The Australian's Weekend Edition is a weekend omission.
In a Defence piece by Greg Sheridan called "Our forces reduced to impotence", the message is fear-mongering. The latest budget and the Labor government have destroyed Defence. And isn't it a shame that the Defence White Paper of 2009 isn't being followed? The fact that Defence leadership has made significant procurement errors over the years isn't mentioned.
The article spreads over 8 columns and goes on to another page. The online version is here.
Lots of words. No real substance.
First, the Defence White Paper of 2009. It was garbage when it came out. I painted it as such, and was, unfortunately correct. Sheridan defends one of its authors Mr. Babbage; who back in 2007, seemed to be all glowing about the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. It would be powerful because it had networking and gosh, that would make us superior that is for sure. Unfortunately for Babbage, flying the flag of the system-of-systems approach only works when your assumptions are sound. Otherwise it turns into the South-side product of a North-bound bovine. Babbage also ignored the fact that an enemy has a will of their own, funding (and the ability) to create combat networks and jam ours. The U.S., the most experienced user of net-centric-warfare, knows the limitations. This, Babbage didn't see fit to mention to Parliament or anyone else. This assumes he even had knowledge of such things.
Combat networking isn't owned by the "fifth-generation-fighter" dreamers.
Not mentioned by Sheridan (and Babbage) are the staggering F-35 development problems. Sheridan presses on trying to make the reader believe the F-35 is better than the Super Hornet, and that the Super is good for 10 years against the threat and the solution is that we need to get those Joint Strike Failures.
This is a Sheridan (or whoever told him this) fiction.
The Super Hornet dominates the F-35 in every operational need for a joint coalition commander. The F-35 can only sprinkle fairy dust in hoping that it will be more survivable or even useful. And, the F-35 is in no way, just a smaller F-22. If Sheridan's view is that the Super Hornet will not be able to take on emerging threats in 10 years, the F-35 will fare worse. The F-35 is too defective (by the very nature of its design) to handle emerging threats and is too expensive to own and operate for lesser threats handled just fine by today's technology.
Sheridan goes on to mention the 12 rent-seeking replacements for the Collins class submarines. Not mentioned is that Australia is unable to crew 6 boats let alone 12. One would think that from the beginning, one would want to see proof of life on the ability to crew 6 submarines before building 12.
While Labor might not be the brightest tool in the bag on Defence issues, at least their extreme red-ways of this current government have started to chop the Entrenched Defence Bureaucracy into a manner of where they will have to spend within their means. I say that, but the Entrenched Defence Bureaucracy just spent over 3-times the money for a light transport aircraft versus a competing product ($1B over); and was even silly enough to think it was a valid Caribou replacement when it was not. They also just threw away $214M on a submarine study for the rent-seekers when that same money would have made a nice down-payment on an off-the shelf sub. The Entrenched Defence Bureaucracy also wants to waste hundreds of millions on obsolete jamming gear for 12 Super Hornets. The Entrenched Defence Bureaucracy has a gross excess of star-ranked officers and senior-service executives. And yes, why do we need 7000 DMO employees for military procurement?
I don't believe the cry-me-a-river routine by those refusing to look in the mirror and neither should you.
The sad thing is that many will read The Australian article and believe it.
Some of the "defence" writers in this part of the world need help. Their imaginative writing (or is it fear of being cut off from Entrenched Defence Bureaucracy sources?) is only white-wash which fails to illuminate the weaknesses of today's senior Defence planners (and White Paper hacks) along with their choice of faulty and expensive weapons systems that don't contribute to national security.
More investigative journalism has to be done on why the Entrenched Defence Bureaucracy wastes so much money for so little value. Being an advocate for change by reporting accurately is valuable. Being an advocate for the faulty Entrenched Defence Bureacracy is a disservice to this nation.