The australian naval institute

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Registered by Australia Post Publication No NBP 0282


1 The Australian Naval Institute has been formed and incorporated in the Australian Capital Territory
The mam ob|ects of the Institute are

a to encourage and promote the advancement ot knowledge related lo the Navy and the Maritime profession

b to provide a forum lor the exchange ot ideas concerning subjects related to the Navy and the Maritime profession

c, to publish a journal

  1. The Institute is self supporting and non-profit making The aim is to encourage discussion, dissemina­tion of information, comment and opinion and the advancement of professional knowledge concerning naval and maritime matters

  2. Membership of the Institute is open to

a Regular Members — Members ot the Permanent Naval Forces of Australia b Associate Members — (1) Members of the Reserve Naval Forces of Australia

  1. Members of the Australian Military Forces and the Royal Australian Air Force both permanent and reserve

  2. Ex-members ot the Australian Defence Forces, both permanent and reserve components, provided that they have been honourably discharged from that torce

  3. Other persons having and professing a special interest in naval and maritime affairs

c Honorary Members — A person who has made a distinguished contribution to the Naval or

maritime profession or who has rendered distinguished service to the Institute may be elected by the Council to Honorary Membership

  1. Joining fee for Regular and Associate members is $5 Annual Subscription for both is $15

  2. Inquiries and application for membership should be directed to

The Secretary. Australian Naval Institute. PO Box 18, DEAKIN, ACT 2600


As the Australian Naval Institute exists for the promotion and advancement ot knowledge relating to the Naval and maritime profession, all members are strongly encouraged to submit articles tor publication Only in this way will our aims be achieved


In writing for the Institute it must be borne in mind that the views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Department ot Defence, the Chief ol Naval Staff or the Institute

The Editorial Committee reserves the right to amend articles lor publication purposes




From the Editor 3

Seapower84 5

Annual Subscriptions 5

Correspondence 7

Defence Decision Making and a Military Strategy

by Lieutenant Commander P.L. Clark RAN 11

The Exploitation of Technology by the RAN During the Next Ten Years

by Lieutenant Commander D.J. Farrell RAN 17

The Duty Task Inventory

by Commander H.L. Daw and Lieutenant Commander G.P. Robson 21

RAN Acquisition of a Ships Bridge Simulator

by Lieutenant Commander F.A Allica RAN 25

The Gladiator and the Bureaucrat

by Lieutenant K.C. Bayly-Jones 35

The Proof and Experimental Establishment Port Wakefield

by Lieutenant K.C. Mathews RANEM.... 39

Washington Notes

by Tom Friedmann 45

Ships and the Sea by Commander R.J. Pennock RAN

Kangaroo Island Tragedies 49


Chapter News 52

AGM Notice 53

SGM Notice 53

Canberra Chapter Meeting 53

Book Reviews 55

Journal Back Issues and Binders 57

Naval Institute Insignia 59

Membership and Address Form 60

Articles or condensations of articles are not to be reprinted or reproduced without the permission of the Institute. Extracts may be quoted for the purposes of research, review or comment provided the source is acknowledged

The front cover: USS TEXAS —courtesy USN

Journal ol the Australian Naval Institute - Page I

Page 2 Journal ot the Australian Naval Institute


I am pleased that we have been able to procure another coloured front cover and I would like to think that the habit will become well-established, but it all depends on our advertisers: if we have a coloured ad. then at very little extra cost we can run colour on the cover May I take this opportunity to thank all our advertisers, regardless of their colour, and our advertising sub-editors, Ian Noble and Frank Allica.

This edition contains a mixed, but interesting collection. Without running through all the contributions. I would like to draw your attention to a couple of pieces on little known subjects. Ken Mathews has responded to the earlier call for articles about the smaller establishments and has brought HMAS PORT WAKEFIELD to our attention, whilst Frank Allica has delivered a very illuminating article on an RAN first — the bridge simulator project The RAN Staff College ANI Silver Medal was won by Lt Cdr Farrell and his essay follows along the lines of the earlier piece by Frank Allica on the way ahead (there is also some interesting correspondence on that subject) Another Staff College paper has been given a new lease of life by Peter Clark: though written a few years ago, he still felt that his views on Defence decision making were apposite today. To round off this summary of the contributions, there are some Washington Notes that echo the views expounded by Sir VAT Smith (by the way. Tom Friedmann is looking for a copy of Vol 1 of the Official History of the RAN in WWII — any help?), the Assistant Editor. Haydn Daw. has a further article on training which is not as esoteric as it might seem; and Kim Bayly-Jones poses the question of when best to introduce young officers to the intricacies of Head Office

