Australia lives in a tough ‘hood and it’s only going to get tougher. In a post-virus world, many countries in our region are going to be poorer, more unstable and increasingly disorderly – and therefore more of a potential threat to Australia’s interests.
Add to that the reality that the Indo-Pacific region is where a superpower standoff is taking place between the US and China.
Not forgetting, too, the recent rising tensions between China and India. Add to this the fact that China and Australia aren’t exactly best mates at the moment.
More money and increased resources for the ADF
No wonder, then, that Prime Minister Scott Morrison will be announcing in a speech in Canberra this morning (Wednesday) that the Australian Defence Force is to get more money, increased resources, additional manpower and new high-tech weaponry.
Australia, the PM will say, must “face the reality that we have moved into a new and less benign strategic era”.
“Our region will not only shape our future; increasingly it is the focus of the dominant global contest of our age. “Tensions over territorial claims are rising across the Indo-Pacific region …The risk of miscalculation – and even conflict – is heightening.”
Defence spending will rise to $270-billion over 10 years
In all, the government is to announce that it will ramp up defence spending to $270-billion over the next 10 years on new and upgraded defence capabilities.
Part of this will be around $800-million on anti-ship cruise missiles with a range of 370km-plus. Initially the plan is to use the current RAAF’s F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft as the launch platform, but the system can also be used with other RAAF aircraft.
Also on the cards are new long-range land-strike weapons and a commitment to invest in R&D for high-speed long-range weapons, including hypersonic weapons. These are sophisticated weapons taking on and beating modern ballistic missile defence systems.
Cyber capabilities will be much enhanced
Improving Australia’s offensive and defensive cyber capabilities, plus other forms of electronic warfare, is also a priority. This is unsurprising given the recent concerns voiced by the PM over cyberattacks on technology systems within Australia by presumably China, although Morrison has never confirmed a specific country.
This ties in with Monday’s announcement by the PM that the government is to create 500 new jobs within the Australian Signals Directorate.
It is understood that the government has formulated three new strategic objectives for defence planning: to shape Australia’s strategic environment; to deter actions against Australia’s interests; and to respond with credible military force, when required.