In this issue of the Australian Journal of Defence and Strategic Studies:
Agility, adaptability, and resilience are words often spoken in defence circles to describe the qualities required for strong national security. Having these virtues allows a nation to rapidly respond to, or even shape, change. Australia has always stood ready to respond to the needs of our friends and neighbours, and has shown its resolve and resilience when called upon. Arguably, however, Australia faces challenges now and in coming decades that will deeply test our character and global citizenship. Already, 2021 has tested us as we continue to navigate the social, political and economic consequences of the global COVID-19 pandemic; adapt to the changing power dynamics in our region; and reflect on twenty years supporting US and coalition efforts to establish stability and peace in Afghanistan.
It is against this backdrop that we release the fourth edition of the Australian Journal of Defence and Strategic Studies (AJDSS). Our suite of articles and commentaries bring to the fore several notable issues that Australia must consider. We begin with Eve Massingham examining the laws, both domestic and international, that need to be taken into consideration as Australia increases its research and investment in autonomous systems and devices. In particularly, she considers the potential legal issues that could arise from using uncrewed aerial vehicles and systems in close proximity to civilian populations such as privacy, noise and safety concerns. Next, Alexey Muraviev brings our attention to the dynamics of Russia and China’s military cooperation and interoperability as well as their historic competition and wariness of each other. He argues it is a relationship that should be examined by Australian strategists because of its potential to influence calculations in the Indo-Pacific geostrategic landscape over coming decades. Climate change is by no means a new topic of discussion, and many have argued that it will led to conflict around the world. However, even as greater attention is drawn to its implications for Australian and regional national security, Mike Evans asks whether it fits within our Clausewitzean understanding of traditional threats that could lead to conflict.
As always, our commentaries spark conversation and thought-provoking responses and this issue does not disappoint. In our commentary section, Matthew Sussex considers what an Australian integrated review of security, defence and development might look like. Next, Jennifer Hunt asks whether Australia is ready for cyber attacks and cyber-enabled disinformation tactics that target our democratic functions and capacity to collectively respond to threats. Finally, David Cave weaves a rich tapestry for discussion as he examines the language of the 2020 Defence Strategic Update and how the concept of deterrence in the Australian context.
The AJDSS has always aimed to stimulate and encourage debate and discussion so we are delighted to have Peter Layton take pen to paper and respond to Jason Thomson’s commentary (in AJDSS vol 2. no 2.) and further discussion on what is grand strategy?
Of course, we could not go into the southern hemisphere winter without adding to your reading list. In this issue we have reviews of:Niche Wars: Australia in Afghanistan and Iraq, 2001-2014 edited by John Blaxland, Marcus Fielding and Thea Gellerfry and reviewed by Chief of Army Fellow, Andrew Maher; On Obedience by Pauline Shanks Kaurin, reviewed by Deane-Peter Baker; Quagmire in Civil War by Jonah Schulhofer-Wohl and reviewed by Sascha Dv Bachmann; China’s Grand Strategy and Australia’s Future in the New Global Order by Geoff Raby; The Storm Before the Calm: America’s Discord, the Coming Crisis of the 2020s and Triumph Beyond by George Friedman; and The Craft of Wargaming: A Detailed Planning Guide for Defence Planners and Analysts by retired US Colonels Jeff Appleget and Robert Burks along with Fred Cameron.
So, with that, I leave you and hope you will read, write and enjoy!
Published online: 1 July 2021