Defence White Paper 2009: Defending Australia In The Asia Pacific Century: Force 2030 (1.6mb)Australia.toPM Kevin Rudd:
This is a good day for the Australian Defence Force, this is a good day also for the Australian nation. It is a good day for the men and women who serve our nation in uniform.
The first responsibility of any Government is to provide for the national security of Australia. And for this Government there is no higher priority. Our defence force lies at the absolute core of our national security framework. Without a strong defence force, the rest of the framework would be weak, it would be hollow and it would be ineffective. With a strong defence force, our national security framework has strength at its core.
Australia’s national security will face increasing challenges in the coming years as our security environment changes and the Australian Government must remain vigilant in responding to those challenges and to those changes. As the Minister said before, it is almost a decade since Australia conducted a thorough review of its national defence. That is why we have fulfilled our commitment to deliver a comprehensive Defence White Paper once we came to Government.
The decisions I set out today are designed to make Australia ready for the range of challenges that are likely to emerge.
Today this Government releases the Defence White Paper to build Force 2030. - the defence force Australia will need for the next generation to meet the national security challenges of the future. Today therefore is an important preparation day for the challenges that lie ahead, an important day also therefore for the nation itself.
Before discussing the kind of defence force we will need in the future, we must first assess our strategic operating environment. We launch this White Paper today in a strategic environment different from that described by the last White Paper almost a decade ago.
Some trends that emerged that had emerged before then, such as the increasing pace of globalisation and state fragility in our near neighbourhood, continue. But other trends such as the rise of terrorism, the realignment of global and regional power realities and emerging threats such as border protection, climate change and resource security represent newer dynamics that will also affect our strategic and security environment for the future.
The key features of Australia’s future security environment are as follows. First it is our clear conclusion that the United States will remain the most powerful and influential actor out to 2030. No other power, no other power will have the military, economic or strategic capacity to challenge US primacy over the period covered by this White Paper.
Furthermore our alliance with the United States will remain the bedrock on which Australia’s national security is built. It is an alliance that has prospered under 13 United States Presidents and 13 Australian Prime Ministers and it continues with that strength for the future. This alliance is enduring and remains vital to Australia’s future defence.
Within the Asia-Pacific Region economic growth should help foster stability and security but there are likely to be tensions between the major powers where the interests of the United States, China, Japan, India and Russia intersect.
While the chance of direct confrontation between any of these major powers is small, there is always the possibility of miscalculation.
China will continue to be a key driver of economic activity both globally and in the region in the period out to 2030. It will also be Asia’s strongest military power by a wide margin, and China is likely to develop a significant military capability commensurate with its size. The management of the relationship between the United States and China will be critical for stability in the Asia-Pacific region.
Within Southeast Asia and Indonesia, economic and social development will continue. The evolution of Indonesia as a stable democratic state with strong social cohesion is important to our strategic interests and provides it with a strong platform for long-term stability and prosperity. The success of Indonesia’s democratic transformation under President Yudhoyono and under his leadership is an important contribution to our longer-term regional stability.
In the South Pacific and East Timor, economic, social and political instability will continue to present challenges to our strategic interests. This may create conditions in which Australia might be required to respond with security and humanitarian assistance, as we have done in the past. Coalition operations in support of our wider interests will also remain critical. And as I stated this past Tuesday on our enhanced contribution to Afghanistan, we must not allow Afghanistan to once again become the unimpeded training ground and operating base for global terrorist activity.
Within this environment that sees shifts in the alignment of global power, regional uncertainty and the continuing threat of terrorism, we also see new challenges that will face our defence force out to 2030. Most significantly, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) is of serious concern. There is a risk that the number of states with a ‘break-out’ capability to produce WMD will increase due to the proliferation of dual-use infrastructure and the continued operation of WMD proliferation networks.
And we see new security risks also emerging over the potential impact of climate change and resource security. These trends are likely to exacerbate existing problems in governance and population in developing countries.
