Journal of the australian naval institute inc



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The emphasis is squarely on cooperative activities and exercises of mutual benefit to both countries Arrangements developed in another era have been remoulded to meet current needs and to recognise the common interests Australia has with its neighbours in ensuring that external powers do not have opportunities to affect strategic cohesion and stability within the region

Changes to the five power defence arran­gements illustrate clearly how traditional links are being given contemporary relevance The deployment of advanced F/A-18 and F-111 aircraft to Malaysia and Singapore on a rotational basis represents a substantial enhancement of the training value of those exercises The deployment of a major RAN surface vessel to South-east Asian waters to compliment these has provided the basis for a wide range of maritime exercises and training

More generally, Australia has continued to conduct extensive maritime surveillance operations with P3C LRMP aircraft operating through Butterworth in Malaysia The monitor­ing of the important sea lanes in the South China Sea and the Straits of Malaysia is a valuable contribution to regional surveillance efforts Exchanges of information on issues of common security concern are. with changing strategic circumstances, assuming greater significance

In PNG and the South Pacific, Australia's potential strategic role assumes a wider dimension As the largest power, economically, military and geographically, our actions are a primary determinant of the direction and nature of strategic cooperation and a ma|or influence on regional stability At the same lime, while the island nations value our contribution, they have a strong sense of their independence and an expectation that we will remain sensitive to their concerns and priorities

The new security commitment concluded with Papua New Guinea in 1987 brought that relationship into line with the five power defence arrangements with Malaysia and Singapore It recognises the special strategic-relationship which exists between Australia and Papua New Guinea Our significant areas of common security concern, and the mutual benefits arising from close defence cooperation

Supporting Papua New Guinea's ability to provide for the security of its own territory and surrounding maritime areas and to manage its own affairs is of direct benefit to our own

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security Accordingly, cooperative defence activities are now focussed on a number of key areas The provision of additional patrol boats to the PNG defence force has been complimented by increased P3 surveillance and naval patrol deployments On land, projects are currently directed towards devel­oping defence related infrastructure and improving the tactical mobility of the PNG defence force, including the recently announced rotary wing capability

Among the island states of the South Pacific, our defence activities are similarly balancing the contribution we can make to strengthening strategic cooperation in areas of mutual concern while enhancing the ability of those nations to manage as far as possible their own security, particularly economic, affairs The Pacific Patrol Boat Project, the development of a regional surveillance centre and network, and the conduct of air and surface surveillance and patrol operations by Australia represent a most substantial contribution to meeting South Pacific strategic priorities

Such relationships must always be charac­terised by sensitivity and mutual confidence In this respect I welcome the trust which both the Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu Govern­ments have recently displayed in Australia when requesting assistance to maintain internal law and order Such situations when they do arise are most unfortunate and the nature and extent of any Australian involve­ment must be considered very carefully At the same time, the confidence which those nations displayed in Australia's willingness to provide support while not attempting to impinge upon their sovereign responsibilities bears ample testimony to our strategic standing

Australia's most substantial defence relation­ship has been with the United States As I noted earliei the United States own role in the region is coming under significant pressure It has long been recognised that Australia does not have the resources, nor would it be appropriate, for us to attempt to step into the shoes of our maior ally within the region

At the same time, those developments do highlight the importance of Australia contri­buting where possible to maintaining the strategic cohesion and stability long valued by both the United States and our regional neighbours Those activities, together with combined exercises and the present availability of port facilities and over flight rights in support of United States activities m the Indian and Pacific Ocean, make a valuable contribution

to our own security and the interests of the western strategic community more generally

New Zealand and Australia similarly have a proud tradition of defence cooperation beyond our shores Changing strategic circumstances, including the differences which have emerged between New Zealand and the United States, have tended to focus that cooperation on our shared strategic interests within the South Pacific Even in that more limited context, however, the importance to Australia of pursuing common security goals and of New Zealand maintaining significant military forces to support then remained unaltered Despite the suspension of defence cooperation between New Zealand and the United States, Australia is continuing to participate in substantial bilateral activities with New Zea­land Through the ANZAC frigate project, we are seeking to ensure a continuous basis lor effective maritime cooperation throughout the South Pacific