My predecessor, Robyn Pennock, is keeping me well supplied with Ships and the Sea articles, with special reference to the shipping industry centred on Adelaide, but there is still plenty of scope for other budding historians. Another former editor. Dick Perryman, is to be congratulated on his gong in the last honours list, and one of our major contributors over the years (strangely silent at the moment!) has been awarded the Captain Gulness pnze of C100 by the Naval Review — well done. James Goldnck

Elsewhere in this edition, you will find notices about SEAPOWER 84. currently scheduled toi April 1984. and tor this year's AGM on the 28th October 1983 An unpopular issue is annual subscriptions which are now due for renewal; despite my exhortations as Secretary last year, there were far too many late payers, so please send your cheques off now

Lastly, two more thoughts for the future. The next edition of the journal will definitely be on the related themes of oceanography, meteorology (with an article from our correspondent at the America's Cup), hydrography, law ol the sea, and coastal surveillance. Intending authors, and those in positions where they can persuade intending authors to put pen to paper, please note that the copy deadline will be the 24th October; the earlier the better The Art sub-editor, John Mortimer, and the Distribution sub-editor. Charlie Lammers. are both keen photographers and collectors of pictures of ships. They have suggested, and I have passed to the Council lor consideration, that as there is no central repository of historical photographs in the RAN. including those being taken today by Service and civilian phots, the ANI might like to consider organising such a service. I do not want to be deluged with negatives, prints and photo albums in the next lew weeks as the project is no more than a fascinating thought at the moment, but I would like our readers to think about the implications and possibilities and perhaps send ideas to us

Geoff Cutis

Journal ol the Australian Naval Institute — Page 3




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Page 4 — Journal ol the Australian Naval Institute


Following the outstanding success of Seapower 79 and Seapower 81, the Council of the Australian Naval Institute is planning our Third International Seminar to be held in Canberra on 27th and 28th April, 1984.

Seapower 84 will explore the subject of Australia's maritime dependence. Speakers of national and international renown are being gathered together to address this subject from the viewpoint of strategy, politics, industry and diplomacy, commerce and media. The Chief of Naval Staff is amongst these distinguished speakers and it is hoped that the seminar will be opened by His Excellency the Governor-General.

The next issue of the Journal will contain further details; in the meantime, note your diary.


Subscriptions for the next financial year 1983-1984 are due on the 1st October 1983. Please pay as soon as possible and make your cheques/money orders payable to the Australian Naval Institute for $A15. Renewals should be forwarded to:

The Treasurer Australian Naval Institute PO Box 18 DEAKIN ACT 2600 (AUSTRALIA)

No proforma is supplied or required but if your mailing address has changed recently, you should use the usual change of address form in the journal and enclose it with your subscription.

Journal ot the Australian Naval institute — Page 5

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Page 6 Journal ot the Australian Naval Institute



Dear Sir,

In the haunts where Ancient Manners lurk, the conversation all too often, especially after a couple ot gins, tends to bewailing the way it never blows like it used to. and how the modern Navy is not like of old

How reassunng then to this AM to learn trom the February 83 issue of the Journal, that the Nelsonic virtue and chivalry to the weaker sex is still present — vide John Whittaker's article. I am sure that he looked after the lady in distress in the same way that Nelson did Emma Hamilton

Also it is clear from Don Fry's address that the same standards can be expected from the Naval Stores branch as applied 27 years ago

So, at least in some respects, it does blow like it used to

Yours laithlully R.J. Bassett


Dear Sir.

On Sunday the 24th of April, we saw on the TV news, a report of the unveiling, with due ceremony, of a Naval plaque at the entrance lo Man ot War Steps. Farm Cove. Sydney Readers may care to know that the inscription reads:

This landing area was erected for the Royal Navy in 1913. For 150 years. Man ot War Steps served as the landing and embarkalion point lor the men of the British and Australian Fleets in peace and war

From these steps. 2.215 officers and sailors ot the Royal Australian Navy left to serve their country in the Great War ot 1914-1918. the Second World War 1939-1945. Korea. Malaya and Vietnam never to return to enjoy the fruits of their labours in their native land.

"Ye who tread their footsteps Remember their glory

Erected by the Naval Association on the 20th January 1983'

A plaque on the eastern side of the Steps reads: In conjunction with the official opening of the

Sydney Opera House in 1973. The Store Jetty, known as Man of War Steps, was restored jointly by the Dept of Public Works and the Maritime Services Board, when a ramp and berthing pon­toon were added to the structure.