The environment I have just described will present our defence forces with challenges of a new and different order to those we have faced before. We must have a flexible and effective force to deal with a wider range of contingencies. Contingencies that range from stabilisation operations and humanitarian and disaster relief to the more remote possibility of direct conflict.
In shaping Force 2030 we don’t just need to know our strategic environment, we also need to know the primary tasks that our Defence Force will need to be able to perform. Australia’s defence policy is based on the core principle of self reliance in the direct defence of Australia. This means that we must have the ability to conduct independent military operations in the defence of Australia by controlling our air and sea approaches and denying any potential adversary the ability to operate in our immediate neighbourhood.
There is no more important task for the Australian Defence Force than the defence of Australia and it is around this task that our force is shaped. But we also need to do conduct other tasks when it is in our interests to do so. This means we need to have the capacity to act independently where we have unique interests at stake and do not wish to be reliant on the combat forces of others, lead military coalitions where we have shared strategic interests at stake with others and make tailored contributions to military coalitions where we share wider strategic interests with others.
These objectives shape the priority tasks that our defence forces will be required to undertake in the strategic environment out to 2030. These tasks are: deterring and defeating attacks on Australia by controlling our air and sea approaches against credible adversaries, contributing to Stability and Security in the South Pacific and East Timor by assisting our neighbours in dealing with humanitarian and disaster relief, and on occasion stabilisation interventions as we have done in the past.
Further, contributing to military contingencies in the wider Asia-Pacific Region including by way of assisting our Southeast Asian partners to meet external challenges and contributing to military contingencies in support of global security by supporting the efforts of the international community in upholding a rules-based global order, where our interests align and where we have the capacity to do so.
In order to undertake these tasks in an increasingly demanding strategic environment, we will need a force that is capable of confronting a wide range of contingencies both now and into the future. Making that happen will require significant long term investment but that investment is in our long term national interest and will help secure our nation and our people for decades to come. That is why we have decided to acquire Force 2030.
One of the great mistakes of military strategy throughout history has been to prepare to fight the last war. The Australian Government is determined not to repeat that error. We need to ensure that our defence forces are shaped in the geo-political realities of the century ahead. That is why this defence paper looks forward to 2030 and seeks to determine what our defence forces will need over the next 20 years.
Force 2030 represents the most powerful, integrated and sophisticated set of military capabilities that our nation has ever acquired in order to plan effectively for our nation’s future national security needs. It is a force that provides us with the reach, weight and flexibility to undertake the principal tasks for the Australian Defence Force.
Force 2030 represents a long-term investment in Australia’s security, and the White Paper describes the key capability elements that comprise the force. These capabilities include increasing our major naval assets by one third, doubling the size of our submarine fleet and transforming our surface fleet from light to heavy Frigates and destroyers.
Force 2030 will include therefore the following:
* 12 future submarines, which will be Australia’s largest ever single defence project. They will be capable of anti-ship and anti-submarine warfare, strategic strike, intelligence collection and support for special operations forces;
* Air-Warfare Destroyers and a new class of Frigates to replace the ANZAC class ships, to provide enhanced anti-submarine warfare and air defence capabilities. This will give us greater flexibility in protecting our air and sea approaches, and provide greater protection for our troops on operation;
* New maritime-based land-attack cruise missiles to enhance the capabilities of the Air Warfare Destroyers and future combat ships and submarines;
* New Naval Combat Helicopters, to further enhance our maritime capabilities and in particular anti-submarine warfare;
* Around 100 Joint Strike Fighters, to provide a potent air combat capability to 2030;
* New Wedgetail Early Warning and Control aircraft, to provide greatly enhanced situational awareness and an ability to control and coordinate other aircraft;
* New maritime surveillance and response aircraft, to provide enhanced capabilities for protecting our borders;
* Around 1,100 new armoured combat vehicles to provide greater protection, mobility and fire-power for our troops;
* Networking of our land forces, to ensure that our men and women in uniform are more effective on operations;
* Maintaining the capability edge and effectiveness of our Special Forces, so that their formidable combat edge is not only preserved but expanded; and
* Enhancing our cyber-warfare capabilities, by establishing a Cyber Security Operations Centre that will provide a greater capacity to respond to cyber-threats and improve our response to incidents in cyberspace.
