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The Albanese Government’s Defense Review and the Need for Increased Expenditure

The Albanese Government has supported the AUKUS partnership and conducted a defense review, with expectations of recommending immediate improvements to the Australian Defense Force (ADF) and increased defense expenditure. However, the review fell short of these expectations. In fact, the government plans to decrease defense expenditure by $1.5 billion over the next four years. Additionally, the replacement fleet of armored personnel carriers (APCs) will be reduced by two-thirds, a significant setback considering the outdated nature of the current fleet.

Defense is of utmost importance for any country, and Australia currently allocates two percent of its GDP for this purpose. However, there is a growing consensus that at least three percent of GDP should be spent on defense to adequately protect the nation. The source of funding is a secondary concern, whether it involves abolishing tax cuts or reducing other government expenditures.

The late Senator Jim Molan emphasized the need for Australia to have sufficient reserves of fuel and war stocks. In recent years, he further stressed the importance of spending three to four percent of GDP to cover potential contingencies.

The Albanese Government’s decision to cut back on defense is concerning. The Australian Army requires new armored fighting vehicles and tanks, as demonstrated by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Moreover, there is a need for increased war stocks to extend the army’s operational capabilities beyond the current two weeks. The development of indigenous missiles is crucial, and the original plan for procuring 100 F35 Joint Strike Fighters should be reinstated, rather than settling for the revised total of 72. The consideration of acquiring F35Bs, the V/STOL version, would also necessitate the presence of an aircraft carrier. However, the acquisition of unmanned drones, both for use in submarines and aerial attacks, is urgent. Missiles with a range of 1,000-2,000 kilometers should also be obtained to deter potential aggressors.

In terms of naval capabilities, it is crucial to build 12 or more corvette-size vessels armed with surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles, providing a critical offensive capability in Australia’s northern approaches. The necessity of proceeding with the F26 Hunter class frigates, being jointly built with the UK, remains debatable. However, any new frigate acquisition must be fit for its intended purpose.

It is prudent to plan for a worst-case scenario, where Australia is overrun by a hostile power. This should involve the formation of a competent “home army” force, similar to the Polish Home Army during WWII, to effectively resist any aggression against the nation.

Source: The Spy Who Billed Me