The Store Jetty is situated near the site ol the private landing steps built during the administra­tion of Major General Lachlan Macquane. Gov ol NSW (1810-1821) and tor a period, formed one ot the walls ot a small boat harbour situated lo the west

In Admiralty charts dated 1857 the Store Jetty was named Watering Place" and no doubt was used by vessels at anchor in Farm Cover to obtain water supplies. The use of the jetty lor the movement of personnel and stores to and Irom naval vessels moored in the (Farm Cove) Man ot War anchorage nearby, early last century, and the facilities continued to be used by the Royal Australian Navy until work on the present recon­struction '

Another interesting plaque, unveiled by Admiral Sir Victor Smith in 1981 is in Parramatta and reads: This memorial was erected by the Council ot the City of Parramatta in conjunction with the Naval Historical Society ol Australia to commemo­rate the service ot all ships who bear the name PARRAMATTA in the Royal Australian Navy HMAS PARRAMATTA (Torpedo Boat Destroyer) 1910-1928. HMAS PARRAMATTA (Sloop) 1939-1941, HMAS PARRAMATTA (DE) 1959. The stern of the Torpedo Boat Destroyer, first ship built tor the Royal Australian Navy, is embodied in this memorial It was the last class ot British warship designed with an outboard rudder

And finally, a couple ot ideas for the Council and members to consider How about the ANI Council issuing members with some form of membership card for use as a means of identification when visiting ships and depots (especially useful for Associate members)-? How about the Institute insignia made up as a coat badge-? And how about a special ANI birthday card to celebrate the RAN s 75th birthday?

Yours taithtully Eric Jehan

Journal ol the Australian Naval Institute — Page 7


Dear Sir

In his letter Maritime Operations in your May 1983 issue. Air Vice Marshal Candy waffles furiously in Ihe finest traditions of blirnpdom — the impertinence of that young puppy Allica to dare suggest there may be a case for the Navy running its own air1 Obviously the youngster has never studied any history and is totally ignorant ol the subject, a handicap he shares with the unfortunate Americans. Russians. French and other ignorant foreigners who al this very moment are expanding naval air as fasl as they can lick

Come to think ot It however why do we need a separate Air Force at all' A very good case can be made lor the RAAF being declared a redundant Service whose personnel and equipment would be better employed shared as requisite between the older Services, with any surplus lunds thus released becom­ing available for the purchase of hardware relevant to defence, rather than to the acquisition of aerial hot rods orientated exclusively to the pathetic vision of a replay of Ihe Battle of Britain forty years on

Such an initiative would lead to the abandonment of various absurd combined schools which exist only as a resull ot the present aberration of the existence ol a surplus Service and also to the elimination ol the uneditying spectacle of Admirals and Generals in an operational situation grovelling lor vital support, which the Air Force as presently constituted is perfectly entitled to be loo busy to provide

Yours faithfully

WOC Roberts


The following two letters were printed in The Canberra Times following AVM Candy s letter in the last Journal


Air Vice-Marshal C D Candy s letter {The Canber­ra Times. April 20) invites response

I have not yet read Lieutenant-Commander Alli­ca s article, allegedly proposing that the RAN should

lake control of the RAAF s maritime-patrol squad­
rons However. I do not believe this suggestion
should be dismissed lightly, as the Air Vice-Marshall
suggests, on the basis that it has been discounted in
the past Circumstances have changed greatly in
recent years, and we need to make Ihe best use of our
limited assets and resources.

I think Air Vice-Marshal Candy sums up the issues very well To quote him They are crystal clear — let navies continue to control operations against forces on or below Ihe surface ol Ihe sea, whilst air forces must continue the exercise of air power in all of its roles. including maritime reconnaissance and maritime strike

But should we — using this logic — develop a fourth (and separate) arm of the Australian Defence Force a Royal Australian Submarine Force, if you like to exercise submarine power in all of its roles, including maritime reconnaissance and maritime strike?

Of course not1 But whal Air Vice-Marshal Candy, and so many others, overlook in this obviously ongoing argument is that the "issue is not surface, or sub-surface — or air; clearly, it is maritime.