Tying these regional initiatives together with developments in the direct defence of Austra­lia. I believe we have for the first time an integrated defence strategy It is one which seeks to maximise favourable aspects of our strategic circumstances while providing sub­stantial insurance against the possibility that a direct threat may emerge at some time in the future

Importantly it is a strategy which reflects Australia's significant role in regional security affairs and our ability to act confidently in the pursuit of regional strategic cohesion and stability There are undoubtedly imporiant limits to our capacity to participate, but equally there are important opportunities and expec­tations that we should do so in certain areas And to the extent that we do so. we are enhancing our own direct security prospects

Our defence strategy for the maritime environment, which I have outlined tonight, is perhaps the key element in this overall approach to the self reliant defence of Aus­tralia It recognises the critical importance of the sea and air approaches to our own defence and the valuable contribution which capable maritime forces are able to make to our wider security interests and those of the region Defence in depth comes not just from the ability to act comprehensively in surrounding maritime areas but from the way in which activities in support of alliances and regional associations make the prospect of a direct military threat emerging far less likely

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QUESTION-ANSWER PERIOD

(Editorial Note. The first question was omit­ted due to incomplete transcript)

Question. How do you see the impact of India and its Naval build-up in recent times'' What sort of effect do you see it having on Australia's Naval restructuring''

Mr Beazley. I think I ought to start my remarks in answer to a question like that by saying we have good relationships with India, it is in our interest to improve our relationships with India, we ought to look for opportunities to be friendlier, and it was a terrific thing when the Indians sent a ship to the recent Fleet Review So. anything that I say has to be prefaced against that background, and as far as I can see, we don't have any clashing interests But India's situation is symptomatic of what is happening in our region overall, and will be the dominating political factor at the turn of the century. All of a sudden, our region is getting wealthy I think the problem that most of us have is that we have been brought up with the image of India and Asia that originated from church ricebowl appeals, or the equiv­alent sort of activity, that we've had in schools from time to time Whilst (audible, we missed the fact that India will pass France in GDP terms at the turn of the century Of all the races on earth, the race with the highest number of PHDs is India, and India has a middle class of at least a hundred million or so. which makes it bigger in thai regard than virtually, any European Nation You've got a ma|or power developing in the area of the Northern Indian Ocean But you've also got some substantial capabilities being developed by China, and Japan is becoming increasingly important both politically and economically in the area And you've got the Soviet Union still stating that it's going to play a role in Pacific affairs, with the United States a country not to be ignored What you are talking about now is a complex set of arrangements and relationships such that we have never had before in this area; at least wilhin the living memory of Australians

India is part of that process We are going to have a complex interrelationship between big powers, and medium size powers, which just about includes everybody else in the neighbourhood, and I'd like to think ourselves too That is not a situation to be feared It is clearly a set of political circumstances which all our planners, including our military planners have to take into account

Question. Minister, I'd like to make a comment first, and then ask your views on I think one of the current issues The issue is, the capital equipment program, and I think that issue faces not only the uniformed and non-uniformed members of the Defence Force, but also we in industry I think we as a partnership, are going to have to manage that capital equipment program What are your views on both Ihe strengths and the weaknesses of that partner­ship in Australia to be able to handle the program?

Mr Beazley. Well we've done I think an awful lot better than anybody could have anticipated over the last four or five years in approaching management and in getting industry up to speed to deliver what we need But we have imposed enormous strains on Australian industry Particularly, I might say, on the competitive element of it I think if you look ob|ectively at our ship building industry, and our electronics industry, over the last few years, what you've seen is an industry that was developing a whole raft of companies with expertise in specific areas Gradually, via both takeovers and consortiums, the number of companies has come down to just a few, and basically what our Australian industry has recognized, is that some of the proiects that they have to address in the Defence area, and Telecom for example, are so large that they simply can't operate on the sort of small penny packet basis that they have in the past, and perhaps that's happened most dramatically in the ship building industry (eg Transfield) In the electronics industry, with a whole raft ot companies buying each other out. this process is continuing and we'll probably get down to three or four companies over time Three or four substantial companies, and hardly any­thing else So in a sense what we've done, at least in part through the Defence budget, is force industry to face up to the big picture of contemporary industrial structure I think we have imposed upon the Services themselves, enormous strains in project management where there are some substantial training and planning inadequacies I don't think we have fully appreciated how many people we need, both to manage projects, and to sail ships for example Then impose on top of that, what I think has to be a burgeoning area, that is, managing projects after the projects and contracts have been let; where we are capable

