Rebuilding our defence force after decades of neglect

15 September 2008, ABC Radio National, "Australia Talks"

Australia's Future Defence

While the defence force is currently busy with several operational deployments overseas and suffers serious skill shortages, the government has just announced plans to expand the ADF.

The intention is to strategically position for current and future military build-ups in our region over the next 30 or so years. Kevin Rudd particularly highlighted the role of the navy but also noted the the need for a balanced defence force.

The announcement is anticipating a detailed Defence white paper to be released early next year which is expected to recommend an increase in defence spending levels to cancel out comparative neglect over the last 30 years and to face the future with some confidence.

Is the expansion of our defence force the right step or does it increase the risks of a regional "arms race"?

What is the best mix of diplomatic, military and development measures to help achieve current and future stability in the Asia-Pacific region?

This program is a panel discussion with one of the four panellists being ADA executive director, Neil James.