Australia's structural budget deficit is due to discretionary spending rather than our defence capabilities where investment is essential but has already been cut savagely in recent years.
Letter to The Age
Tuesday, 29 October 2013
(published Thursday, 31 October 2013
Peter Allan’s puzzlement (Letters, 29/10) is easily resolved by resort to the facts.
Defence investment should be exempted from the Commission of Audit, Peter Allan (Letters, 29/10), because it is the only major area of government that has already been subjected to drastic cuts — and for several years
Chiefly because the future Australians risked by this don’t get to vote now to rectify it and short-term political expediency thus wins out.
Defence is also the only major area of government that is wholly funded federally — meaning such cuts bite even harder.
Finally, Australia is a continent, as well as a country, in a volatile region.
Over the long term we face quite different strategic circumstances and needs to Peter’s Mr Allan’s mistaken comparisons.
Defence capabilities are essential national infrastructure. Under-investing in them remains a false economy, not somehow a cheap fix for structural budget deficits grounded in excess discretionary spending.
Investment in our national defence capabilities has already been cut savagely in recent years. In targeting Australia's structural budget deficit it is surely time to tackle spending in discretionary portfolio areas instead.
Letter to The Australian Financial Review
Wednesday, 23 October 2013
(published Friday, 25 October 2013
If the Commission of Audit is fair dinkum it will base any examination of defence spending on several facts.
- Defence is the only major governmental responsibility that is wholly federal.
- There are no votes in it.
- Because of this, since 2008 national investment in defence has already been cut far more savagely than any other major area of government expenditure.
- Our defence capabilities remain essential national infrastructure. Not somehow a discretionary matter in either financial or electoral terms.
- We maintain such infrastructure to deter, shape or cope with general strategic risks over Australia’s long term. Not specific “threats”, or their absence, as invariably perceived now incorrectly.
- Our near-run 1999 experiences in East Timor resulted in increased investment until 2007, chiefly to cancel out all the sustained under-investment throughout the 1971-1999 period. We should not repeat such dangerous lessons yet again.
Cutting defence investment even further simply gambles with the security of future Australians who don’t get to vote now to stop such irresponsibility.
Mistaken public attacks on the ADFA Commandant have continued, despite the trial of of those charged over the April 2011 "skype" incident again proving that many public beliefs about the circumstances are untrue. And despite Commodore Kafer having long been exonerated by an independent inquiry by a respected QC.
Letter to The Canberra Times
Wednesday, 16 October 2013
(published Monday, 21 October 2013, but with editing of the third paragragraph unfortunately resulting in its meaning being reversed)
David Groube (Letters, October 16) claims “skype affair revelations” somehow mean former defence minister Stephen Smith should get apologies from his many critics concerning many different issues.
But the recent trial of the “skype” offenders revealed nothing new and again disproved the numerous false claims and beliefs prevalent at the time.
Claims that Smith, who was briefed on the facts from the start, took nearly two weeks to refute publicly for reasons he has never explained and despite his silence worsening the misinformed public hysteria.
Smith, who was briefed on the facts from the start, took nearly two weeks to refute claims publicly and, despite his silence, worsened the misinformed public hysteria involved.
ADFA Commandant, Bruce Kafer – the undoubted second victim of the “skype affair”, was also subsequently exonerated by an independent inquiry but Smith still refuses to apologise for scapegoating him and denying Kafer natural justice and worse.
Moreover, Major-General John Cantwell’s post-retirement criticism concerned Smith’s demonstrated lack of empathy or even respect for our diggers when visiting Afghanistan.
David might ponder why Smith is the first Minister for Defence since World War II never to address the annual course at Command & Staff College and the first never to address the Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies since its inception in the mid 1990s.
Or why, during his three-year tenure and even before the “skype affair”, he never attended a graduation parade or otherwise visited ADFA or the three Service officer-training colleges.
The common thread is that when ministers address diggers in a war zone, or ADF students here in Australia, they are naturally expected to answer reasonable questions.
Especially informed ones about that Minister’s policy views, expectations, responsibilities and actions.
Smith’s continual evasion of this responsibility, and his persistent failure to reciprocate loyalty downwards, is telling.
Finally, in mentioning me, David might try to cite an ADA explanation about the “skype affair” that has been proven incorrect subsequently.