A definition may clarify the matter even lurther: maritime is defined in different dictionaries, variously as "connected with the sea"; relating to navigation, shipping", etc; pertaining to the sea ; bordering the sea", or nautical Air surface and subsurface are artificial divisions — designed, perhaps, to retain and protect the status quo

And despite his assertion that RAAF maritime-reconnaissance crews have ", through exercises, inter alia, with simitar forces of many other nations, built up international recognition of. and renown lor their expertise and performance". Ihe true measure ot their expertise must be their experience and know­ledge of maritime matters

This includes the way naval officers think (After all. they comprise the opposition — in fact, not just in the mind) It includes the effect which inclement weather, for example, has on ships and men who spend long periods at sea (without returning to the comfort of home, and without time off to recover Irom fatigue at the end of the sortie)

These may seem tenuous requirements — perhaps they are But it proves, surely beyond doubt, that the maritime reconnaissance crews only have that knowledge of the maritime environment which can be gained from the air during each sortie At best, this must be described as limited.

Therefore, perhaps Lieutenant-Commander Alli-ca's suggestion is not as unsupportable as Air Vice Marshal Candy makes out; perhaps the maritime patrol squadrons should be put into the hands ol the experts who best know Ihe maritime environment (and the opposition)

Might I add — noting Air Vice-Marshal Candy s heavy reliance on British precedent — that in the late 60s early 70s the British Government (like our own in 1983) decided to pay oft the Royal Navy s carriers on the assumption (like our own in 1983) that the Air Force could and would support the Fleet

However, even with a larger air force which included tankers, a smaller coastline to protect and many more airbases suitable for modern aircraft the Royal Air Force was unable to provide the necessary support As a result, the Invincible-class carrier and STOVL aircraft, which proved essential to the success of the Falklands campaign, were developed

The lesson for Australia is clear — as time will tell

N.C. Hyland


With all due respect to Air Vice Marshall CD Candy RAAF (Retired) I wish to take issue with his letter of 20 April I can tind no evidence which would suggest that Ihe RAN has made a serious attempt to take control ol airforce s maritime squadrons and it would appear that Navy has had no aspirations to achieve these ends, certainly in the recent past

An analysis of most maior navies ol the world shows that in almost every case operational command of maritime lorces. including maritime patrol aircraft

Page 8 - Journal ot the Australian Naval Institute

(MPA). is exercised by naval command Air Vice Marshal Candy s reference to the British example is in error as operational control of MPA in the UK Defence Force is permanently delegated to AOC 18 Group who is operationally responsible to CINCFLEET Of particu­lar Interesf is the US Navy who not only have operational control of their MPA but fly and maintain them highly successfully as an integral part of the USN It is obvious that the Australian system of operational control is out of step with the rest of the world

The present Australian maritime command struc­ture is similar to structures overseas but is activated only for exercises and in lime of war and or tension Joini Force exercises continually highlight flaws in this system which are difficult to correct because of the lack of continuity in command and control and Ihe need for tri-service agreement to any change Clearly the command structure in peace should be the same as in war and this requires the continuous appointment ol one maritime commander in control ot all maritime assets, air, surface and subsurface to conduct opera-lions in all facets of maritime warfare. Only Navy has the maritime expertise to exercise this command

This proposal is nol inconsistent with the state­ment made in February 1983 by Ihe Minister for Defence in outlining the present Government s policy on Detence. A commitment is implied in this statement to organize a single, multi-service maritime command which would include all sections of Ihe Defence Force devoted to defence of trade, Australian maritime supply lines, protection of Australia s coast and resist­ance to an enemy force.

I agree with Air Vice Marshal Candy in his recognition of MPA personnel and I applaud Ihe dedication and expertise of Ihe RAAF air and ground crews of the maritime squadrons. I also agree in light of a no carrier decision by the Government, that navies should "continue to control operations against torces on or below the surface of Ihe sea' My proposal for Navy to take control of the MPA squadrons would provide a maritime commander with control ot aircraft which are tasked in operations against forces "on or below the surface ol the sea"

FA, Allica Lieutenant Commander RAN


Dear Sir,

I would like to comment on a number of points made by Father Michael Head in his letter to the ANI Journal ol November 1982. I have three major con­cerns with his letter

  • I cannot accept that education and training are an ill matched pair, at least in the RAN I do not see education and training as discrete entities and I believe there are examples in Navy where education and training sit fairly happily together.

  • Secondly. I reject the implication that naval officers are trained and not educated

  • Thirdly, while the study ol Latin, Greek and so on may lead a person to think systematically, there is no guarantee of this.

