Paul Dibb and Richard Brabin-Smith
With the 2013 general election now out of the way, the new government is well placed, if it has sufficient strength of purpose, to address the various issues that are at risk of engulfing the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and Defence Department. The immediate and dominant issue is that likely levels of defence funding are not enough to sustain today's ADF and simultaneously to fund its modernisation. To resolve this core inconsistency will require dispassionate analysis of Australia's evolving strategic circumstances, so that decisions on the size and preparedness of the ADF and on the rate and direction of its modernisation can have a secure foundation. This will both allow assessments of strategic risk and provide a rigorous basis for arguing for different levels of funding.