THE DEFENCE STRATEGY DEBATE WE HAVE TO HAVE

By | Book reviews for the press, Defence | No Comments

  James Curran Fighting With America: Why Saying No to the US Wouldn’t Rupture the Alliance (Lowy Institute Penguin Special, Penguin Random House Australia 2016 154 pp.) Adam Lockyer Australia’s Defence Strategy: Evaluating Alternatives for a Contested Asia (Melbourne University Press, 2017, 320 pp.) Each of these books is worth reading, if you have any interest in Australian defence and security. Both are timely, lucid, scholarly and readable. The first is a handy introduction to current debates about the ANZUS alliance, China and our security, which avoids over heated language and shows a deft familiarity with the scholarly literature. The…

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BRING THE COOK REPORT OUT FROM THE WILDERNESS OF MIRRORS

By | Defence, Intelligence, Opinion pieces for the press | No Comments

  Last Saturday’s Inquirer story about Paul Dibb’s annoyance at the innuendo that has swirled around him for decades and that security investigations into his bona fides were held at all was both fascinating and important. He was cleared by all investigations, he reveals, including the 1994 Cook Report. This is news. I have called for years for the release of the Cook Report precisely so that we can finally be clear where suspicions were confirmed and where they were dispelled and, in each case, on what grounds. Dibb’s important story is another illustration of why we need the Cook…

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THE CIVIL SERVANT AND THE INSURGENTS

By | Biography, Book reviews for the press, Defence, Geopolitics, History | No Comments

Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War by Robert M Gates Knopf, January 2014, 640 pp. , $35.00. When the memoirs of Robert Gates were released in Australia, in mid-January, much was made of his alleged criticisms of Barack Obama. Gates was a holdover from the Bush administration and a lifelong Republican, as well as the former head of the CIA; so those already inclined to be critical of Obama – or for that matter those more inclined to leap to his defence – might be expected to jump on any criticism of the President by his former Secretary of…

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THE FUTURE OF THE ADF

By | Critical Essays, Defence, Geopolitics | No Comments

“…the laudably intentioned words ‘Defence Forces’ have created a most injurious and widely spread feeling that our Army’s duty is, so to speak, to sit in trenches and await attack…Nothing could be more grotesquely far from the real needs of the situation…Our field army must be in the highest degree mobile, ready to concentrate anywhere, march anywhere and fight anywhere – not everywhere.” – Colonel James Whiteside McCay, Director of Intelligence (1911)[i]   “We must be careful to ensure that technology does not give an illusion of progress – we cannot afford to maintain outdated ways of thinking, organizing and…

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