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Australian Journal of Defence and Strategic Studies

Australian Journal of Defence and Strategic Studies

Volume 4 Number 1



In memoriam: Professor Brendan Sargeant
Greg Moriarty

Challenges to the Australian strategic imagination
Brendan Sargeant


Dogmatic application of effects-based thinking
Christopher Smith

Many strategists but little strategy: addressing a deficiency in Australia
Michael Scott

The challenge of automated and autonomous technologies to Australian Defence Force compliance with workplace health and safety laws
Simon McKenzie


Putin’s war in Ukraine: missteps, prospects and implications
Matthew Sussex

Military strategy fundamentals
Peter Layton

The impact of COVID-19 on the recruitment of Army Health officers
Liz Daly

Ransomware 2.0: an emerging threat to national security
Mohiuddin Ahmed, Sascha Dov Bachmann, Abu Barkat Ullah and Shaun Barnett


Of Young Turks and Mustache Petes: deconstructing the operational level of war
On Operations: Operational Art and Military Disciplines by BA Friedman
Michael Evans

Worlds apart on China
Red Zone by Peter Hartcher and China Panic by David Brophy
David Walker


Alliances, nuclear weapons and escalation: managing deterrence in the 21st century
Stephan Frühling and Andrew O’Neil (eds) | reviewed by Michael Clarke

Pride in Defence: the Australian military and LGBTI service since 1945

Noah Riseman and Shirleene Robinson | reviewed by Dana Pham

The twilight struggle: what the Cold War teaches us about great power rivalry today
Hal Brands | reviewed by David Hood

The power of geography: ten maps that reveal the future of our world
Tim Marshall | reviewed by Sam Brady

The habit of excellence: why British Army leadership works
Lieutenant Colonel Langley Sharp MBE | reviewed by Renée Kidson

Fighting for time: Rhodesia’s military and Zimbabwe’s independence
Charles D Melson | reviewed by Michael Evans

Call for Submissions

Australian Journal of Defence and Strategic Studies Vol. 4, No. 1
[PDF 3.6MB]

Published online: 8 July 2022

Last Updated: 22 July 2022


Determined to highlight debates, emerging issues and topics of interest to our Australian Defence Force members and the broader public, the Australian Journal of Defence and Strategic Studies brings together practitioners, policymakers and scholars to examine questions and share insights on Australian and Indo-Pacific defence and national security.

The dominating global discussion of pandemics, great power competition and Indo-Pacific regional stability remains a central focus for most. Despite this, concerns still simmer regarding military strategy, defence planning and the challenges of new technologies. In this bumper edition of the AJDSS, we have attempted to provide insight on the breadth of all these concerns with our authors contributing pieces that range from the war in Ukraine and the impact of COVID-19 to the operational art and the ever vexing and discussed question of what we mean by strategy.

We begin this issue by paying tribute to Brendan Sergeant and republishing his 2021 discussion paper, ‘Challenges to the Australian strategic imagination’, with an introduction from Greg Moriarty, Secretary of the Department of Defence. This important essay speaks to Brendan’s thoughtful, forward-thinking and creative engagement with Australia’s strategic outlook and defence policy. Brendan was an inaugural member of the Australian Journal of Defence and Strategic Studies editorial review board and a deeply valued supporter of the journal. We are grateful for the support of Brendan’s wife, Vaidehi, and his family, to Professor Toni Erskine, Director of the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs at the Australian National University, and Dr Andrew Carr, editor of the Centre of Gravity series, for their permission to republishing this essay.

Next, Major General Chris Smith’s article, ‘Dogmatic application of effects-based thinking’, argues that the Australian Defence Force’s use of effects-based concepts that underscore the Australian Defence Force’s planning methodology present a very real danger of leading the Australian Defence Force (ADF) down the path of failure. Our second article from Colonel Mick Scott also interrogates ADF concepts and language, focusing on the distinction between Australian defence strategy and military strategy. He highlights how a combination of inconsistent language, the lack of Australian military strategy tradition and structural changes within Defence over the past 25 years have led to a focus on ‘defence strategy’ for long-term generation of military capability at the expense of executable ‘military strategy’. In our third article, Dr Simon McKenzie considers some of the regulatory issues automated and autonomous digital technologies pose for ADF work health and safety arrangements. He identifies three key areas of concern: psychosocial risks, physical risks and the difficulty of testing for potential hazards; and asks how the ADF will ensure its personnel are properly trained, equipped and empowered to respond to emerging work health and safety risks associated with these technologies.

In our commentary section, we have four very different essays. Senior fellow at the Centre for Defence Research, Matthew Sussex surveys Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine so far, his miscalculations and flawed assumptions, the prospects for a resolution and the implications the war may have on Putin’s regime, European security and on great power contestation globally. Supporting the discussion of military strategy in Colonel Scott’s article, Peter Layton outlines the fundamental characteristics of military strategy. In our third commentary piece, Captain Liz Daly raises the issue of how Army Health has been affected by the worldwide demand for and scarcity of healthcare workers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact it has had on recruitment and suggests some potential solutions. Our fourth commentary reviews the emerging threat posed by ransomware and importance of a whole-of-government approach to raising awareness and building cyber resilience across both the public and private sectors.

In this issue, we also have two review essays. The first, from Mike Evans, is a considered examination of BA Freidman’s recent book, On Operations: Operational Art and Military Disciplines, and is a must read for anyone interested in the distinctions between tactical, operational and strategic levels. Professor Evans argues that while Friedman seems to grasp the dialectics of strategy and tactics, ‘he appears to misconstrue the cognitive demands that the dichotomies of level and art demand of operations in war. The principal challenge in achieving improved operational performance is the ability of military practitioners to make the demanding intellectual transition from tactics to operational art.’

Our second review essay by historian David Waker, compares two recent releases with very different views on Australia’s ‘China problem’: Red Zone by Peter Hartcher and China Panic by David Brophy. Hatcher, he says, sees China as a real and immediate threat, arguing that it wants to ‘buy or bully or break’ Australian sovereignty. This contrasts with Brophy, who questions whether China truly represents an ‘existential threat’ and sees the emergence of China panic in Australia as a social and political phenomenon requiring explanation. What they both agree on, however, is the importance of strengthening Australia’s democracy.

We conclude with a diverse selection of reviews, ranging from a book that marks the returned prominence of nuclear strategy, alliances and extended deterrence in contemporary international security policy debate to one that provides an important examination of the history of LGBTI personnel in Defence.

And as we head into a southern winter, we hope you enjoy, read and relax.

Cathy Moloney

Published online: 15 July 2022