Strat­egy has to move for­ward

Townsville Bulletin - - DEFENDERS -

A KEY fac­tor in New land’s de­fen­sive pos­ture ge­o­graphic iso­la­tion.

While Aus­tralia’s air- sea gap from po­ten­tial ag­gres­sors has also been cited as a key de­fen­sive as­set, that gap has be­come less re­as­sur­ing.

Pun­dits are spec­u­lat­ing whether rogue Marx­ist state North Korea’s lat­est rocket tech­nol­ogy could de­liver nu­clear weapons to Aus­tralia.

How far that rocket could reach into the Aus­tralian main­land and whether North Korea’s er­ratic tech­nol­ogy could ac­tu­ally suc­cess­fully det­o­nate a nu­clear de­vice are sim­ply spec­u­la­tion.

In all that spec­u­la­tion, New Zealand as a po­ten­tial tar­get is never men­tioned.

Acres of trees have been sac­ri­ficed by de­fence plan­ners and staff col­lege stu­dents who have writ­ten end­less trea­tises on de­fence of the Aus­tralian main­land.

These will now have to ad­dress whether Aus­tralia pos­sesses or should ac­quire the ap­pro­pri­ate de­fen­sive mis­sile tech­nol­ogy to counter a North Korean mis­sile threat.

Aus­tralian de­fence strate­gists once sub­scribed to the Domino The­ory, that as Asian states were al­lowed to fall to com­mu­nism, they would tip neigh­bour­ing states as well.

The Domino The­ory was top­i­cal in the im­me­di­ate World War II af­ter­math when it took six weeks by sea to travel to Eng­land, but only seven days by fly­ing boat. Zeais its

In 1945 RAAF trans­ports reg­u­larly plied the route from Aus­tralia to PNG through In­done­sia to Bor­neo and The Philip­pines and re­turn, a jour­ney over sev­eral days.

It was rea­son­able to as­sume then Aus­tralia had suf­fi­cient time to re­act to a south­ward thrust, though it was thought bet­ter to deal with any per- ceived threat in its coun­try of ori­gin.

The ar­gued re­sponse was for­ward de­fence, which in­volved wars in Korea, Malaya, Bor­neo and Viet­nam.

Var­i­ous US, UK, Aus­tralian and NZ al­liances saw troops sta­tioned in Hong Kong, Sin­ga­pore, Malaysia and Thai- land but as the Domino The­ory lost cred­i­bil­ity, stand­ing for­eign forces were grad­u­ally with­drawn from South- East Asia.

Some to­ken rem­nants re­main, such as the Aus­tralian Ri­fle Com­pany at the Malaysian Air Force base at But­ter­worth, a force whose in­tent over many years was the de- fence of RAAF as­sets based there, par­tic­u­larly as a ready re­ac­tion force dur­ing what is now ac­knowl­edged as the sec­ond Malaysian Emer­gency.

Long a se­cu­rity prob­lem, rad­i­cal Is­lam has since re­placed com­mu­nism as the dom­i­nant re­gional threat, par­tic­u­larly in south­ern Thai­land sponsored by and in the south­ern Philip­pines. Mod­ern trans­port and com­mu­ni­ca­tions make travel be­tween dis­tant lands let alone our near­est neigh­bours quick and sim­ple.

De­spite strict se­cu­rity con­trols over in­ter­na­tional trav­ellers in­clud­ing those mov­ing il­le­gally, borders are por­ous.

Ad­di­tion­ally in poorly su­per­vised in­ter­na­tional waters it is nigh im­pos­si­ble to prevent il­le­gal move­ment be­tween ju­ris­dic­tions.

While NZ can af­ford to be com­pla­cent in its splen­did iso­la­tion, the south­ern Philip­pines and North Bor­neo are con­tigu­ous states.

The abil­ity of Is­lamic State aligned in­di­vid­u­als to move freely be­tween them is of se­ri­ous con­cern.

Aus­tralia’s de­ci­sion to com­mit RAAF sur­veil­lance air­craft to the re­gion and the pos­si­bil­ity ADF ad­vis­ers might as­sist Philip­pine forces are sen­si­ble pre­cau­tions.

For­ward de­fence still has its con­sid­er­able mer­its, par­tic­u­larly when of­fence is of­ten the best form of de­fence.

Long a se­cu­rity prob­lem, rad­i­cal Is­lam has since re­placed com­mu­nism as the dom­i­nant re­gional threat, par­tic­u­larly in south­ern Thai­land and in the south­ern Philip­pines.

BROAD­WAY SOUND: Band mem­bers Sergeant James Duquemin, Mu­si­cian Dan Bam­ford, Mu­si­cian Mansell Lai­dler, and Mu­si­cian Grant Thomas.

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