The China Threat: Australia Starts Mobilizing

According to one defense industry expert, younger Australians must be persuaded to participate in a revised national service program in which citizens 18 and older can enroll in military or public duty.

China Must be Getting Worried

The proposal from Lincoln Parker, chairman of the Liberal Party’s Military and Homeland Security Policy Division, includes revamping the country’s defense force to make it adequately equipped for any Indo-Pacific confrontation.

Parker, who has 20 years of expertise in defense science and technology, said Australia’s last enlistment program, in the 1950s, was met with “huge public acceptance.”

“It also gives our youth a feeling of connection and an awareness of giving back to the community,” he said, citing research from [countries like] Norway.

“Kids are clamoring for national and community service; there are waitlists, not just because they want to assist their own area, but also because companies appreciate the end result.”

Other ideas for bolstering Australia’s military included diverting funds away from disaster relief, a problem that has come to light as a result of massive flooding on the country’s east coast.

One suggestion has been to create a new disaster relief force inside the Australian Defence Force. Meanwhile, in the face of rising regional tensions, the Morrison government emphasized military growth as a significant policy priority.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison proposed the biggest increase of the Australian Defense Force in 40 years on March 9, seeking to increase the present strength from 59,095 to 80,000 by 2040, with support workers totaling 101,000.

Australia Goes Nuclear

A massive $10 billion ($7.3 billion in USD) for the east coast facility’s upcoming nuclear-powered submarine fleet within AUKUS, along with purchases of Tomahawk missiles, armored vehicles, assault planes, and extending existing military bases, are among the other promises.

Complaints have been made, notably Labor’s criticisms, over project implementation (scheduled delivery times of 10–15 years), as well as “capability gaps.”

These are the delays between the implementation of novel hardware and the retirement of old hardware.

“The (Kevin) Rudd administration addressed the need to reform the ADF force structure to boost our nation’s military fleet in the 2009 Defence White Paper,” leader of the opposition, Anthony Albanese, said before the Lowy Institution on March 10.

“Yet, close to a decade after the Liberal Party was established, no real improvement has been made.”

“We now have no contracts for any sub, and a growing submarine-shaped capabilities gap,” he said, citing an assembly line of six defense ministries in this administration and two attempts at settling on a [submarine] model.

Parker shared similar concerns, stating the government must do everything possible to keep Australia safe. “We need submarines,” says the narrator.

“Are there any options for us to lease or purchase off-the-shelf?” he inquired. “A number of Los Angeles-class subs (in the US Navy) are scheduled for retirement or refit,” he stated.