The intervention into NT Aboriginal communities was never a military operation. Despite scaremongering by its opponents, and the resulting mythology, the Commonwealth intervention was always a civil function and operation - and always undertaken under civil law. The ADF only provided some logistic and administrative support to the civil agencies concerned. There has never been a "military intervention" of any sort into an indigenous community anywhere in Australia.
Letter to Crikey.com
Monday, 09 September 2013
(published Wednesday, 11 September 2013)
Bob Gosford, “Warren Mundine’s new military intervention into Aboriginal Australia” (Crikey, Monday), unfortunately repeats a complete and harmful myth about the NT intervention.
There has never been a “military intervention” of any description into an indigenous community in the Northern Territory or elsewhere.
The continuing NT intervention, for example, has always been a civil-government response with the civil authorities always in charge and always under civil law.
Both at the ministerial and departmental (FaHCSIA) level.
All the defence force has done is to assist the civil authorities, through the various implementing departments and agencies, with logistic and administrative support.
The ADF has never been used in a law enforcement role in indigenous communities. Such tasks have properly remained with the civil police and family/child welfare services.
No ADF personnel supporting the NT intervention have ever deployed with weapons, used force or been required to use force (except for self-defence as with any Australian citizen).
The operational head of the intervention on the ground was an ADF officer initially. However, he was seconded from the defence force to the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA), and appointed in a civil role.
This only occurred because the senior federal police officer originally arranged for the position became unavailable and the emergency nature of the intervention, at least initially, was used by the then government to justify such a step.
The Australia Defence Association warned against this at the time because of the risk it would be misconstrued, or deliberately misrepresented in an inflammatory and sensationalist fashion by some opponents of the intervention.
Such misrepresentation and scaremongering subsequently occurred. Such as ridiculous and indeed nasty claims that the “army was coming to grab children”
As the ADA continues to remind all Australians, governments of all political persuasions need to take great care not to risk the staunchly apolitical status of our defence force in Australian society by using the ADF in situations of party-political or major social controversy.
This underlies the historical reluctance to use the ADF in activities such as domestic law enforcement and strikebreaking.
It is not unusual, however, for federal or state governments to call on ADF assistance in national emergencies where no controversy is involved.
The two most common criteria governing such assistance are that the resources of the civil community are exhausted and require supplementation (as with natural disasters such as bushfires, floods and earthquakes), or that capabilities peculiar to the ADF are required (as with open-ocean search and rescue).
As background, military assistance rendered to civil authorities falls, constitutionally and professionally, into two definite categories: force and non-force situations.
ADF use, or potential use, of force to aid civil authorities enforce law and order within Australia is extremely rare and has only occurred three or four times (all cases of serious riot) since federation.
Contingency plans to assist police services with an assault on terrorist strongholds (where such measures are beyond police capabilities) also fall into this category but no actual situation requiring such assistance has arisen.
Some offshore ADF assistance to the Customs and Border Protection Service, such as boardings of fishing boats (during anti-poaching operations) and other vessels (during counter-smuggling ones), can also fall into this category.
Non-force assistance covers everything else including:
- bomb disposal;
- search and rescue;
- logistic, communications or ceremonial support to events from the Olympic Games down to local community fetes;
- infrastructure construction in remote communities (both indigenous and otherwise); and
- the continuance of essential services during natural disasters or (very rarely) prolonged industrial action.
ADF involvement in the Northern Territory intervention remains wholly a non-force situation.
To wrongly describe the intervention as “military” in nature is therefore particularly absurd.
Finally, Bob seems quite unaware of the extent that the Furthermore, the ADF, particularly the Army, has been working in and with outback Aboriginal communities since before World War II.
Army surveyors mapped most of Northern Australia from the 1920s to the 1980s. The Navy's coastwatcher networks have utilised Aboriginal members for nine decades.
Various Army Reserve medical and dental units have conducted their annual camps helping outback Aboriginal communities since the early 1950s.
The Army's various regional force surveillance and regional intelligence units across northern Australia have been often comprised of mainly Aboriginal diggers since the late 1970s.
Since 1997 Army engineers have been building houses and environmental health infrastructure in such communities, and running associated trade-training schemes, under the Army-Aboriginal Community Assistance Program (AACAP).
Since the early 1990s many members of the ADF have studied Aboriginal culture in detail while qualifying on Defence-sponsored cross-cultural awareness courses at Nungalinya College in Darwin.
Indeed the The ADF personnel providing the logistic support to the NT intervention wear their uniforms proudly and reassuringly because indigenous Australians are so used to the presence of our defence force supporting their communities or otherwise interacting with them.