Ji mrnal n1 Ihn Australian Naval Institute Nnveinoet 89 Pafle Z1

of losing huge sums of money, and may indeed be doing so Then you have an even greater problem being imposed on the manpower resources in the Armed Services and on training in particular Both inside the Depart­ment of Defence, and the Services, often the process of training has taken place but there has been disappointment at delivery of the goods In fact, they're in a position where they are businessmen, and as important as deliv­ering the goods is the delivering of the price Now, in our Defence Force Academy here, and in arrangements that we've established with other training authorities, we re trying to get in place, the sort of courses that we'd need to address the problem But as with many areas of Australian technical endeavour in the engineering field, we are now addressing problems that we should have addressed around about 1975

Question. Minister, it seems to me that one of the problems, in the area of Defence and Foreign Affairs, that the government is going to have to address over the next years, is the stability of the region that we live in. and in particular the internal stability of regional countries What role do you see Australia playing in that context, what part would you see the Defence Forces contributing to that role, and how do you feel our current structure is for that purpose9

Mr Beazley. Well. I think the structure is fine, because of the process I think we're engaged in We are not, or rather Government has no intention, despite a bit of left wing rhetoric from some people about what our real intentions are. of doing the |ob in those areas ourselves What we do have an intention of doing, is being a good neighbour in the sense of providing technical capabilities Now some of that is through exercises and bringing the Armed Forces of these regional countries up to speed with the new equipment that they are them­selves absorbing, and I've already addressed that A lot of it has to be done through the Defence Co-operation Program (DCP), as illustrated for example by our situation in Papua New Guinea (PNG) I don't think that it sensible as people have suggested, to contemplate, not even if an invitation were forthcoming, and one would not anticipate the invitation to be forthcoming, to do |Obs directly ourselves But it is very important to us, that we maintain, through the DCP. the program that is desired by the Papua New Gumeans. so that their Armed Forces can maintain internal stability Therefore it was important to respond positively, after we'd developed

reasonable agreements on constraints, to a requirement to develop an air mobile capability for the PNG Defence Forces It is important for us to address the various elements of their training requirements that they have put forward to us in terms of both technical and operational capabilities of their armed forces One of the interesting things to note is that, for very sound management reasons, the aid budget overall in relation to PNG has been steadily declining over the last few years is, however our DCP has been steadily rising in real terms, as it has been rising in real terms in the South Pacific, and I would expect that this will be our focus What you will see is not commitments of large groups of Australian Armed Forces, but commitments of Australian individuals to ensure that where there is a requirement for the armed forces of a particular country to contribute to that country s stability we are there providing them with assistance

Question. Minister, you referred to New Zealand's Defence Budget problems in the past, and you have indicated that they don't have a price deflater, and at the moment there is also a cap on the budget, which means to say that the budget is declining very signifi­cantly in real terms If we can assume now that they're going ahead with the ANZAC Frigate project. I'd like to ask you a question concerning how the two things can be rec­onciled, and also the problems arising from that Is it not at least a possibility that the purchase of the Frigates will effectively govern the capital equipment acquisition programs for their other Services, and indeed also for the sensors and respective weapons systems, which could go into the New Zealand ANZAC Frigates as well9 If that's the case, firstly, does it not undermine the value of co-operation with New Zealand because of that9 Secondly, how far can you go in underwriting New Zealand s participation with the project9

Mr Beazley. This really is a question I would rather have had tomorrow night, because I noticed Frank Cranston in the back row While I'd like to answer rather frankly, there are some things that are in the answer to that question that I really wouldn't care to comment on I'd say that I'll give these impressions I've had the benefit of extensive discussions with Minister Tizard. and they are at least as across these problems as anyone else around the place as you can expect them to be I do think they believe that they have achieved the payment schedule, which will enable them to do the things that they need to do, and to be