Force 2030 will mean the best fighter jets, the most versatile armoured vehicles and the most sophisticated submarines available to defend Australia’s national security. This is only a brief snapshot of the capabilities that form the basis of Force 2030. It is a force that provides the ADF with greater depth, power and survivability for the next two decades. Force 2030 prepares us for the next generation of challenges that our defence force and Australia as a nation will face.
The White Paper also sets out a range of major new commitments. It is also important is to renew, to repair and to refit the kit and equipment that we already have and the facilities that support it. That is why this defence paper also focuses strongly on remediating the defence force we have today so this it can operate better for tomorrow.
Over the next decade, we will be devoting approximately $30 billion to fixing the existing force. This includes approximately $6 billion for more than 50 new projects to fill the crucial gaps that have been left in equipment and protection for our women and men in uniform. Approximately $18 billion to top-up existing projects that have been under-funded in the past and approximately $6 billion to fix systems and infrastructure that support our women and men in uniform.
Central to the strategy laid out in this White Paper is the need to ensure that our plan is affordable. Some have argued that in the global economic recession we should reduce defence spending to ease the pressure on the budget. But the Government believes the opposite to be true. In a period of global instability Australia must invest in a strong, capable and well resourced defence force.
Defence policy must look over the horizon, not just of the next year but of the decades ahead. In setting defence policy we must remember that the economic challenges of today do not negate the security challenges of tomorrow. We must deal with the challenges of the global recession today and at the same time prepare for the major, the major challenges in the future, central to which is the future challenge of national security for the nation.
Our dedication to our own security must be constant and uncompromising. That is why, for the first time, this Government has committed to real funding stability for Defence, to enable Defence to plan with certainty its capability goals in the long term. The key elements of this funding profile include maintaining three per cent real growth in Defence’s budget out to 2017-18, 2.5 per cent fixed indexation designed to offset Defence against the cost of inflation to its business and long-term growth of 2.2 per cent from 2018-2030.
These measures will ensure that Defence is able to meet its goals for Force 2030.They provide Defence with a coherent funding envelope for long term planning. Importantly this funding envelope also ensures that any shortfalls against the White Paper funding I have just outlined will be fully offset by Defence. Because like every other sector of Government, Defence must be accountable and disciplined in its use of public resources.
None of these measures I have described today can be effective if we do not invest in the people that we need to operate, support and maintain our capabilities. That is why this White Paper describes a people strategy aimed at providing a more strategic approach to managing people in defence, nurturing the skills of our defence professionals, ensuring that defence families are looked after and enhancing our ability to attract and retain the very best of our men and women in uniform.
The people of defence, of the Australian Defence Force are a world-class group of professionals. They are the most valuable capability of a modern defence force. Theirs is our nation’s highest calling. Supporting them is one of our greatest responsibilities in safeguarding our nation’s security.
To conclude, the White Paper that we’ve released today is possibly the most significant contribution to defence planning in a generation. It outlines a clear plan for Force 2030 and how that will be achieved. It represents a commitment by the Government to invest in the future so that our defence force has the necessary capabilities to operate in a rapidly changing strategic environment. And most importantly, it provides a long-term plan for defence capability and capacity to promote a more secure Australia for Australians today and for the generations to come.
I congratulate the Minister for Defence, I congratulate the Department of Defence, I congratulate the Chief of the Defence Force, I congratulate individual service chiefs for they prepare great work, their great teamwork in preparing this Defence White Paper. Important work, critical work, vital work for the future of our nation, Australia.
PM: Now it’s time for ladies and gentlemen of the press to ask any questions they would like. Any easy question I will take, any difficult questions will be taken by those behind me. Any questions involving any level of insubordination (inaudible). Those people will (inaudible)
JOURNALIST: If the Government and Department fail to make the savings that you’ve envisaged over the next 10 years, what will be first capabilities to go by the wayside?
