Security Challenge
Volume 12, No.1 (2016)

Australian Grand Strategy and the 2016 Defence White Paper

Australia has traditionally done without a grand strategy, relying on Defence White Papers to set out a military strategy that is largely subordinate to the grand strategy of its great power ally. However, three changes mandate that Australia should begin to develop its own grand strategy: the demise of uncontested regional unipolarity; the bifurcation between Australia’s security and economic interests; and Australia’s growing geopolitical importance. This article takes the 2016 Defence White Paper as a platform on which to ponder the challenges of Australia’s grand strategising around five key issues: context, capability, constraints, coherence and competitiveness. It concludes by considering the political obstacles that lie in the way of forging an Australian grand strategy.

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