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participants in the protect. I would think too that they believe that they have achieved the risk guarantees, which they would think would allow them to be participants in this program I'd draw attention to the fact that they are not without personal preferences and views about the structure of armed forces, and Bob Tizard has a major advantage over me in that he has a particular loyalty having been a Serviceman, and it's not the Navy, and he is a man who is deeply interested in for example, aircraft for the New Zealand Air Force, and he's not thinking of a PC9 So I think that what we must do is be much more sensitive to New Zealand than we have ever been I think really, when you look at the history of the relationships between our two countries, it's really only in the last two years that we really addressed each other's defence needs in a sensible fashion

And it's extraordinary, given that we have this self image of enormous co-operation in conflict, but how little we have been able to translate wartime co-operation into anything meaningful in peacetime, particularly in terms of contingency and strategic planning We've started to deal with that, but why should I be saying that now'' Somebody should have been saying that 80 years ago, and I think the ANZAC tradition that people like to talk about, really has only manifested itself in those years of war, plus the last two or three years on the ANZAC Frigate Project So it's an entirely appropriate name for it, because at least in my experience it's the first time that we ever sat down with our New Zealand colleagues; and I think looking back over the historical records this is the first time we have actually considered how do we defend and conduct the maritime defence of our region Doing it Ihrough the Frigate Project was the first time we've ever done it I think they've had a tremendous argument about it in New Zealand, the argument continues, and there are strong voices being raised against participation If the Frigate Project carries, I think it's an enor­mously important statement to this country that we ought not to forget If they carry that project, they are saying "we really do believe our defence with you is joint, we really do want to integrate our activities with you'. And that is a message which I fear may be lost on a lot of Australians. It won't be lost on me, because I've had to live with it But it will be a very major strategic statement Writing a White Paper was easy Putting it into practical effect is extremely hard, and their White Paper said Australia and New Zealand is a strategic entity This makes it a strategic entity, and it's a very difficult thing for them to do

Question. You talked about the extension of the DDGs beyond the turn of the century What do you envisage might ultimately replace if

Mr Beazley. Well that ought to be addressed to Admiral Hudson, because he's likely to have more longevity than I have There is no doubt that I think that there is a view inside the Navy that at least one thing for consideration is an upgraded version of the ANZAC Frigate I think that's a very strong view, and I would say, as a commentator, on what I think a future Defence Minister will decide around about the year '97, 98 — perhaps even earlier — is that it would be a sensible decision We have a build program under way that will do one thing for you It may be hard to address, in cost terms eight of what we now describe as first tier ships; but in fact a more sensible course of action may be to settle for four modified ANZAC frigates to replace the three DDGs, and then sit down, with the six FFGs in the program after that, to work out whether you need four or five of some much heavier class of ship and still maintain the same numbers But you would give yourself an option to put a great deal more on your first tier ship The first tier ships around the globe have got away from the FFG/DDG category, and they've got away from it far enough for us not to be able to contemplate eight of them If I was a betting man, I'd bet that is the way it would go

Question. At a global level, peace seems fo be faking over lately Most Western comment­ators say the Western Defence budgets stand to decline quite significantly in the next few years, but as you have said in the beginning of your talk tonight, we seem to be holding up pretty well in Australia, and our maior capital equipment projects, the ANZAC ships and new submarines respectively, have attracted prob­ably remarkably little critical comment from the Australian public You're more in touch with the Australian public, and their altitudes to Defence, than we in the Defence Sen/ices are Could you give us your impressions of the Australian public's attitudes to Defence and how it might change in the future

Mr Beazley. I think ils something that you have to weigh very carefully I think one of the criticisms that we did have, when we prepared the White Paper and released the report by Paul Dibb. was a criticism, at least in the main from academic circles in the United States, is that we were failing to address the main Western threat Nobody really in this country look it very seriously, but it did impose on me a very substantial obligation, when I was in

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