It is dangerous to gel into a position of trying to

define training and education and there is little useful purpose in doing so here The difficulty is illustrated by reference to Father Head s letter where the problem of separating education and training is illustrated For example An educated mind has such a training The popular conception of education and training will do. That is, training is usually related to the learning of specific tasks for a job. and education is generally broader in nature, a preparation tor life or a whole variety of tasks or performances The important point is that both involve learning and can be reflected in human performance. I see educalion and training as being more on a continuum rather than discrete entities and much instruction, even in the RAN. contains elements of both. This certainly applies in the case of officers where the concentration is on education in early service

With regard to my second concern, surely no person familiar with RAN officer development would want to argue that it was not balanced on the education — training continuum Father Head appears to be suggesting that it is nol Many Servicemen may think the pendulum has moved too far towards educalion Naval officers have been attending Ihe University of NSW and completing degrees, or completing other educational courses at the Naval College for over a decade now Ves. some of them are even completing arts degrees and arguing moral and political questions in tutorials

Of course it does not end there as it does in many organizations Besides developing officers in naval skills during their careers, the educational process is also continued Officers attend a wide variety of educational institutions both Sen/ice and civilian, within Australia and overseas My experience would suggest that naval personnel are at least as interesting and stimulating in social settings as most other occupation­al groups

My third concern relates to Father Head's claim that an educated mind has such a training that a systematic way ol thinking is second nature to it If by an educated mind' Father Head is referring to someone who has been educated in Ihe normal sense, then this claim is simply nol true It may be true, but there is no certainty about it My personal experience in Ihe field of training is that there is no guarantee that an educated person such as an arts graduate, will approach course design in a syslemalic manner

I am not sure how much contacl Father Head has with naval officers today If he has found the older brigade like me lacking in education then I can assure him it is not the same with the younger officers

The RAN is most conscious of the need to develop its members through education and training. I believe the RAN. and the other Services, places a strong emphasis on education in the officer development program No one would want to argue lhat Ihe system is perfect, bul it is designed to incorporate revisions based on changing needs and feedback received on the product

H.L. Daw Commander RAN

Journal ol (he Australian Naval Institute — Page 9


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Page to — Journal ol the Australian Naval Institute


By Lieutenant Commander P L. Clark RAN

(This article was written early in 1979 whilst I was a member of RANSC 1/79 Aside from some minor editorial changes I have made, the thrust of the essay is unaltered and therefore presents itself as a statement relevant to

that time PLC)

The Department ot Defence decision making process has been the subject of quite intense political and public debate during recent months. The major thrust of the criticism has been fuelled by the new capital equipment requirements of the military Accusations have ranged from wild inaccuracies (FFG costs) to some piercing truths. Happily, Government machinery has been activitated to deal with the latter

It is quite apparent that particular emphasis has been attached to the capital equipment decisions made in the Department despite the fact that new capital equipment only accounts for a relatively small proportion (14 percent in 1978-79) of Defence expenditure. Accordingly, this essay will examine the context in which capital equipment projects have assumed such a priority, the decision making processes woven into their development, and the consequent impact on a military strategy.


Despite the fact that capital equipment projects account only for a small proportion ot Defence outlays, their importance is readily apparent when one considers the long term effects of a decision to acquire a particular piece of equipment. For example, HMAS MELBOURNE has already been in service for over 20 years and her retirement is still some way off. Similarly other ships in service in the RAN have projected lives ranging from 20 to 35 years. Tanks, aircraft, in tact nearly all military fighting hardware, have predicted lives generally exceeding 15 years Thus, today's capital equipment decisions have a long term effect on the force structure and capabilities of our armed forces.

Since Australian military strategy is largely derived from existing and predicted shod-term capabilities, today's decisions on capital equip-

ment will have a long-term influence on a military strategy. For example, a decision to replace HMAS MELBOURNE in the early 1980s would see the new ship contributing a capability and hence impact on strategy until about the year 2030 Yet the decision on whether to replace such a capability will be based on current strategic assessments whose validity declines expon­entially with time. Although such assessments are notoriously deficient in their predictions of specific events, such as Iran and the North Vietnam/ China confrontation, they are reasoned and therefore should contribute in part to the decision making process

For those who may feel that the derivation of strategy from capabilities has got the horse and cart out of sequence, it is worthy to examine many of the Department's statements concerning Australia's independent capability to cope with low level contingencies within our region'

This situation really describes a new Australian definition of strategy — something I would call tactical strategy' In response to the question How well placed is the ADF to deal with this situation (scenario)7' the reply is based on tactical application of a particular range of

