s polemical article in Quadrant (March 2013) (and his précis on The Strategist last week) presents a target-rich environment. Putting aside what I’ll describe as Jim’s robust style of argument, he addresses the two …

ANZUS and the alliance security dilemma

Future challenges to the US–Australia alliance will revolve around tensions inherent in what Glenn Snyder identifies as ‘the alliance security dilemma’. Modern alliances are characterised by the dual fears of abandonment and entrapment—the client state …

Australia still might face the China choice

Peter Jennings’ recent op-ed in The Australian (PDF) recognises some of the pressing issues confronting Australian strategists, but fails to identify an underlying cause. Two of the issues­­­­­­ he addresses discretely—divergent Australian and American views …

A strategy-free vantage point

The March 2013 edition of Quadrant magazine features an essay I wrote examining defence policy during the Rudd and Gillard governments. The essay will form a chapter in a book to be published this month …

Drones and the kill-decision-making loop

Globally, state use of armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV aka ‘drone’) technology has gone ahead in leaps and bounds in recent years as they have provided significant advantages in counter-terrorism and warfare. The US, for example, has …

Culture matters for the ADF

Against the backdrop of the recent culture debates within the Australian Defence Force (ADF), the Australian Army Journal recently sought submissions for an upcoming ‘special culture edition’. The decision to focus an entire edition of …