Defence to align rhetoric with action in 2024.
The Defence Strategic Review by the Australian government has outlined six key areas for immediate action to safeguard the nation in the face of increasing global power competition and multipolarity. These priorities include acquiring nuclear-powered submarines through AUKUS, enhancing the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) ability to strike targets at longer ranges and produce munitions domestically, improving operations from northern bases, fostering a skilled defence workforce, swiftly integrating disruptive technologies, and strengthening diplomatic and defence partnerships in the Indo-Pacific.
Additionally, the review directed Defence to eliminate unnecessary barriers to acquisitions, streamline important projects and low-complexity procurements, expedite decision-making in defence projects, and collaborate closely with the defence industry to find practical solutions.
Industry reactions to the Defence Strategic Review have been mixed, transitioning from initial optimism to frustration. The delay in the release of the Defence Industry Development Strategy (DIDS) has added to industry concerns. The DIDS aims to establish the rationale for a sovereign defence industrial base, outline targeted industrial capability priorities, plan for workforce growth, propose procurement reforms, enhance security in defence businesses, and provide a detailed implementation plan.
This unfolds against the backdrop of a deteriorating global security order and a post-World War II paradigm shift, creating a sense of urgency that appears to be underestimated by both the government and the Australian public. As global events escalate, there is a growing realisation that Australia needs to act swiftly and effectively. The year 2024 is seen as a pivotal moment, marking a significant turning point in the global security paradigm. Australia needs Defence to align rhetoric with action, as the emerging global order may not be benevolent to the nation’s values and interests. There is a pressing need for execution to bridge the gap between discourse and concrete measures.