PM: What we have done is engaged with Defence in an enormous internal review of defence procurement systems and also of savings potential within the portfolio. We therefore are confident that within Defence’s leadership that these efficiencies in procurement and also savings in the way in which Defence conducts its regular business will be made.
Second point I’d make is this, we’re also not just resting that strategy on defence operating more efficiently and effectively in those two respects. We are providing significant, sustained, long term budget support ourselves in order to make sure Force 2030 is not an exercise on paper but is translated into the kit and equipment that our three critical services need for the future.
We have spent a lot of time going through the assumptions underpinning the force structure, the strategic environment which determines the force structure and capabilities, as well as the budget parameters within the (inaudible). We’re confident that we’re going to be able to plan this, it is necessary that we provide funding security for defence long term and I referred in my remarks before about the need for a proper planning certainty for the future in order to get there.
JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, what, do you have a message for China or any other regional power that might have concerns about the build up that you’ve announced today?
PM: As Prime Minister of Australia my first and foremost responsibility is the national security of Australia for which I make absolutely no apology to anybody. That’s the first point. The second is this, we are faced with a series of changes and challenges across the wider Asia-Pacific region and we must therefore ensure that our men and women in uniform have the proper kit and equipment and assets to meet a range of contingencies in the future.
The truth is we are seeing a period of significant military and naval expansions in the wider Asia-Pacific region and it’s important therefore that Australia makes proper provision for that in our own planning horizon. The force structure that we have for the capabilities that we need and the underpinning budgetary support.
JOURNALIST: Prime Minister a lot of the recent discussion on the White Paper has been around, its premise being a slippage of US influence in the Asia-Pacific in the medium-long term and an increase in Chinese influence in the Asia-Pacific medium-long term. Is that the right premise? Is that the premise that you see this White Paper (inaudible)?
PM: Thank you Tim, and I will draw your ever eager attention to page 32 of the White Paper and I just happen to have chanced upon paragraph 4.17 as you were asking the question. And considering that it may be possible that you might have asked a question like that, let me read to you what is the considered conclusion of the Australian Government:
“It remains the case that no other power would have the military, economic or strategic capacity to challenge the US global supremacy over the period covered by this White Paper.”
That is our projection for the next generation. It is within that projection that we of course again reaffirm our commitment for the United States alliance and as I said in my remarks before it remains the bedrock of Australian security. On top of that, as I’ve said before, and I’ve said again today the core organising principle for Australia’s defence remains the defence of this vast continent of ours Australia and therefore we need to be also prepared as the White Paper makes absolutely clear, for independent military operations on our own.
These two things proceed in tandem but the direct answer to your question is contained in the paragraph I just responded to and that is that it remains the case that no other power would have the military, economic or strategic capacity to challenge US global primacy over the period covered by this White Paper. The period 2030 is a fair old stretch of time.
Another question down there.
JOURNALIST: Thanks Prime Minister. The document also says that China does have the potential to (inaudible)?
PM: What I pointed to in my remarks before is that it is as plain as day that there is a significant military and naval build up across the Asia-Pacific region. That’s a reality, it’s a truth, it’s there. So either you can simply choose to ignore that fact or to incorporate that into a realistic component of Australia’s strategic assumptions about what this region will look like over the next two decades.
Secondly therefore, anchored in our alliance with the United States, it’s important for our own capability requirement and force structure for the Australian Defence Force to be prepared to meet a range of contingencies arising from military and naval build ups across our wider region. That is prudent long term defence planning and we believe we have got the balance absolutely right.
JOURNALIST: Prime Minister at the moment you don’t have enough preparedness to staff the submarines which we have. How can you be confident that that’s going to change and (inaudible) but realistically why should people expect that you can staff this number of submarines?
PM: Well I was over at HMAS Collins recently and exploring the bowels of the ships with a very tall Chief of the Defence Force and how he managed to get through that without whacking his head I am still remain surprised.