There have always been two victims of the April 2011 incident at the Australian Defence Force Academy. First, the female cadet wrongly filmed without her apparent consent during consexual sex with a fellow cadet. Second, the Academy's commandant wrongly scapegoated by the Minister for Defence at the time - and then subsequently denied an apology by the Minister - even after an independent inquiry by a QC had found the commandant acted appropriately in his handling of the incident.
Letter to The Australian
Thursday, 15 August 2013
(published Friday, 16 August 2013)
Cameron Stewart (“ADFA Chief lashes out at Smith”, August 15, p.1) unfortunately risks perpetuating the public victimising of Commodore Bruce Kafer over the so-called “skype affair” at ADFA.
After being vindicated by an independent inquiry by a QC, Bruce Kafer is fully entitled legally and morally to seek redress on natural justice and common decency grounds.
Especially as Defence Minister Stephen Smith sat on the inquiry report for nearly a year to avoid personal and political embarrassment.
After being shamed into finally releasing it, Smith still refuses to apologise for his sustained scapegoating of Kafer.
Or for the other abuses of ministerial authority involved.
Kafer’s lawful and reasoned submission up through the defence force chain-of-command is not a public document.
To sensationalise it as somehow “lashing out”, and as “an explosive letter”, may unfortunately lead those unfamiliar with the facts to again wrongly believe Kafer has acted improperly.
This remains the opposite of the case.
Moreover, despite consistent insult via selective political leaks, Kafer has always acted impeccably in not criticising his treatment by Smith publicly or privately.
It is shameful that Australia is shamed by Bruce Kafer has having to await the retirement of Stephen Smith to get the justice, decent treatment and apology he deserves as the second victim of the “skype affair”.
Whether foreign boats smuggling people into Australia can be turned back, or not, is a different issue to whether they should be turned back. Unfortunately, politically-polarised, narrow or emotive views regarding asylum-seeking generally mean this important distinction is often lost in public discussion. No matter whether such boats should be turned back, or not, the ADA notes that proper debate on the issue is advanced if it based on the following six-point summary of military professional judgement concerning the matter.
Letter to The Australian Financial Review
Saturday, 27 July 2013
(published Tuesday, 30 July 2013 and, with corrections to misleading editing of the original version, on Friday, 02 August 2013)
John Kerin , “Military leaders split on boat turnbacks” (AFR, July 27), surely over-simplifies professional discourse about turning back people-smuggler boats at sea.
The Australia Defence Association position, for example, has always noted six points:
- turning back at least some boats is possible;
- the option to do so should never be ruled out publicly otherwise the people smugglers and corrupt Indonesian officials concerned win by default;
- how turnbacks might be done cannot be discussed publicly but only because it is a dynamic problem and no law enforcement action involves telling the crooks what policing action you will do next;
- turning boats back is difficult and getting harder as the people smugglers get more ruthless, particularly with their hull-integrity sabotage preparations and general indifference to the plight of their customers;
- any decision to turn back or not can only be made by the on-scene commander of the intercepting Australian vessel because only he or she can appropriately weigh potentially competing law enforcement, crew safety and safety-of-life-at-sea considerations; and
- there must be no ministerial or other interference in such on-scene command decisions or any repercussions for the commanders concerned from anyone.
It is probable that all the serving and former military experts cited in the article broadly agree on all six points.
Professional debate overwhelmingly centres instead on applicable circumstances, methods, potential strategic consequences, or legal aspects depending on where or how a boat might be turned back.
Indonesia has again escaped criticism for recent outrageous posturing by the Indonesian Vice-President and their Ambassador to Australia. This is largely due to public debate on asylum-seeking in Australia once again mistakenly assuming that this is an Australian domestic issue alone when it is integrally a strategic policy issue with domestic ramifications. The situation has been exacerbated by the usual emotive sidetracking into irrelevancies that dwell on the symptoms of Australia's dilemma rather than address the real causes and the actual solutions needed. The hypocrisy and contravention of international law and international good citizenship of Indonesian posturing needs to be robustly challenged rather than naively accepted at face value.
Letter to The Australian
Saturday, 29 June 2013
(published Monday, 01 July 2013)
Asylum-seeking is a strategic policy issue with domestic ramifications, not vice versa, as most public debate wrongly assumes.
And also just one facet of our complex strategic relations with our regional neighbours.
But enough is enough.
