'Top Down' Planning and Joint Doctrine: The Australian Experience
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC INST FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES
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In terms of defense planning, Australia is a paradox. Though located in a remote region of the world, Australians do not in general draw a sense of security from their geographic isolation. There are no land boundaries, and regional threats since World War II have been distant or sporadic. Nonetheless Australias anxiety over its exposed position proves that a country does not need an identifiable threat to consider itself insecure. For example, while sufficiently removed from the frontline in the Cold War, Canberra was a staunch blue force during the period of superpower confrontation indeed, with shared experiences of many wars and a resilient alliance, it has retained a close security association with the United States. Australia is the worlds most urbanized society with the overwhelming preponderance of its populace in the southeast. Yet it is the climatically inhospitable, underdeveloped, and resource-rich north and northwest that have been receiving attention from the Australian Defence Force ADF. Geostrategic realities and recent experience have combined to produce an advanced defense planning system. Many post-Cold War difficulties facing Western militaries--such as developing capabilities-based planning systems and achieving greater jointness--have tested defense leaders in Canberra since the early 1970s. What initiated the change in thinking was the official recognition in 1972 that Australia had no threat against which to plan. To its credit, the defense establishment developed a top-down, threat-ambivalent planning system and force development methodology. One outcome of this approach has been to foster jointness by linking joint doctrinal development to strategic guidance. Indeed, it is not uncommon to hear that commanders not only know ADF joint doctrine but actually use it.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics