"Defender": Summer 2007/08

 "Defender" (Summer 2007/08)

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



Blogging a Dead Horse: Can Australia persist with our military effort in Afghanistan, and help win that war, without much improved standards of informed public debate in Australia about our commitment? As to facts to dispel the myths plaguing the debate, and even within the obvious  constraints of operational security, much more information could and should be released by the Government and the ADF to allow informed debate on the issues.

Letters to the Editor:

Deputy prime-ministers and their varying interest and expertise in defence issues, prime-ministerial portfolio expertise before becoming PM, where should the constitutional war-making power sit, need for sustained defence investment not another round of budget cuts, strategic effects of next-generation submarines questioned, debate over the future air combat capability and its too-often too-personal nature, argument mapping defence capability debates to expose polemicists, using ancient history in modern strategic debate, condescending and even racist attitudes underpinning Australian strategy in World War II, appalling media coverage of many defence issues.



Asia's strategic architecture needs a common security mechanism along the lines of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). This focus was unfortunately lost amidst loose terminology by the Government, and media blather, about developing wider-ranging but therefore much less likely economic and political groupings in the region.

The new Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Procurement, Greg Combet, is doing a good job. The appointment should be upgraded to a junior ministry to reflect the importance of the task and the financial delegations involved. It would also help retain Combet in the position for a useful period rather than him moving elsewhere on promotion and incurring the risk of him being replaced by a dud.

There are numerous professional, practical and moral problems with renewed proposals to hire temporary guest workers from South Pacific countries as soldiers in the Army.

With the expiry of the unnecessary gag order negotiated in his plea bargain after pleading guilty before a US Military Commission, David Hicks has no legal restrictions from telling his side of the story. As with the example of Mamdouh Habib, the sooner the Australian public can weigh up Hicks’ account first-hand, and make its own judgements about him directly, the better.

Updated legislation has finally closed the technical loopholes and lack of specific legislation that allowed Wilfred Burchett to escape prosecution for assistance to the enemy in time of war in the 1950s and 1960s. This lack of legislation also prevented David Hicks from being tried for criminal offences in Australia and consequently delayed his release from detention as a captured combatant at Guantanamo Bay. This is good news for all Australians and especially comforting to members of our defence force who have been badly let down by a succession of Australian governments since the early 1950s on this issue.



Achieving Our Strategic Sting: Bringing on the Next-Generation Submarines by Rear Admiral Peter Briggs (Retd)

Afghanistan: How Much is Enough by Major General Terry Liston (Retd)

The Future of Intelligence Support to Government and the Australian Community by Paul O'Sullivan

Warring Words: Taking the War on Terrorism Seriously by Dr Rod Lyon

Fallujah: Close Combat in Complex Terrain by Dr Paul Monk

We Were Soldiers Once: The Decline of the Royal Australian Infantry Corps by Major Jim Hammett


Reviews and Review Essays:

The First Day of the Blitz, September 7, 1940 by Peter Stansky
(reviewed by Dr John McCarthy)

Britain's Greatest Defeat: Singapore, 1942 by Dr Alan Warren
(reviewed by Glenn Wahlert)

Duty First: A History of the Royal Australian Regiment by Professor David Horner and Dr Jean Bou
(reviewed by Brigadier Chris Appleton (Retd))

HMAS Tobruk: Warship for Every Crisis by Rear Admiral Ken Doolan (Retd)
(reviewed by Commodore Peter Leschen)

Doves Over the Pacific: In Pursuit of Peace and Stability in Bougainville by Reuben R.E. Bowd
(reviewed by Dr Bob Breen)

China's Naval Strategy in the 21st Century: The Turn to Mahan by Dr James Holmes and Dr Toshi Yoshihara
(Reviewed by Commodore Jack McCaffrie (Retd))

The Circuit: An ex-SAS Soldier's True Account of One of the Most Powerful and Secretive Industries Spawned by the War on Terror by Bob Shepherd (with M.P. Sabga)
(reviewed by Tony Watts)

Killing Civilians: Method, Madness and Morality in War by Dr Hugo Slim
(a review essay by Dr Hugh Smith)

Australia 2050: An Examination of Australia's Condition, Outlook and Options for the First Half of the 21st Century by Gregory Copley, Andrew Pickford and Barry Patterson
(reviewed by Tom Magee)