Girt by sea: understanding Australia’s maritime domains in a networked world

30 Nov 2014

This study aims to provide the background, language and context necessary for an informed understanding of the challenges and dilemmas faced by those responsible for the efficacy of Australia’s maritime domain awareness system.


Against a rapidly changing region dominated by the rise of China, India and, closer to home, Indonesia, Australia’s approaches to understanding its maritime domains will be influenced by strategic factors and diplomatic judgements as well as operational imperatives.  Australia’s alliance relationship with the United States and its relationships with regional neighbours may be expected to have a profound impact on the strength of the information sharing and interoperability regimes on which so much of Australia’s maritime domain awareness depends.

The purpose of this paper is twofold.  First, it seeks to explain in plain English some of the principles, concepts and terms that maritime domain awareness practitioners grapple with on a daily basis.  Second, it points to a series of challenges that governments face in deciding how to spend scarce tax dollars to deliver a maritime domain awareness system that is necessary and sufficient for the protection and promotion of Australia’s national interests.

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