The Strategist Hottest 10.0
27 Jan 2020|

It’s that time again. Coinciding with the biggest musical countdown of the year is the biggest countdown of a defence and strategy site’s most popular articles of 2019.

This year saw a couple of perennial favourites drop from the highs of previous years. Only one piece specifically on the F-35 made it into this year’s top 10, compared with four last year.

China dropped out of the list entirely when in 2018 it made three appearances.

In 2019 our readers were most interested in investigating the whole range of what the Australian Defence Force does, starting at number 10 with Brendan Nicholson’s report from HMAS Canberra on the navy’s Indo-Pacific task force, followed by John Coyne and James Rickard on the need for the army’s new armoured vehicles to be based in northern Australia.

ADF chief Angus Campbell’s speech highlighting the dangers posed by authoritarian states’ use of political warfare, written up by Brendan Nicholson, was next in line and was only just pipped by Nitin Gupta’s piece looking at the future of the Australian Army.

Next up was a piece that touched on our F-35 favourite, my report from the Avalon air show on the launch of the ‘loyal wingman’ drone concept and the personnel challenges facing the Royal Australian Air Force.

Another John Coyne piece was next, with his discussion of the problem of visa overstayers shifting the talk away from defence to border security for a moment.

Marcus Hellyer had the next two spots, first with a piece on how the ADF should and shouldn’t be used in coming up with an effective national response to the bushfire crisis Australia is still in the grips of. This article took off, making it to number 4 on the list despite being published with only two weeks left in the year. We suspect the discussion of the response to a changing climate might make some appearances in 2020’s list.

Number 3 was his look at calls for Australia to purchase the short take-off and landing ‘B’ variant of the F-35.

The top two pieces for 2019 were about the same event and have ended up being among the most popular Strategist pieces of all time. Number 2 was a joint effort by Marcus Hellyer (again!), Nathan Ruser and Aakriti Bachhawat that examined India’s strike on a purported terrorist camp in Pakistan in retaliation for an attack in Kashmir.

Taking out the top spot, however, was Nathan Ruser’s solo piece on the Balakot strike, which used satellite imagery to call into question India’s claims that the facility was destroyed and hundreds of militants were killed.

And that rounds it out. Thanks to all of our authors and readers for supporting us throughout the year. We hope you enjoy what we’ve got planned for 2020.

Here’s the full top 10 for 2019:

10. Royal Australian Navy’s Indo-Pacific task force on show to the region, by Brendan Nicholson

9. Australia’s new armoured vehicles must operate from the north, by John Coyne and James Rickard

8. ADF chief: West faces a new threat from ‘political warfare’, by Brendan Nicholson

7. The Australian Army should focus on what it does best, by Nitin Gupta

6. ‘Loyal wingman’ drone won’t solve RAAF’s biggest challenge, by Jack Norton

5. Australia’s other border security problem: visa overstayers, by John Coyne

4. Fighting fires is not the Australian Defence Force’s job, by Marcus Hellyer

3. Plan ‘B’ for the F-35, by Marcus Hellyer

2. India’s strike on Balakot: a very precise miss? by Marcus Hellyer, Nathan Ruser and Aakriti Bachhawat

1. Were India’s airstrikes in Pakistan a strategy for public approval? by Nathan Ruser

We’ll be back to our usual programming tomorrow after a short break for the Australia Day public holiday.