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Discussion paper

The 2009 Australian defence white paper: analysis and alternatives

Defence National security Australia

John Langmore, Calum Logan and Stewart Firth of the University of Melbourne and the Australian National University assess the 2009 Defence White Paper, starting from “its failure to adequately recognise changes in international paradigms of security and defence” and its over-reliance on “the assumption of recurrent great power conflict”.

Langmore and his colleagues argue that “there is a strong case for Australia’s defence planners to temper their realist assumptions with the greater sophistication and complexity inherent in contemporary approaches to security that should play an influential role in the way Australia approaches the world.” “The White Paper”, they argue, “makes a fundamental misjudgement in treating defence as a silo remote from other aspects of foreign policy.” They conclude that “the appointment of a new Defence Minister after the 2010 election will create an opportunity for evolution of military strategy as priorities, constraints and opportunities become clearer.”

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