Rapid Fire May 29, 2012: Australian Spending, Such as It Is

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* The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) published its Defence Budget Brief 2012-2013 [PDF] last week. It starts like this: “The numbers tell the story. Next year the defence budget will fall in real terms by 10.5%, the largest year-on-year reductions since the end of the Korean conflict in 1953. As a result, defence spending as a share of GDP will fall to 1.56%, the smallest figure recorded by Australia since the eve of WWII in 1938.” * Karl-Heinz Kamp in a NATO Defence College paper [PDF] argues that if members of the alliance are going to go through budget cuts because of overwhelming financial pressure, they should at least proceed in a coordinated fashion to maintain aggregate capabilities. * The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) concurs [PDF] on the idea that there must be a method behind defense drawdowns. They project personnel costs in the US to creep up as a percentage of total spending while procurement would take the brunt of the cuts. This is already going on in Europe. * Bad idea dept.: Leonie Industries’ co-founder decides to deal with a critical reporter by personally doing what his firm does for the Pentagon. After admitting […]

* The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) published its Defence Budget Brief 2012-2013 [PDF] last week. It starts like this:

“The numbers tell the story. Next year the defence budget will fall in real terms by 10.5%, the largest year-on-year reductions since the end of the Korean conflict in 1953. As a result, defence spending as a share of GDP will fall to 1.56%, the smallest figure recorded by Australia since the eve of WWII in 1938.”

* Karl-Heinz Kamp in a NATO Defence College paper [PDF] argues that if members of the alliance are going to go through budget cuts because of overwhelming financial pressure, they should at least proceed in a coordinated fashion to maintain aggregate capabilities.

* The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) concurs [PDF] on the idea that there must be a method behind defense drawdowns. They project personnel costs in the US to creep up as a percentage of total spending while procurement would take the brunt of the cuts. This is already going on in Europe.

* Bad idea dept.: Leonie Industries’ co-founder decides to deal with a critical reporter by personally doing what his firm does for the Pentagon. After admitting to the reputation attacks, he’s divesting his 49% stake. Mr. Chidiac, tough public criticism of a reporter is fine. But using social media accounts in someone else’s name? Not. Cool.

* The dockside fire aboard the Improved Los Angeles Class fast attack submarine USS Miami [SSN 755] was serious enough that the US Navy may have to scrap her – and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard faces an equally nervous future.

* China has launched its 1st new “Type 056” corvette. These ships are seen as the next wave of PLAN modernization, replacing the Navy’s older Jianghu I/II light frigates in the East and South Sea fleets. That would make them the PLAN’s backbone in the congested, contested South China Sea.

* The Philippines wants up to 2 fighter squadrons, and is looking beyond the USA for planes with low maintenance & operating costs. Scarborough Shoals in the South China Sea has been a big recent flashpoint for them.

* Singapore inducts IAI’s Heron-1 UAV into service. The RSAF was known to use IAI Searcher and Elbit Hermes 450 UAVs, but the Heron buy and purchase of SPYDER air defense systems only came to light during the 2012 Singapore Air Show. The long-endurance Herons will replace the RSAF’s smaller Searcher UAVs.

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