Recent Indonesian posturing that they are not the source of asylum-seeker flows, that this is solely Australia’s problem and that Indonesia is somehow not involved, are examples of a perpetrator blaming the victim.
When an Indonesian boat, organised by Indonesia-based (and often Indonesian) people smugglers, leaves an Indonesian port contrary to Indonesian law through the corruption or incompetence (at best) of Indonesian officials, Indonesia cannot evade majority responsibility.
Especially where the passengers illegally entered Indonesia using false documents that Indonesian officials know to be false but ignore through corruption, incompetence, misguided religious sympathy, anti-Australian racism or plain disregard for their national responsibility to reciprocate Australia’s longstanding status as a friendly and supportive neighbour.
Or when the boats are deliberately sabotaged well inside Indonesia’s internationally-designated zone of search & rescue responsibility, to force rescue by our navy, because the Indonesians refuse to rescue them as a deliberate policy response or through further incompetence or corruption.
Moreover, while refusing to sign the Refugee Convention — and rarely held to account for it in Australian debate — Indonesia is a signatory to the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air of the UN Convention on Transnational Organised Crime.
Its now well past the time that Indonesia was held to account for not meeting its obligations under international law, its own law and international good citizenship.
They could, for example, turn the tap off at Jakarta airport.
Australian discussion of asylum-seeking is invalid if it does not address the major part played by Indonesia’s serious derelictions of responsibility.
And especially where Indonesian official blustering is accepted blindly rather than challenged objectively.
Former NSW politician Andrew Tink's new book on repercussions of the August 1940 air crash in Canberra ("Air Disaster Canberra: The Plane Crash that Destroyed a Government", New South, Sydney, 2013, 308pp., $A45.00), concentrates on the political ramifications of Prime-Minister Menzies losing three of his senior Cabinet ministers and closest political supporters within the United Australia Party. But the longer-term and more enduring detrimental effect was surely the death in the same crash of the universally respected Army Chief, General Cyril Brudenell White. If White had survived, the whole modern history of the strategic-level, politico-military relationship in Australia, and of real rather than often nominal joint-Service command of our defence force, is likely to have been quite different. Particularly in being less difficult structurally; being free of so many aberrations and misunderstandings constitutionally, professionally and culturally; being reformed decades earlier and more effectively than it eventually has been; and evolving much more in conformity with the tried and tested Westminster-System conventions and institutional processes practised sucessfully elsewhere.
Letter to The Canberra Times
Monday, 08 April 2013
(published Monday, 14 April 2013
Surely the real “what if” exercise of the August 1940 air crash in Canberra ("Compelling probe", Panorama book reviews, April 6, p25) was not the short-term effects on the subsequent collapse of the first Menzies Government through losing three key ministers.
If the highly respected General Cyril Brudenell White had instead lived to remain Chief of the General Staff, it is likely that the Service Chiefs would have correctly remained the principal professional advisers to the War Cabinet on military strategic matters — as occurred in every other Westminster system.
Rather than the resulting hybrid practice of Australia’s leaders coming to depend improperly on a foreign supreme commander (Douglas MacArthur) and an arch bureaucratic manipulator with no military experience (Sir Frederick Shedden), with the result ministers too often neglected Australia’s sovereign strategic interests during coalition warfare.
While General Vernon Sturdee — as the only Australian of the three Service Chiefs in early 1942 — ably functioned as a quasi-CDF when it was most needed as politicians on all sides panicked, Brudenell White would have been even better placed to bed in a proper strategic-level, politico-military interface.
Moreover, the later mistaken appointment of General Thomas Blamey as commander-in-chief (but only for the Army) would not have further delayed effective joint strategic command of our defence force, its testing in war and the swift post-war evolution that occurred in comparable countries. [Blamey was not able to function effectively as both the Army's senior operational commander and as a strategic-level adviser to the government].
Instead Australia sat out reform during the 1950s and 1960s and then, alone in the Western world, combined the Service departments before instituting joint strategic command of its defence force.
It even took a further 11 years from 1973 before we instituted rudimentary joint command and a further seven before we had a CDF with real command authority and a joint headquarters able to exercise it.
Many bad bureaucratic, political and military habits have kept mutating in the interim.
Chiefly because of institutional, cultural and legislative gaps in systematic civil control of the military — and over the ever-burgeoning Public Service and uniformed Defence bureaucracy — by the Ministers who are alone meant to exercise such civil control constitutionally.
