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Australian Maritime Doctrine

This is a discussion on Australian Maritime Doctrine within the Geo-strategic Issues forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Dr Kopp (I know, I know, I know ) has written a piece in "Defence Today - Dec 2012 on ...


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Old December 29th, 2012   #1
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Australian Maritime Doctrine

Dr Kopp (I know, I know, I know ) has written a piece in "Defence Today - Dec 2012 on the ADF's maritime role in the APAC region.

The general thrust of the article is that the "seismic shift in Asia in peer competitor capabilities" (mainly modern SSG's and SSNG's and anti ship missile delivery systems) should be causing the ADF to change strategic direction from "token contributions to alliance deployments and independent operations against lesser regional interventions. In lieu he opines that "while roles such as disaster relief, expeditionary deployments and sustainment of land forces is relevant, none possess the strategic importance of keeping unwanted submarines and aircraft out of Australia's sea lanes and, by default, the sea-air gap.

The paper argues that the capabilities, in particular, ASW capabilities developed during the Cold War were atrophied since the early 1990's however, with the rapid industrialisation of Asian countries and their consequent military modernisations, the lost Cold War capabilities are what is now required.

However, the real quote which caught my eye and prompted me to ask was this;
"The large scale Canberra purge of senior officers during the 2001 - 2002 period is notable in part by the type of officers purged - many of whom were leading advocates of capabilities intended to defeat advanced peer competitors. Their replacements were invariably advocates of no specific planning model at all, or idealogical adherants to the prevailing ideology of the day - distant interventions in developing nations and COIN campaigns."

This sounds like some third world despot scenario where the military is continually purged and de-purged at whim!
Did this really happen in a modern ADF? or rather is it the figment of a fertile and deluded Dr Kopp.
Alternatively, is he correct?
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Old December 29th, 2012   #2
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since the early 1990's however, with the rapid industrialisation of Asian countries and their consequent military modernisations, the lost Cold War capabilities are what is now required.
I would think that the most vital and relevant question to ask is whether in the next 2 decades or so, will any SEA country have a sub ability to 'threaten' Australia or whether any SEA country will attempt or plan to have such a capability - I highly doubt it. Traditionally, especially after the post-Confrontation era, Australia's main concern was Indonesia and off course other post Cold War developments like the Vietnam war and the Soviet presence in Vietnam but things have changed. What has not changed and is unlikely to, is that the main reason SEA navies want SSKs is to protect their littorals and mantain a balance with what their neighbours have.

On paper, only one country has the ability to 'threaten' Australia's SLOC and that off course is China.
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Old December 29th, 2012   #3
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If you ask the wrong questions, are the answers presented even useful?

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I would think that the most vital and relevant question to ask is whether in the next 2 decades or so, will any SEA country have a sub ability to 'threaten' Australia or whether any SEA country will attempt or plan to have such a capability - I highly doubt it.
One, define 'threaten'.

Two, do you even need submarines to present a 'threat' to sea lines of communications (SLOC)?

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What has not changed and is unlikely to, is that the main reason SEA navies want SSKs is to protect their littorals and mantain a balance with what their neighbours have.
Really?

Australia, US, and Singapore (each with larger defence budgets that any other ASEAN member) have independently developed strong military to military relationships with Indonesia (who is the leader of ASEAN). All 3 countries are providers of aid, information and resources to the TNI (including sub-rescue from Singapore), to help the Indonesians grow their capability in a planned manner. There is a strong concerted push by Australia (transfer of C-130s and funding for counter terrorism), US (resumption of aid, transfer of EDA F-16s and coast watch radars) and Singapore (provision of maritime domain awareness, transfer of trainer aircraft and dive boat) to 'partner' with Indonesia and to strengthen the military to military relationships.

The relative balance of power between Australia and Indonesia does not significantly change. However, I am of the view that relative balance of power between Malaysia and Indonesia will tilt strongly in favour of Indonesia over the next decade, as the Indonesian economy grows and if the TNI's modernisation plan continues to be funded at its current trajectory.

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On paper, only one country has the ability to 'threaten' Australia's SLOC and that off course is China.
In hard power terms, it is the Americans who can threaten China's SLOCs (read papers about 'off-shore' control written by Americans) and not the other way round, unless you want to assume that Australians are not allies of the USA. There are also two other points to consider:-

One, China, as a resource importer, is an important Australian export customer.