But when I spoke to the submariners there and those responsible for our existing fleet of submarines our level of recruitment is actually turning the corner and that is important to note.
As I also reflected in my remarks before, we are deeply, deeply aware that the personnel element, the people element of the entire Australian Defence Force establishment is fundamental but we’ve got to be absolutely vigilant in the future about maintaining the relative attraction of coming to work in the Australian Defence Force.
Submarines are a particularly challenging operating environment. I was surprised the other day at what their showering roster is. These are particularly professional individuals given the constraints of a below sea, below deck operation but a more dedicated bunch I’ve never run into.
Recruitments are turning the corner but we’re going to be very attentive to long term recruitment planning and necessary incentives to ensure that these submarines, which will be the largest submarine force ever in Australian history, are staffed, recruited, manned to ensure that they are there to do their job as and when that job becomes necessary.
JOURNALIST: While recognising the primacy of the US alliance Prime Minister, I refer to paragraph 6.15, is it fair to assume therefore that the message being conveyed by the Government in that paragraph is that Australians will be more tough minded and circumspect in the future in considering committing with the United States to Coalitions of the Willing outside the region?
PM: Thank you for drawing my attention to my attention to paragraph 6.15, Paul. I was reflecting on is that it was some time ago. Look the bottom line is this, our strategic guidance in the future is anchored in the sets of principles I referred to before. What are they? One, the defence of Australia. Two, particular requirements for interventions of a humanitarian or security nature in the South-Pacific area. Three engaging in wider military activity in South-East Asia as it’s appropriate in the circumstances, it’s appropriate and in corresponding to our obligations under international law. And on top of that to engage in wider coalition operations in support of global security of the type which we’re currently engaged in, in Afghanistan.
That is the logical hierarchy for Australia to consider its future defence operations, consistent with a rational analysis of Australia’s national security requirements. It begins at home, it goes to the immediate neighbourhood, it is mindful of what is happening in the wider Asia-Pacific region and acutely mindful of our obligations to be part of the international community in enhancing a rules-based global security order and enhancing global security.
Remember in Afghanistan we are there under the express umbrella of the United Nations Security Resolution and simultaneously under the express provisions of our obligations under the ANZUS Alliance which was invoked in 2001. That is the logical hierarchy for our operations in the future, clearly and explicitly stated in the Defence White Paper released today.
JOURNALIST: If you had to briefly summarise what is the continuity of what you’ve inherited and what is new in all this, how would you tell the Australian people what is different about today’s announcement?
PM: Well firstly I would draw your attention to what we are doing specifically with the Navy. As I said before what you see is increasing the overall major naval assets by about a third and you have a doubling of the submarine fleet which is acutely intended to the sorts of challenges we’re going to face in the future. And on vessels such as this we will be will merging some lighter Frigates and heavier Frigates and destroyers in the future. These are significant ships in terms of what Navy has by way of its assets and into the future. That’s one area of challenge, of change if you like in terms of the past.
The second, a confirmation that we’ll be moving to four squadrons of Joint Strike Fighters, this is a significant price of kit and equipment in terms of the necessary skills and capabilities we need for the air-sea gap around Australia. These are significant and formidable future air assets and we have decided to take CDF’s advice and the Chief of Air Force’s advice in terms of what is needed there, in terms of the overall size of that acquisition; around 100 aircraft.
In terms of Army, one of the key challenges we face is to make sure that our Army in the field has the best supporting armoured and related vehicles possible and accordingly the additional acquisition of more than 1000+ such vehicles, I believe represents us putting our money where our mouth is on that question.
If I could add one other to the list of what is different. We take fundamentally seriously the challenges of cyber-security in the future and you will see reflected in the Defence White Paper our acute concerns related to that and the actions we’ll take in response to that.
There are four key sets of changes given the changing strategic environment and I believe challenging strategic environment where Australia will land itself over the next 20 years.