As an island continent permanently situated in a maritime region Australia remains primarily dependent on the sea and our maritime lines of communication and commerce. Our surrounding oceans also comprise a large part of the ten per cent of the Earth's surface that is some form of Australian sovereignty, conservation or international search and rescue responsibility. Prominent critics of the new amphibious ships being procured for the ADF invariably ignore or obfuscate these factors and their implications. Just as they tend to ignore or selectively cite hard-won strategic and operational lessons from recent experiences and longer ago.
Letter to The Canberra Times
Tuesday, 19 February 2013
(published Friday, 22 February 2013
Renewed “debate” about the ADF’s new amphibious ships reinforces the maxim that one of the quickest ways to spot a strategic policy amateur or ideological zealot is by their continentalist or isolationist mindset.
Particularly when they ignore or deny that Australia is organically a maritime power in near and wider maritime regions.
Similarly fraudulent is using “aircraft carrier sized” or “assault ships” when describing the new LHDs, or peddling the myth that they are somehow intended for supposed use in high-end war in the Taiwan Straits, the South China Sea or off North Korea.
In reality, Australia has long needed a better capability for the emergency evacuation of Australians from regional troublespots — with or without the tacit or even unwilling co-operation of the country concerned — and for manouvre, stability support operations, peacekeeping, disaster relief and general support to our diplomacy.
Each successive class of our amphibious transports has necessarily been bigger because of lessons from a wide range of events in our immediate region.
Such as the Bougainville, East Timor and Solomons interventions, Fiji coups, rioting in Tonga and Vanuatu, and tsunamis, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions generally. Plus all that could go wrong in PNG.
The LHDs are therefore primarily designed for amphibious manouvre in lower-end crises.
They have some limited capability for tactical assault, but one clearly focused in scale, intent and informed foreign perception only on plausible contingencies in our near region.
Moreover, the wider ADF lacks all the supporting capabilities for large-scale amphibious assaults like Normandy and Iwo Jima — and indeed medium-scale ones such as Lae, Inchon and the Falklands — and no-one credible is arguing for them.
Finally, the LHDs will necessarily further advance true “jointery” in our defence force and referring to them only as naval ships again misses the point.
Australia's strategic situation and its commensurate responsibilities and implications do not somehow vanish by the exercise of political spin, short-term political expediency or wishful thinking. Our current political leadership has chosen to plunder defence investment, and ignore the long-term damage caused, because there is no electoral backlash to them now from the future Australians (some perhaps not even born yet) seriously affected by this government's neglect of the first responsibility of any government.
Letter to The Sydney Morning Herald
Thursday, 31 January 2013
(published Saturday, 02 February 2013
Peter Hartcher is correct to note that Australia — as the world’s only island continent and the only continent occupied by only one sovereignty — cannot just wish the world away strategically (“Defence is headed for its own crisis”, January 29).
New Zealand, Ireland and, to an extent, Canada often ignore their defence responsibilities only because a larger neighbour permanently protects them geo-strategically.
We have the opposite situation. Although our nearest neighbours are strategically benign, our wider region is subject to growing, often unpredictable and increasingly unstable great-power tensions.
Australia also has internationally designated sovereignty, conservation and search & rescue responsibilities for some ten per cent of the Earth’s surface that do not somehow go away.
More importantly, we have an economy, political system and whole way-of-life totally dependent on seaborne trade over sea-lanes that always need to be secured by a balance of international law, diplomacy and, in the final analysis, military force applied by us or with maritime-power allies.
Finally, the current crisis is caused only by the current Prime-Minister, Defence Minister and Treasurer plundering the long-term and sustained defence investment needed as a supposed “magic pudding” for short-term factional and careerist purposes.
It is not a Labor problem per se. Labor defence experts, across all party factions, are rightly strongly opposed to the burgeoning under-investment in our defence capabilities and the needless gambling with the security of future Australians involved.
Only minority government in an election year — and simmering leadership tensions — prevent these loyal Labor figures from commenting publicly.
Maximising Australia's strategic security is a primary-level national governance responsibility but is being seriously neglected by the Gillard Government. Criticism of this irresponsible neglect has come from across the range of defence expertise and indeed from across the political spectrum. The criticism cannot be discounted as party-political disagreement, as the current Minister has tried to do, not least because some of the more concerned and informed critics are experienced members of the Labor parliamentary caucus. They are rightly furious that Labor's reputation for national security management is now being trashed for no valid reason.