Two, Australian SLOCs are not just defended by Australia (the Americans, Japanese and S. Koreans have a stake in them too).
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Old December 29th, 2012   #4
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On paper, only one country has the ability to 'threaten' Australia's SLOC and that off course is China
China is the elephant in the room that defence planners must grapple with. Do we plan to be capable of defending against future incursions of PLAN assets into our SLOC/Air sea gap or do we ignore our largest trading partner and wealth creater because there is mutual benefit in remaining friendly and its all too hard/expensive in any case?

If we choose the latter does that mean we stay on track and plan for power projection in our corner of the world with limited expeditionary capability?

If I was running the asylum I would be taking an each way bet and developing capability for both strategies to the limit of the resources available with special attention to INTEL to give whatever long term strategic warning for directional change as is possible.

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer has never been more salient.

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Old December 29th, 2012   #5
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Two, do you even need submarines to present a 'threat' to sea lines of communications (SLOC)?
Off course you don't - but having subs certainly is an added bonus.

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Really?
In my opinion yes, the main reason that countries like Malaysia and Indonesia would want to get SSKs is primarily to protect their littorals and to try to maintain parity with their immediate neighbours.
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Old December 29th, 2012   #6
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In my opinion yes, the main reason that countries like Malaysia and Indonesia would want to get SSKs is primarily to protect their littorals and to try to maintain parity with their immediate neighbours.
Name each of them and explain.
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Old December 29th, 2012   #7
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This sounds like some third world despot scenario where the military is continually purged and de-purged at whim!
Did this really happen in a modern ADF? or rather is it the figment of a fertile and deluded Dr Kopp.
Alternatively, is he correct?
Yes there was a massive purge where officers were stripped of their rank and forced to go do even less work for more pay as business development managers for defence companies.
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Old December 29th, 2012   #8
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Name each of them and explain.
Apart from the benefits of having a sub-surface capability - with regards to being better able to 'defend Malaysia's littoral's and its EEZ - another reason was because the RMN did not want to be left behind, especially given that immediate neighbours like Singapore and Indonesia already had SSKs. Apart from the Spratley's issue, Malaysia's main concern - though it may not say so publically - is the Ambalat issue and the same applies to Indonesia which in recent years has taked steps to strenghten its military presence in Kalimantan, including reviving a military command to oversee operations in East and South West Kalimantan, the building of an air base at Tarakan [near the border with Malaysia] and the basing of UAVs in East Kalimantan.
Last year when I was In Indonesia, a retired TNI-AL officer offered the opinion that had the RMN not bought SSKs [Scorpenes], funding approval from the Indonesian government to enable the TNI-AL to gets SSKs would have taken much longer.

The author of this article also offers the opinion that the ''primary impetus'' that has lead to the purchase of SSKs is ''similar purchases by neighboring states''. The author also states that the Chief of the RTN has publically stated the need to get SSKs ''because regional neighbors had bought submarines'' - this also appeared in an issue of Asian Defence Journal some years ago. Of course for a country like Vietnam, the purchase of SSKs may be driven by other factors.

http://cogitasia.com/southeast-asian...imed-at-china/

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All 3 countries are providers of aid, information and resources to the TNI (including sub-rescue from Singapore), to help the Indonesians grow their capability in a planned manner.
The RMN had previously sent observers to 2 sub-rescue exercises hosted by the RSN at Changi and the RMN has said that an agreement with ''certain'' navies has been reached for assistance to be provided in the event of a sub accident.

There have also been discussions submarine between the RMN, RAN and the USN in the past.

http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=25712

http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/20...20_304365.html

Last edited by STURM; December 29th, 2012 at 08:44 AM.
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Old December 29th, 2012   #9
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Two, do you even need submarines to present a 'threat' to sea lines of communications (SLOC)?
OP the article expanded on this to cover a range of delivery systems for ASM's

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The relative balance of power between Australia and Indonesia does not significantly change.
Kopp makes the point that Indonesia has shaped Australia's strategic thinking for the last 50 yrs and the Sea air gap/area denial policies developed by our strong forward defence/ASW focus coincided with/complimented the Cold War strategies of the West. This obsession has now faded as Indonesian democracy has stabilized and her economy has grown (there are more defined "middle class" in Indonesia than there are people in Australia)
In recent times both Australia and Indonesia have become much closer, as you have shown.
Kopp's article relates to the whole of Asia Pacific (APAC) and does not confine itself to ASEAN therefor any commentary relates to a geographical area from the sub continent to NE Asia
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Old December 29th, 2012   #10
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Yes there was a massive purge where officers were stripped of their rank and forced to go do even less work for more pay as business development managers for defence companies.
I don't even have to look that up, this has assasin Peter Reith's hands all over it!
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Old December 29th, 2012   #11
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Dr Kopp (I know, I know, I know ) has written a piece in "Defence Today - Dec 2012 on the ADF's maritime role in the APAC region.

