Rapid Fire May 3, 2013 – Australia’s Defence White Paper: Love Me Fund Me Eventually

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* Australia released its 2013 defence white paper [PDF] earlier today. The last one dates from 2009, and the government said it would publish updates at most 5 years apart because of the fast-changing environment in the Asia/Pacific region. They acknowledge the China-USA relationship as the biggest factor affecting their strategic environment, and see the […]

* Australia released its 2013 defence white paper [PDF] earlier today. The last one dates from 2009, and the government said it would publish updates at most 5 years apart because of the fast-changing environment in the Asia/Pacific region. They acknowledge the China-USA relationship as the biggest factor affecting their strategic environment, and see the Pacific and Indian oceans as merging into a single “strategic arc,” among other reasons because of how sea trade flows have evolved.

* That is a big strategic outlook for a country of less than 23 million people whose defense spending is on a declining curve, despite claims to be committed to raise spending to 2% of GDP. In the indeterminate future when a different government is in place, that is. A lot hinges on the US’s alliance with Australia and presence in the region, including ballistic missile defense, which Australia does not intend to develop on its own. Prime Minister Julia Gillard said plans for equipment purchases, from JSF to (new) Growlers to submarines, remained roughly in line with the 2009 white paper. That’s one way to put it.

* The Australian rants about a “fantasy fiction” blueprint that’s not backed up by appropriate funding, while the Sydney Morning Herald notes an effort to placate China. the Lowly Institute decries quietness on military integration with the US and future land programs, and the Australian Strategic Policy Institute also has a series of entries.

* The UK is also eyeing the “2% of GDP” defense spending level, but on the way down.

* Bloomberg chronicles how Chinese cyber spies compromised QinetiQ North America’s research between 2007 and 2010.

* The CSIS think tank is worried [PDF] about the US semiconductor industry and what it means for defense electronics.

* The Pentagon released its annual report [PDF] to Congress on military developments in North Korea. It says they’re still a conventional threat despite deteriorating capabilities.

* North African countries are slowly coming to grip with the fact they can’t wish their jihadists away.

* Andrew Tyler, a former COO of the UK MoD, will join Northrop Grumman as its chief for UK/Europe starting on July 1.

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