• Tue. May 23rd, 2023

Defence review handed to Anthony Albanese as government plans to overhaul military

ByGurinderbir Singh

Feb 14, 2023

“The defence strategic review will help prepare Australia to effectively respond to the changing regional and global strategic environment and ensure Defence’s capability and structure is fit for purpose and delivers the greatest return on investment,” he said.

The review is expected to recommend Australia invest heavily in expanding its long-range strike capability through extra spending on missiles and drones.

There is a widespread expectation in defence circles that the review will recommend cuts to Australia’s fleet of tanks and armoured fighting vehicles, as well as a possible reduction in the number of Hunter Class frigates under construction at the Osborne naval shipyard in Adelaide.

Construction of a fleet of frigates for the Royal Australian Navy has been plagued by cost blowouts and delays.

Construction of a fleet of frigates for the Royal Australian Navy has been plagued by cost blowouts and delays.

The army has been particularly concerned that it will be targeted for cuts as the government increases spending on the navy and air force.

Defence Minister Richard Marles said: “I have no doubt that the report that the prime minister and I are about to receive will be one of the most important works in Australia’s defence history.”

Describing the review as “the single most important re-evaluation of Australia’s strategic posture in the last 35 years”, Marles said it “ushers in a new era of defence policy in this country – one where our decisions are rooted in proper judgments, judgments which are based in the national interest”.

Marles said the government would take “some weeks” to prepare an unclassified version of the report for public release as well as an official policy response.

Smith, who has taken up a posting as Australia’s high commissioner to the United Kingdom, and Houston met with 150 experts while preparing the review and sifted through more than 360 written submissions.

The review examined Australia’s force structure – where its military assets are located – as the type of hardware Australia needs for modern military threats.


In an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age late last year, Albanese foreshadowed major changes to the nation’s military posture.

“Our defence assets need to not be about fighting a land war defending western Queensland because that is highly unlikely, but a lot of our assets are not really the ones that we necessarily need for this century and for the times – and also their location as well,” he said.

Marles has previously said the nation’s military should focus on the concept of “impactful projection”.

“The ADF must augment its self-reliance to deploy and deliver combat power through impactful materiel and enhanced strike capability – including over longer distances,” he said last year.

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