The general thrust of the article is that the "seismic shift in Asia in peer competitor capabilities" (mainly modern SSG's and SSNG's and anti ship missile delivery systems) should be causing the ADF to change strategic direction from "token contributions to alliance deployments and independent operations against lesser regional interventions. In lieu he opines that "while roles such as disaster relief, expeditionary deployments and sustainment of land forces is relevant, none possess the strategic importance of keeping unwanted submarines and aircraft out of Australia's sea lanes and, by default, the sea-air gap.

The paper argues that the capabilities, in particular, ASW capabilities developed during the Cold War were atrophied since the early 1990's however, with the rapid industrialisation of Asian countries and their consequent military modernisations, the lost Cold War capabilities are what is now required.

However, the real quote which caught my eye and prompted me to ask was this;
"The large scale Canberra purge of senior officers during the 2001 - 2002 period is notable in part by the type of officers purged - many of whom were leading advocates of capabilities intended to defeat advanced peer competitors. Their replacements were invariably advocates of no specific planning model at all, or idealogical adherants to the prevailing ideology of the day - distant interventions in developing nations and COIN campaigns."

This sounds like some third world despot scenario where the military is continually purged and de-purged at whim!
Did this really happen in a modern ADF? or rather is it the figment of a fertile and deluded Dr Kopp.
Alternatively, is he correct?
Our ASW capability is atrophying?

In the early 1990's we were in the middle of delivery of the Seahawks, now they're fully in-service. We have a larger fleet of MH-60R's currently in production.

We had a fleet of AP-3C's. Now we've got a fleet of AP-3C's that have been significantly enhanced and we've got a fleet of significantly more capable P-8A and BAMS UAV's planned or on the way.

In the early 90's we had a mix of O-Boats with Collins in production. Now we've got a full Collins fleet with a much larger replacement fleet project underway.

In the early 90's we were trading in River Class DE's for ANZAC Class frigates and now the ANZAC Class are planned to be replaced by an equal number of ASW frigates.

I'm reminded of the tremendous Princess Bride movie line when considering the Doctors words. "You keep using that word (atrophy). I do not think it means, what you think it means..."

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Old December 29th, 2012   #12
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Our ASW capability is atrophying?
You failed to take into account the immense ASW capability of the F-111!
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Old December 29th, 2012   #13
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Kopp makes the point that Indonesia has shaped Australia's strategic thinking for the last 50 yrs and the Sea air gap/area denial policies developed by our strong forward defence/ASW focus coincided with/complimented the Cold War strategies of the West
Total BS. ‘Cept for the intense periods 62-65 and 98-00 Indonesia has had very little to do with Australian strategic policy as a threat, and rightly so. On the other hand between 65-98 VietNam has dominated it. That is fighting the VietNam War and then preparing to refight it and then preparing to never to be able to fight it. Meanwhile the RAN and RAAF have been able to mostly sit out “strategic policy” and have just tried to develop balanced, state of the art forces to the allowed budget (what the Army wishes it could do). Every now and then these services have taken a budgetary blow (carrier) and even sometimes a free turn of dubious value thanks to “strategic policy” (RAAF bare bases). But in the end “strategic policy’s” most significant impact has just been on deflating the Army and didn’t that work out well the one time an actual strategic thing happened in our region: East Timor.
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Old December 29th, 2012   #14
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You failed to take into account the immense ASW capability of the F-111!
Basil Fawlty's words (don't mention the war!) were heeded when I left out Kopp's comments about F111 but, you will be pleased to note that by retiring them and subsequently purchasing 24 Shorenets we have suffered a net loss in capability of 60%.

I really have to stop reading "Defence Today" it seems to pith everyone off
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Old December 29th, 2012   #15
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I really have to stop reading "Defence Today" it seems to pith everyone off
You should have tried working there. Though after trying a few other magazines ole Strike Publications was by far the best organised and managed defence media company in Australia. Just a shame about the content.
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