Asia Minute: Australia plans a major overhaul in its defense policy
Australia is planning the biggest shift in its defense spending since World War II. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says times have changed and the country's defense policy needs to adjust.
“The current Australian Defense Force structure… reflects a bygone era," stated in the Defense Strategy Review released Monday by Albanese's government.
It goes on to say that “Intense China-United States competition is the defining feature of our region and our time.”
One result will be a shift in Australia’s priorities — with a bigger emphasis on missiles, or “longer-range strike capability.”
The report says future security needs will be less about simply defending the country’s land mass and more about the ability to project military force in defense of shipping lanes and other aspects of Australia’s national interests.
That means continued and increased cooperation with the U.S., as well as friendly regional powers such as Japan and India.
The report also says Australia needs closer ties with partners in Southeast Asia, which it calls “one of the key areas of strategic competition in the Indo-Pacific.”
Defense Minister Richard Marles said it also underlines the importance of maintaining a “continuous shipbuilding capability in this country.”
Questions remain about what the new approach may cost, and what the plans are to pay for it.