And as we look around to the youngest faces in the ADF here on this deck this morning, these men and women are going to be faced with a range of more complex and challenging circumstances than even we believe we are confronting here today. And what’s our responsibility in 2009? As best we can to make proper, rational provision for that range of needs and to provide the best possible underpinnings in terms of security of budgetary support.
JOURNALIST: Prime Minister can you expand on where you think Australia should go in terms of cyber-warfare?
PM: It’s not a lot. It’s (inaudible). The first thing it’s a real problem. The challenge out there and we’re clear about that in the Defence White Paper, we’re clear about that at the end of last year in the National Security Statement, policy statement that I made to the Australian Parliament, the first such statement to the Parliament. This is a real challenge affecting all areas of Defence’s future operations and more widely for our national security concerns. It would be negligent of any Australian Government now not to invest significantly in building this capacity for the future. We intend to do so and our resolve is underpinned in this Defence White Paper.
JOURNALIST: Just back on the submarines Prime Minister, can you just outline I guess the benefits of (inaudible) South Australia? (inaudible)
PM: Well when we say that this is a significant expansion of Australia’s defence capabilities in the future, the other part of what I believe to be good news for the nation is that a lot of this construction will occur in Australia. The Defence Minister will be travelling to Adelaide soon to discuss with the South Australian Premier and Government about what can be put in place to support the construction of what will be the single largest defence acquisition project in Australia in our history.
This is very large: 12 large submarines of a capability larger than the existing Collins class. Therefore the South Australian economy with all those things in place, put in place represent a long term, will represent a long term boost to that economy. Of course we have to complete the final arrangements concerning appropriate tendering and the rest. I would say that the South Australian Government is mindful of future possibilities for itself to be keenly attentive to what might be possible under these circumstances.
I think there’s another one over here.
JOURANLIST: Prime Minister if China attacks Taiwan in any way, will Australia help defend it?
PM: Thank you for that question. Australia’s policy in relation to the Taiwan Straits has been one of a bipartisan consensus going back a long, long time and will be into the future. It contains two elements. One is that we do not speculate on any future contingencies concerning what may or may not happen in the Taiwan Strait. The second part of my response to your question is that Australia takes seriously its alliance responsibilities to the United States.
JOURNALIST: Prime Minister I think if I have the numbers right you’re relying on $20 billion in defence savings going forward to make this plan work, that infers a quite incredible change, turnaround I would have thought in budget efficiency dividends for this department. Do you agree that it does and what makes you think that you now can extract that kind of efficiency from the Defence Department where so many others have failed?
PM: First of all, parallel to this exercise, that is the production of the Defence White Paper, we’ve undertaken a parallel exercise in the deep and fundamental review of the systems underpinning defence procurement. This is an important area of future savings, the way in which we go about procuring defence force kit and equipment in the future as well as underlying savings in the portfolio as well.
These discussions have proceeded in debates within the national security committee of the cabinet, proceed with the same sort of intensity and depth as has had the actual preparation of the White Paper itself, they fold one into the other.
The Government has complete confidence in the administration of defence and in the leadership of the individual services headed by the Chief of Defence Force that we will get there and the reason for that is that our defence leadership is acutely conscious of their obligations, wider national obligations as well which is to work within overall defence budgeting parameters. Part of the contribution will come from savings and efficiencies as well as from the future defence procurement program but part of the compact also lies in us providing a secure defence funding element long term as well.
We believe we have achieved a good partnership approach with the defence leadership on this. We are confident we can deliver on this in the future.
And remember this, it is all about ensuring that in more than a generation’s time those sitting on a deck of a vessel such as this can look back at these decisions and say we did everything possible to plan for the future defence needs of this Commonwealth of Australia, given the expenses involved, given the uncertainty in the strategic environment, in ensuring the raft and range of capabilities in our planning and therefore in the future at our disposal to respond to the challenges which arise in this challenging period ahead.
Ladies and gentlemen I thank you for your attention this morning and for bearing with us during this press conference and these presentations on a bright and sunny Sydney morning. This as I said before is a good day for the nation, a good day for the Australian defence force.