CONTACT’s quick read of the Defence Strategic Review pulled out the following key points
[with paraphrased extracts contained in square brackets]
The ADF’s current force structure is not fit for purpose for our current strategic circumstances.
The current joint force, namely the combined effect of Navy, Army and Air Force working together, does not appropriately reflect the growth of domains.
The evolution to five domains – maritime, land, air, space and cyber – demands a new approach.
Given the strategic circumstances and limited resource base we face, investing in the critical capabilities will require divesting, delaying, or re-scoping other activities that do not advance the attributes of the Integrated Force.[Big expansion slated for Navy – “An enhanced lethality surface combatant fleet, that complements a conventionally-armed, nuclear-powered submarine fleet, is now essential” – but, a further “independent analysis of Navy’s surface combatant fleet capability should be conducted to ensure its size, structure and composition” compliment the new subs.]
The Government should confirm its commitment to continuous naval shipbuilding through an updated National Naval Shipbuilding Enterprise Strategy and updated supporting Naval Shipbuilding and Sustainment Plan.
Land-domain force structure design priorities must result in significant changes to Army force posture and structure.
Australia’s Army must be transformed and optimised for littoral manoeuvre operations by sea, land and air from Australia, with enhanced long-range fires.
- As a priority it must be able to provide:
- littoral manoeuvre capability by sea, land and air;
- long-range fires, including land-based maritime strike;
- air and missile defence; and
- close-combat capabilities, including a single armoured combined-arms brigade, able to meet the most demanding land challenges in our region.
Army’s combat brigades must be re-roled and select capabilities postured in northern Australia.
We strongly support the decision to acquire the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and its associated missiles.
We further recommend the acquisition of additional HIMARS and strongly support the ongoing co-development and rapid acquisition of the Precision Strike Missile in all its forms.
Our assessment is that the LAND 400 Phase 3 – Land Combat Vehicle System (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) acquisition must be reduced from 450 to 129 vehicles.
Army must cancel LAND 8116 Phase 2 – Protected Mobile Fires (the second regiment of self-propelled howitzers).[The MQ-28A Ghost Bat program should be a priority for development.]
We do not consider the B-21 Raider to be a suitable option for acquisition.
At this stage there is no need to generate a separate Space Force.
A comprehensive framework should be developed for managing operations in the cyber domain that is consistent with the other domains.
It is our strong recommendation that a senior officer or official be appointed whose sole responsibility is to lead the GWEO (guided weapons and explosive ordnance) Enterprise with an appropriate underpinning organisational structure.
While we are supportive of Defence’s approach to developing an ADF common IAMD (integrated air and missile defence) capability, we are not supportive of the relative priority that the program was given. The program is not structured to deliver a minimum viable capability in the shortest period, but is pursuing a long-term, near-perfect solution at an unaffordable cost. In-service, off-the-shelf options must be explored.
Download the government’s response to the Defence Strategic Review here.
Full text (unformatted version of DSR here (for ease of searching)
CONTACT’s key extracts from the Defence Strategic Review
Australian defence industry reps disappointed with DSR
Long-range rockets ordered for Army/RAN before Strategic Review finalised
$19billion for long-range strike
$3.8billion for northern bases