The Author

LCDR PL Clark. DFC |Oined the RAN as SL Aircrew entry in 1966 and undertook High! training Willi Ihe USN ai Pensacola. Florida Having gained his wings, initial postings in Ihe RAN were lo 725 and 723 squadrons as a helicopter pilot Following service with Ihe RANHFV (69-70) he then |0ined VC 724 squadron tor Macchi and Skyhawk conversions Service in lhe|el community has included lours on VF 805 and VC 724 squadrons, specialisation as an Air Warfare Instructor and later as NAS Nowra 5 Slalion An Warfare Instruc lor Prior to commencing the lirst RAN stalt course. LCDR Clark was serving in Ihe Naval Materiel Division at Navy Office He was Senior Pilot ol VF 805 Squadron 1980-1982. and is currently Commanding Officer ot VC 724 Squadron

Journal ol Ihe Australian Naval Institute - Page 11

capabilities Hence Australian strategy largely reflects a response to what is considered to be a plausible (and manageable) threat to the nation The broader aspects concerning our regional and global responsibilities in both a political and military sense are given scant, if any, attention Such weakness in grasping the true elements of strategy is clearly demonstrated by the fact that the Army and RAAF pursue a continental defence' strategy, whilst the RAN pursues a strategy firmly based on regional (and global) considerations

Whoever is right is irrelevant to the view that capital equipment decisions reflect the need for a particular capability, yet the decision-making process is excessively based on tactical strategic' thinking. Once acquired, a padicular capability forms another cornerstone for further tactical strategic' decision making processes The consequence of this situation is that our grand strategy' is gradually altered as a result of capital equipment decisions — not the reverse

Of course, many would disagree with this view For those, the aircraft carrier is a classic example. A decision not to acquire a replacement for HMAS MELBOURNE would enforce a considerable reduction in terms of the RAN's blue water or open ocean capabilities. Having achieved consensus on this point (a relatively simple task) greater momentum would follow for the protagonists of a brown water', patrol boat and submarine navy The consensus of such a prediction must be an irreversible trend towards a defensive continental strategy


The ma|or contributing factors in the decision making process are Government policy and the guidance issued for the implementation ot that policy Although this is as it should be. there are other considerations that have an impact on this aspect which is so critical to the efficient development of the Armed Forces.

Firstly, the division of financial resources amongst competing government departments is of critical impodance to the political survival of the Government. Hence allocations to the compet­itors are generally commensurate with their predicted cost effectiveness in political terms. With firmly established guidelines for the division of resources as a percentage of GDP, govern­ment departments such as Defence tend to receive a fixed share during peacetime. This has significant implications for Defence decision making and these will be discussed in more detail later

A second and most important factor which

contributes to the formulation of Government Defence policy is the attitudes of the public towards defence issues. It is suggested that there is a fundamental difference between the present Government's desire to exert a truly independent influence on international affairs which is not matched in all cases by the predominating attitudes of the public. One of the most basic differences between the two exists in the defence area

Public attitudes towards defence have largely been moulded by the major military conflicts of this century Australian participation in these events can be broadly described as a series of voluntary contributions to the call of major allies. Australia has yet to conduct a totally independent military operation guided only by Australian political and military considerations

This transition towards our new political ideals begs the question as to what the Australian Government is willing to do in military terms to support these ideals, particularly those of a foreign policy nature

Although both the Soviets and Americans continue to utilise their military forces effectively to support their foreign policy initiatives, the Australian Government appears to be undecided on this issue. The reason for this vacuum, and hence the absence of appropriate policy to guide the development of the Armed Forces, is the proposition that public attitudes still reflect our previous style of mililary involvement — a contribution to someone else s involvement If the public can not keep abreast ol our changing political situation and therefore not understand the new implications for the military, then the Government does not possess the requisite resolve of the people to pursue its political aims

Predictably, the Government has hedged its bets on matters of defence policy by alluding to a real commitment to: regional stability (in military terms). ANZUS. and the Defence of Australia.' :' With such a broad policy, the Government can be seen to be fulfilling both its international and national responsibilities However, in terms of Defence decision making, this policy is so broad that it is by necessity subjected to much interpretation because inadequate financial resources are provided to meet such a wide range of Defence responsibilities.

