Australia’s 2016 defence white paper – forward funded defence

1 March 2016

If one word can sum up the 2016 Australian Defence White Paper (DWP 2016), it is “forward.” The document is more “forward” than its predecessors in terms of projected funding commitments and the dizzying time-scales and costs involved in delivering complex platforms like submarines and frigates. More controversially, since ‘forward defence’ has Vietnam-era connotations in Australia, it also signals a more geographically forward defence posture and pattern of engagement in the region.

An upfront commitment by the Coalition government to inject an extra $30 billion into Australia’s defence budget by 2025 goes a long way toward pre-empting the most vital criticism of previous white papers – they lacked credibility because ends were divorced from means.

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Euan Graham, 2016, Australia’s 2016 defence white paper – forward funded defence, Lowy Institute for International Policy, viewed 29 April 2017, <>.

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