Monday, May 04, 2009

Australian defence white paper vs. "Canada First Defence Strategy"

The Australian Department of Defence has just released a very extensive White Paper, "Defending Australia in the Asia Pacific Century: Force 2030" (via fm in "Comments" here); nothing similar can be expected from our government. By the way, the government's "Canada First Defence Strategy" finally emerged in print as a fairly slim 22 page document last June, over a month after the "strategy" itself was first announced with only a news release and backgrounders as documentation.

It is notable in the Canadian paper that there is no discussion of how the size, composition and equipment of the the three services are related to the missions they are supposed to carry out. Yet such consideration is absolutely essential for any coherent and effective long term strategy. Instead all three services will simply continue doing what they have been doing--and without, I am almost certain, enough funding to do all those things well, indeed without enough funding to do all of them with even minimal effectiveness. Now take a look at the areas covered in the Australian paper. And note this in a report on the Australian paper:
...It offers a pretty solid prescription for the way in which the Australian Defence Force ought to be redeveloped as we go out into the middle parts of this century. So it's very long term.

It puts together, I think, a reasonable suite of arguments as to why the capabilities are required by the Defence Force...
And compare the future funding promises (and that's all they are, no guarantees):

...the Government, in Budget 2008, augmented the automatic annual rise in Defence funding from 1.5 percent to 2 percent starting in fiscal year 2011-12. Over the next 20 years, this increase is expected to expand the Defence budget from approximately $18 billion in 2008-09, to over $30 billion by 2027-28...
That increase is not related to inflation, i.e. it is not necessarily much of an increase at all.

The Government’s financial plan for Defence involves.

• 3 per cent real growth in the Defence budget to 2017-18;
• 2.2 per cent real growth in the Defence budget from 2018-19 to 2030;
• 2.5 per cent fixed indexation to the Defence budget from 2009-10 to
That's over and above inflation. Meanwhile, Australian and Canadian defence spending in 2008 (US number 1); Australia's population is two-thirds that of Canada:
13. Australia $US19.74 billion
14. Spain $US19.37 billion
15. Canada $US16.19 billion..
Stories in the Aussie press on the paper here and here.

Update thought: The Labour Party forms the Australian government.


Blogger Thomas said...

Just another government that has screwed over the Forces.

1:44 p.m., May 04, 2009  
Blogger Vinland said...

I'm so desperate about Ottawa and the Canadian Forces.

4:07 p.m., May 04, 2009  

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