Problems With Defence Decision Making

The major problem associated with Delence decision making rests with the framework around which Government policy is established This framework generates the following competing demands which arise from the inadequate provision of financial resources

Pdge I'.' - Journal ol ma Australian Naval Inshluln

  • A trade-off between requirements for the defence of Australia and those stated com­mitments to our region and to ANZUS

  • The relatively standard allocation of financial resources invariably leads to competing inter-Service requirements.

Given this imbalanced situation, it is understandable why some military and political leaders are moving towards far greater emphasis on a 'Defence of Australia' policy. In February 1978. the then Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral A M. Synnot made the following statement in'the context of his assessment of the RAN:

There has been a fundamental transfor­mation of the strategic circumstances that governed Australia's security throughout most of its history In particular it should be noted that it is no longer practicable to pursue the earlier policy often termed "Forward Defence". The first call upon our Defence Force must now be in respect of our own national security'

Similarly, the then Minister for Defence, the Honourable D.J Killen stated:

We must sustain a defence force which supports our diplomacy so that both, in combination, effectively deter interference with Australia's sovereignty by the military forces of a foreign power We must sustain a defence force containing men with the right skills, possessing the right weapons, that could train and develop an expanded force as and when a major threat to Australia begins to emerge'.4

Whether or not these attitudes reflect a trend towards a fundamental change in Australian Defence policy is irrelevant at this time since they are not formally acknowledged. However, it is quite possible that they do influence the decision making process.


Having established the framework within which the decision making process must operate and the obvious constraints upon it, the process itself will now be examined.

Five Year Defence Program

The basis for Defence planning is the Five Year Rolling Programme (FYRP) system which enables the projection of both existing and new financial commitments to be managed in accordance with the estimated Government allocation of funds The Five Year Defence Plan (FYDP) is a specific five year element of the FYRP and will be the term used throughout this

discussion. The FYDP for budget purposes, is broken down into two major components:

  • Process A The projection of existing commitments, including all minor capital equipment projects.

  • Process B The projection of new unnapproved major capital equipment proposals and facilities.4

This article examines only Process B which is a reflection of the Service bids for new major equipments. These bids have been the maior source of debate and criticism directed at the decision making process

Policy and Planning

The 1976 Defence White Paper established Government policy for the development of the Armed Forces. Since this document is not specific and alludes to wide ranging military capabilities and commitments, it is understandable that the individual Services are concerned with its translation into more concrete statements as to actual capabilities.

Hence, Service bids for the FYDP process reflect their interpretation of the capabilities required to fulfil allocated functions The important point to note here is that the Services are making the interpretation of Government policy. The validity of these bids will be critically examined at routine intervals by the Defence committee system However, the fact remains that this examination can be nothing more than a refining process based on further interpretation of the capabilities required.

Two projects appear as excellent exampes of this process: the Tactical Fighter Force (TFF), and the Aircraft Carrier replacement These projects have stimulated a great deal of debate and criticism both within the Department and in the public arena. Such debate has iargely centred around either the fighting characteristics of the TFF (fighter/air-to-ground) or whether Australia needs an aircraft carrier at all. Both lines of argument are pure interpretation.

Much to the chagrin of many, a formal transition towards Defence of Australia' would not clarify the situation at all. The TFF could still be argued as a pure fighter or as an aircraft with some capabilities for maritime strike, whereas Navy could highlight our critical dependence on maritime trade and would be concerned with exerting a deterring influence in the focal' areas These focal' areas can be interpreted to be as distant as the Persian Gulf, and hence neces­sitate the retention of various capabilities such as an aircraft carrier.

Thus whatever the actual working is of the

Journal of the Australian Naval Institute Page 13

current style of Government policy, the battles will continue to be fought over interpretation One of the fundamental problems here is the fact that the Services are basing their inerpretations on actual capabilities for war. Yet our political ideals are aligned towards the preservation of international peace and stability Perhaps our Armed Forces should be more concerned with the maintenance of peace, rather than the prosecution of war — a subtle difference

If this is a reasonable proposition, it begs several questions. What is the Government willing to do for the preservation of peace7 Would public attitudes be in favour of any intervention in the affairs of another nation7 Finally, why is there a movement in political and military thinking towards a 'Defence of Australia7'

It is neither intended to argue the case here for this subtle change in policy, nor to promote the notion that the Government should dictate all military activities, but rather to highlight a view of the clouded atmosphere in which Defence decision making operates Moreover, there is a fundamental divergence between the political and military strategies. The former is biased towards the maintenance of peace and the latter towards the prosecution of war

In fact it could be said of the military that they are so entrenched in their study of scenarios to lustify their fighting capabilities (or the deficiencies needed to acquire new capabilities) that they fail to perceive and comprehend their political functions which are fundamental to their existence Similarly, it would be fair to say that their political masters have yet to understand the implications for the Armed Forces with respect to Australia s new political ideals

Financial Resources

The major factor which dictates the range of military capabilities which can be maintained or introduced is the annual budget allocation to Defence As mentioned earlier, this tends to be a relatively fixed amount in the order of 2 6% of the GDP The management of this allocation largely rests with the Department and there are a number of significant problems associated with this task.

