Marles’ Defence Strategic Review—an exploding suitcase of challenges to resolve by March 2023

Government procurement Australian Defence Force Defence expenditure Military equipment Military alliances Australia

Stephen Smith and Angus Houston have an enormous amount to do and almost no time to do it. Prime Minister Albanese and Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles have chosen them to be the independent heads of the Defence Strategic Review.

The review is to report before March 2023 so that the Albanese Government can make decisions on it at the same time as they are deciding about the path that gives Australia eight nuclear submarines within an AUKUS partnership that makes these safe and effective.

Before they even get to thinking about their task – ‘to ensure Defence has the right capabilities to meet our growing strategic needs’ —Smith and Houston will need to confront the ugly fact that Defence’s current plans are already unaffordable despite the large and growing defence budget the Albanese Government has committed to.

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ASPI Strategic Insights 173