Letter to The Canberra Times
Monday, 31 December 2012
(published Wednesday, 02 January 2013)
Your perceptive Saturday editorial ("At war with our defence", December 29) on defence still missed two key points.
Severe under-investment in the ADF (and DFAT) is yet another symptom of much deeper problems besetting our short-term-focused, ideology-free, personality-centred political culture.
This is not a party-political issue. Much detailed criticism is coming from within the parliamentary caucus and the wider ALP.
Particularly from those with the most strategic security and defence experience, across all party factions and from both Gillard and Rudd supporters.
After the destructive polarisation of the Vietnam era, two generations of Labor thinkers worked hard to restore community confidence that the ALP could be trusted with national security. And that adequate investment in our common defence was both a core Labor value and a major responsibility of any government.
They are naturally angry that their work is now being trashed for perceived short-term personal advantage – at the cost of serious damage to Labor’s long-term political and national governance credibility.
With grim irony, that the critics include some of the most conscientious parliamentarians and loyal party members is the only thing that has stopped their fury becoming more public in a minority government.
Finally, your judgement that Stephen Smith’s responses to last year’s ADFA incident were “cack-handed” is not just confined to what you term the “military”.
Surely anyone who understands the principles of civil-control-of-the-military, administrative law and natural justice grasps that “cack-handed” is the type of severe understatement that not only continues to prevent resolution of the underlying issues but exacerbates them by confusing the public.
Moreover, even within the ADF the outrage at Smith’s “studied lack of interest” in the defence portfolio, as you describe it, is widespread across all ranks and both genders (not just in wardrooms or messes).
More widely, a continuing online debate among defence experts rating the records of the 19 defence ministers since the mid 1960s has him in the bottom 25 percentile. Well below every Labor defence minister bar one and where three of the rated top five ministers are Labor including the first two.
Much public argument on replacing our Collins-class submarines is confused and nugatory through not using a common basis of facts and assumptions.
Wednesday, 28 December 2011
Letter to The Australian Financial Review
(published Tuesday, 03 January 2012)
Brian Toohey's ”Adelaide to Detroit, the underwater route” (December 28-January 2) is again underwater in his fixation on European submarines, but not in his scepticism about political pork-barrelling by federal and state politicians ever eager to divert the defence budget elsewhere to buy votes. And in rejecting the supportive claims by feather-bedding interests in commerce, the unions and indeed parts of academia.
Can we therefore summarise recent debate on replacing our Collins-class submarines (which is meant to start in the mid 2020s).
ASPI’s estimate of up to $36bn (over decades) for an Australian build could be somewhat high but they are correct about the technological, industrial and budgetary risks of another local indigenous project. The Kokoda Foundation’s estimate of $18bn seems on the low side at first glance but their study (when released in full) might justify it.
Toohey's Brian’s off-the-shelf European submarine alternative, however, will not work; except perhaps as a four-boat interim option because they cannot really meet the capability needed in the long term unless greater numbers than 12 are procured.
This would increase the $9-12bn claimed for this option substantially. It would also be harder to crew and operate the larger but less suitable fleet needed.
If no-one else is building the type of conventionally-powered submarines we need, and the task might be too big for us to build them again, then the option of leasing Virginia-class nuclear-powered boats from the US also needs to be examined. Much fewer than 12 boats would then be needed (greater range, endurance, speed, etc) and the cost differential between nuclear and conventionally-powered boats continues to drop anyway.
They would be the most modern submarines available, a tested commodity, and fully compatible with our major ally operationally and logistically. The Americans would look after the reactor, thus negating our limited nuclear engineering capacity (and paranoia among some about nuclear energy).
No-one credible seems to doubt that the class that replaces the Collins replacements will be nuclear powered (and probably leased from the US).
We should at least look at jumping a generation directly.
This archive contains letters-to-the-editor submitted by the Australia Defence Association between 01 January and 31 December 2012.
This archive contains letters-to-the-editor submitted by the Australia Defence Association between 01 January and 31 December 2011.
This archive contains letters-to-the-editor submitted by the Australia Defence Association between 01 January and 31 December 2010.
This archive contains letters-to-the-editor submitted by the Australia Defence Association between 01 January and 31 December 2009.
This archive contains letters-to-the-editor submitted by the Australia Defence Association between 01 January and 31 December 2008.
This archive contains letters-to-the-editor submitted by the Australia Defence Association between 01 January and 31 December 2007.