What’s in a word?

Statements of mutual appreciation are never far from centre stage at an Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) meeting. In 2002, both sides agreed that the meeting came at a time “when the bilateral security alliance …

Trunk call for AUSMIN

When US officials of the calibre of Pacific Commander Admiral Samuel Locklear and Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell say they are worried about Australian defence spending, you can take it as read that they …

An Indonesia strategy for Australia

Indonesia seems to know where it’s going. At least that’s the impression that Indonesia’s Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan’s gave in his recent talk at the ANU discussing his country’s trajectory towards 2030. His speech envisions …

The future of the Five Power Defence Arrangements

The Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) is often overlooked as a regional security institution, and is a curious security device that embodies several paradoxes. The Arrangements’ most important roles are not discussed openly. And the …

People, the capability that matters most

Military organisations have a formalism for describing capability that involves a number of factors but there’s distressing tendency to focus on equipment and systems at the expense of some of the others. This focus is …

ASPI suggests

Here’s our weekly round-up of articles, reports and events in the strategy, defence and security world. The latest issue of Foreign Affairs sports a Linda Robinson piece on the future of special operations. Back in …

Australia’s Antarctic ambitions

Our Antarctic claim is about the size of Australia, minus Queensland. So it’s pleasing to see that the new Asian Century White Paper gave a decent acknowledgement to the cold continent (p. 248): The development …

The Asian Century: underbelly

Security and prosperity in the Asian Century have a dark underbelly: the region has witnessed a rapid and complex proliferation of organised criminal networks. They have had considerable impact on economic and social development, the …

Rebalancing or jockeying for position?

Sometimes an aside illuminates the important underlying drivers of issues. At Wednesday’s ASPI–Hewlett-Packard Defence and Security Lunch, retired US Admiral Gary Roughead mused briefly about rebalancing of US forces to the Pacific. Pressed later to …

Sold the dummy on the Defence budget?

Have we been sold a dummy pass on the impact of the defence budget cuts? Statements by the Defence Minister that that future plans are merely delayed may seem reasonable when money is tight and …