"Defender": Spring 2007


The complete issue may be downloaded here. Individual pdf versions of key commentary, articles and reviews may be downloaded below. 



Admitting past mistakes, not politicising history: Renewed slanging matches between the new government and the new opposition over past defence procurement decisions have sought to paint various blunders or successes within purely party-political narratives, rather than objectively examine what actually occurred and how the mistakes can be prevented from recurring.

Letters to the Editor:

Deputy prime-ministers and their varying interest and expertise in defence issues, low number of war veterans in parliament causes concern about first-hand knowledge of war, further reform of the Department of Defence needed, defence expenditure myths need exposing, prioritising defence investment, comparison of the Singapore and DOA schools of strategic thought, media coverage of ADF operations, fairer indexation needed for ADF superannuation and compensation payments.



The Rudd Government's introduction of increased ministerial oversight of the Department of Defence is a major reform that has been too long delayed.

The power to wage war is split between the executive and the legislature in Westminster system parliamentary democracies. These time-tested checks and balances are important.

Proposals by the minor parties in the Senate to limit a Government's power to wage war, by requiring parliament to authorise all deployments of the ADF outside Australian territory, are impractical and need very careful study on constitutional, strategic and moral grounds.

The world-wide-web is a major threat to totalitarian and authoritarian regimes generally. But it can also  undermine the ability of liberal democracies to wage war effectively by giving aid and comfort to their enemies.

Modern counter-subversion measures mean relearning some old lessons, especially about reinforcing traditional messages about how and why liberal democracies wage war.



Australia's Strategic Sting: Maximising Our Future Underwater Warfare Capability
by Rear Admiral Peter Briggs (Retd)

Australia's Strategic Outlook: A Longer-term View
by Peter Varghese

Updating International Humanitarian Law and the Laws of Armed Conflict for the Wars of the 21st Century
by Associate Professor Gregory Rose

Unintended Consequences Haunt the United States at War
by Associate Professor Ian Bickerton and Professor Emeritus Kenneth Hagan

Fixing Defence's Most Expensive Mis-step
by Robert Marlow

Tracked Arguments and Soft Ground: Reflections on Public Argument About the Abrams Tank Decision
by Dr Paul Monk



The Battle of ANZAC Ridge: 25 April 1915 by Peter Williams
(reviewed by John Donovan)

Battle Order 204: A Bomber Pilot's Story by Christobel Mattingley
(reviewed by Dr John McCarthy)

Nemesis: The Battle for Japan, 1944-45 by Max Hastings
(reviewed by Dr Peter Stanley)

Going Back: Australian Veterans Return to Viet Nam by Gary McKay
(reviewed by Dr Michael McKernan)

The President, The Pope and the Prime Minister by John O'Sullivan
(reviewed by Michael O'Connor)

Guests of the Ayatollah: The West's First Battle in the War with Militant Islam by Mark Bowden
(reviewed by Neil James)


Brigadier James Osmond Furner, AO, CBE, DSM (Retd)

Major General Paul Cullen, AC, CBE, DSO*, ED, FCA (Retd)