Before examining this matter further, it is important to note the pressures placed on the Armed Forces as a result of the increasing bids for capital equipment Firstly, since funds are not separately earmarked by the Government for the introduction of new equipment, the Department must manipulate the budget allocation to accommodate the Service bids Any percentage increase in capital equipment spending would have to be matched by a compensating reduction in another area The likely targets for such activities are the manpower and operating

allocations, which together account for more than 80% of the Defence budget.

Since undermanning is already a serious problem, compensating financial reductions are invariably made against the everyday operating costs of the Services Whilst the effects of cuts against steaming time, flying hours and am­munition are obvious, they are of a far more insidious nature when the logistics arteries are restrained.

As the Services enter an era where many major equipments require replacement, the present methods of manipulating the Defence Vote will place intolerable demands on the day to day operations of the Armed Forces

These palliatives have been accompanied by a tendency within the Department to defer decisions on new capital equipment purchases Such deferrals have heightened competition among the Sen/ices for the limited funds available for this purpose and have exacerbated the demand for capital equipment funding in the 1980s.

In order to retain only present capabilities, decisions will have to be made during this period to replace many of the major equipments now in service Navy's case is particularly grave since the majority of its major combatants reach the end of their lives before the turn of the century The long lead times associated with warships acquisition highlights the demand for timely decisions during the 1980s.

The following represents a short list of Service bids for which decisions on replacement will have to be made during this period, purely to retain existing capabilities.

  • Aircraft Carrier (including aircraft)

  • three DDGs and six River Class DEs

  • fleet underway replenishment ship

  • six Oberon class submarines

  • Tactical Fighter Force

  • artillery equipment

  • utility helicopters.

At current rates of funding for capital equipment, these requirements represent at least 15 years worth of expenditure Add to this figure the remaining large number of demands also to be charged against capital equipment, then the problems for future Defence decision making are staggering

Undoubtedly, the Department recognises this fact. However, nothing can be done to alleviate the situation until such time that a fundamental change is made in Government policy concerning budget allocations to Delence


The Department of Defence decision-making

'.man Naval Institute

process which has evolved to deal with the new capital equipment requirements of the military has attracted a good deal of debate and criticism. One of the major reasons for this is the fact that these new capital equipment requirements form the cornerstone of military capabilities for a consid­erable period, which in some cases span more than 30 years. Moreover, it is upon these capabilities that a military strategy is derived.

The major considerations that impact on this decision making process are the interpretations made by the individual Sen/ices and the Department concerning the translation of Government policy into military capabilities The extent to which these new capabilities can be introduced is then dictated by the Government s allocation of financial resources

Government policy and the funds allocated for its implementation form the backbone of the Defence decision-making process Yet the Department has diverged from the Government over the interpretation of policy The military is too concerned with its capabilities for war, whilst the Government pursues the preservation of peace. This subtle divergence is then clouded by a transition in military and political thinking towards a Defence of Australia' policy. Such a transition is in fundamental conflict with our new independent political ideals which strive for the preservation of

international peace and stability Such a policy on international affairs is without substance if a nation is only concerned with an introspective outlook on defence issues.

Therefore, the very basis of the present decision-making process is at worst in direct conflict with our long term political ideals and at best, clouded by the appropriate interpretation of Government policy Even so, under existing guidelines, the present process will be inoperable during the 1980s because the significant demands for new capital equipments required to maintain only existing capabilities could not be funded under these arrangements

Hence an Australian military strategy, which is largely derived from our military capabilities, is unlikely to be aligned with the political functions which are fundamental to its existence.


  1. 1976 Defence White Paper

  2. Hon D J Killen M P Statement to the House ol Representatives 29 March 79

  3. Op Clip 6

  4. Minor capital equipment is defined as that which has no significant force structure or pint Service implications and a total cost ot less than $5 0m with no individual piece ol equipment costing more lhan $0 250m An equipment proposal which exceeds any of Ihe above cntena is defined as mapr capital equipment

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