Executive Summary Comparing and Contrasting Main Judgments in 2000 and


ExecutiveSummary: Comparing and Contrasting Main Judgments in 2000 and 2007Defense


Slide2: Introduction

Thedefense capacity of any nation is reviewed periodically, with theobjective of determining whether the security forces are prepared toaddress emerging security challenges. A successful review is followedby the development of strategic plans that seek to fill the gaps thathave been identified. In the case of Australia, the key defenseupdates were made in 2000 and 2007. 1During the two periods, the stakeholders in the national defensesector were motivated by security issues that prevailed at the localas well as the international levels. The Australian Defense Force(ADF) is mandated to protect the country and provide securityassistance to other nations when the need arises. Therefore, a reviewof the ADF’s capacity takes account of its ability to engage indomestic and foreign operations. The lack of similarity between thedefense updates made in 2000 and 2007 can be attributed todifferences the level of perceived risk of attack and security issuesemerging at the international level.

Slide3: Increase in the threat of terror attack

Theability to prevent and manage incidents of terror attack is one ofthe key measures of the strength of the defense forces. Australiaexperienced different levels of the threat of attack in 2000 and2007. In 2000, Australia perceived that the threat of attack from theexternal sources was considered to be extremely low. Consequently,the defense updates documented in the White Paper published in 2000was geared towards the maintenance of the peace and stability. 2Although the government proposed an increase in the amount ofresources allocated to ADF by $ 13.7 billion, followed by a 3 % riseannually, the intention was to build the capacity maintain thestability that existed during that period. 3In 2007, the perceived risk of attack from the external or internalsources was extremely high. Consequently, the 2007 defense updatesfocused on increasing the capacity of the Australian forces toprevent and address incidents of terror attack within and outside thecountry.

Slide4: A change in the nature of security threats

Apartfrom an increase in the risk of terror attack, the change in thenature of security threats made a significant contribution towardsthe differences observed in the defense updates of 2000 and 2007.Australia, similar to other countries had experienced in-stateconflicts that were common during the Cold War. 4The lessons that Australia learned from the experience of the ColdWar informed the process of developing the security updates in theyear 2000. The terror attack that occurred in the U.S. in September2001 changed Australia’s perception of the nature of securitythreats. Therefore, the security updates made in 2007 had to includethe preparation of the ADF to counter security incidents resultingfrom non-state groups, such as al-Qaeda. 5In addition, the updates had to prepare the ADF for unconventionalwarfare, unlike the 2000 strategic plans that were aimed to enhancethe national capacity to address inter-state conflicts.

Slide5: Leading role

Thedefense updates prepared in 2000 and 2007 took account of the role ofADF in protection of the sovereignty of Australia and maintenance ofsecurity at the international level. However, there was a significantdifference in the perceived role that ADF was intended to play duringthe two periods. During the two periods, 2000 and 2007, a strategicalliance between ADF and defenses of other countries (including theU.S.) in the maintenance regional security was critical. 6However, Australian stakeholders perceived that the role of the U.S.in addressing security issues affecting the Asia-Pacific region wasdeclining with time. The withdrawal of the U.S. created anopportunity for the ADF to play the leading role in resolving theregional security issues. This perception informed the process ofdeveloping the defense updates in 2007, which is confirmed by thecountry’s focus in nations with large terror groups.

Slide6: increase in the number of fragile states

Thestatus of security in the nearby countries was also a major factorthat was taken into account when writing the defense updates. Duringthe year 2000, most of the countries in the Middle East and Asia werepeaceful. 7Consequently, the stakeholders in the defense sector focused on theneed to increase the capacity of the ADF to foster a peacefulcoexistence in the region in 2000. However, the number of fragilestates had increased tremendously in 2007, which created the need toempower ADF to engage in security issues in the troubled nations.Some of the fragile nations that were of a major concern to ADFinclude Iraq, Lebanon, and Afghanistan. 8The increase in the level of fragility in some Middle East and Asiancountries was attributed to the development of terrorist groups andneed to end autocratic regimes. The 2007 defense updates focused onincreasing the capacity of the ADF to provide military support tofragile nations in order to create an environment for theestablishment of democratic and stable states.

Slide7: Weapons of mass destruction

Theproliferation of WMD is a historical issue that has troubled securityagencies for many years. However, the spread of WMD was notconsidered as a significant threat to the national security in 2000.The proliferation of these weapons was within the manageable levels.The development of nuclear weapons, which had intensified during theCold War, was the only security issue that required the attention ofthe ADF. However, the development of the nuclear weapons attractsconflicts between the World Super powers only. In 2007, the WMD werespreading at an alarming rate. The ADF had to focus its attention onWMD more than the nuclear weapons. 9The rise in the rate at which WMD were spreading in the region wasattributed to the increase in the fragility of many countries, whichreduced their capacity to prevent the possession of weapons bycivilians and terrorist groups.

Slide8: Conclusion

Theseverity of the underlying security threats informed the decisionmakers who were involved in the publication of the defense updates in2000 and 2007. In both periods, the government intended to increasethe capacity of ADF, but for different reasons. In 2000, there was aneed to develop defense strategies that could facilitate themaintenance of peace that was achieved after the Cold War. Decisionsmade in 2007 focused on the need to contain security threatsassociated with the development of terrorist groups and the spread ofWMD. In both periods, capacity building focused on an increase in thenumber of personnel and amount of resources allocated to ADF.


1.Australian Strategic Policy Institute. Gettingthere: A status update for the 2000 Defense White Paper.Barton: Australian Strategic Policy Institute, 2013, p. 4.

2.O’Keefe, M. “Enduring tension in the 2000 defense white paper”.AustralianJournal of Politics and History49, no. 4 (2003): 523.

3.Woodman, S. “Not quite the full Monty? Analyzing Australia’s 2000defense white paper. AustralianJournal of International Affairs55 no. 1 (2001): p.29.

4.Evans, M. Thetyranny of dissonance: Australia’s strategic culture and way of war1901-2005.Duntroon: Land Warfare Studies Center, 2005, p. 45.

5.Lyon, R. Assessingthe Defense update 2007.Barton: Australian Strategic Policy Institute, 2007, p. 45.

6.Department of Defense. Australia’sNational Security: A Defense Update 2007.Canberra: Department of Defense, 2007, p. 31.

7.The National Security Committee of Cabinet. Defense2000: Our future defense force.Canberra: NSCC, 2000, p. 10.

8.Department of Defense. Australia’sNational Security: A Defense Update 2007.Canberra: Department of Defense, 2007, p. 42.

9.Fruhling, S. Ahistory of Australian strategic policy since 1945.Canberra: Common Wealth of Australia, 2009, p. 49.