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  • Seminar: The Imperative for an Independent Deterrent: A Joint Strike Seminar

Seminar: The Imperative for an Independent Deterrent: A Joint Strike Seminar

  • 23 Aug 2018
  • 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
  • National Convention Centre, Canberra

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Thank you for your interest in the seminar. The event is full and registrations have closed.  You are welcome to add your name to the waitlist and we will contact you if a spot becomes available.

Background

For over twenty years the F-111 provided the Australian Defence Force with a strike capability with the  strategic reach to provide Australia with an independent strike option should deterrence fail. For over thirty years the F-111 provided an Australian Defence Force strike capability with the  strategic reach to provide Australia with an independent strike option should deterrence fail. With the retirement of the long-range F-111, Australia’s future air strike capability now rests in the capabilities of the F/A-18F Super Hornet and F-35A, both equipped with appropriate long-range strike weapons and supported by a capable air-to-air refuelling force of KC-30A aircraft; the air-to-air refuelling force necessary to extend the unrefuelled range of both the F/A-18F Super Hornet and the F-35A to achieve the desired strategic reach.  

While Australia’s geo-political circumstances and regional threats are much changed from those which existed in 1963, when Australia committed to acquire the potent F-111 air strike capability, they are now more complex and much less straightforward than the Cold War heritage scenarios of the 1960s. But one aspect remains unchanged; Australia’s strategic geography, where strategic reach continues to support the case for an independent strike capability. The ability to strike at range brings a new dimension into any unfolding strategic scenario which, in itself, may often deter escalation into armed conflict. While in the event of escalation occurring, the absence of a long-range strike capability both limits Australia’s options for strategic manoeuvre and concedes to an adversary the ability to dictate the terms of engagement.

An independent strike capability expands the range of options to achieve Australia’s strategic ends; signals a serious intent and commitment about Australia’s national security; and has the capacity to influence strategic outcomes short of resorting to armed conflict.

Joint Strike

Conceiving, planning, programming and delivering a credible strike capability is not easy.  While some elements such as long-range strike weapons can be bought off the shelf, the integration of the various elements of a strike capability is complex and takes time before the conception develops into a mature and credible military capability. But a strike capability without the enabling capabilities such as electronic warfare support, surveillance support and air-to-air refueling is of little utility, hence enabling capabilities must also be part of the acquisition plan.

Plus, there are the doctrinal, C2, training and sustaining elements of the capability to consider. In short, the complexity and time required to build a nation’s strike capability is such that a government has little option other than to retain a strike capability within a nation’s force structure as, like many other elements of national power, the maturation timeframe for a strike capability is measured not in years but in decades.

There are also important lessons flowing from the last two decades of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. These operations have illustrated the need for an integrated and sophisticated targeting process, for without perceptive and sophisticated targeting, strike operations achieve few useful outcomes. Targeting is intelligence-led and fundamentally joint in nature and the experience gained from the past two decades of air operations will be invaluable in establishing Australia’s future long-range strike capability.

While the speed, reach, responsiveness and flexibility of an air strike capability are compelling arguments for Australia to retain an air strike capability within its order of battle, there are also other military capabilities that extend strike operations into the joint arena. The evolution of Australia’s strike capability will also need to consider the contribution from evolving technologies, such as electronic warfare, unmanned systems, and of the contribution from new technologies which not only seek to employ traditional kinetic effects but also non-kinetic effects. A sophisticated strike capability seems a continuing and essential arrow in Australia’s quiver of national power.   

Aim of the Seminar

TConceiving, planning, programming and delivering a credible strike capability is not easy.  While some elements, such as long-range strike weapons, can be bought off the shelf, the integration of the various elements of a strike capability is complex and takes time before the conception matures into a credible military capability. But a strike capability without the enabling capabilities, such as electronic warfare support, surveillance support and air-to-air refuelling, is of little utility, hence enabling capabilities must also be part of the acquisition plan.

Plus, there are the doctrinal, C2, training and sustaining elements of the capability to consider. In short, the complexity and time required to build a nation’s strike capability is such that a government has little option other than to retain a strike capability within a nation’s force structure as, like many other elements of national power, the maturation timeframe for a strike capability is measured not in years, but in decades.

There are also important lessons flowing from the last two decades of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. These operations illustrated the need for an integrated and sophisticated targeting process, for without perceptive and sophisticated targeting, strike operations achieve few useful outcomes. Targeting is intelligence-led and fundamentally joint in nature, and the experience gained from the past two decades of air operations will be invaluable in establishing Australia’s future long-range strike capability.

While the speed, reach, responsiveness and flexibility of an air strike capability provide compelling arguments for Australia to retain an air strike capability, there are also other military capabilities that extend strike operations into the joint arena. The evolution of Australia’s strike capability also needs to consider the contribution from evolving technologies, such as electronic warfare, unmanned systems, and of the contribution from new technologies which not only seek to employ traditional kinetic effects but also non-kinetic effects. A sophisticated and credible strike capability is a continuing and essential arrow in Australia’s quiver of national power.

Draft Program

Draft program and invited speakers list

Sponsors

The Sir Richard Williams Foundation would like to thank the sponsors of this seminar.

Principal Sponsor

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The Williams Foundation, PO Box 5266, KINGSTON ACT 2604

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