THE WHITE PAPER
On 2 May 2009, the Prime Minister, the Hon Kevin Rudd MP, launched in Sydney the Defence White Paper: Defending Australia in the Asia Pacific Century: Force 2030. This is the first White Paper in over eight years, with previous papers delivered in 1976, 1987, 1994 and 2000.
The White Paper affirms the Government’s commitment to the defence of Australia, the security and stability of the regional security environment, and a rules-based global security order. It confirms the centrality of the alliance relationship with the United States and reaffirms Australia’s commitment to the United Nations system.
The White Paper notes the increasing uncertainty of the strategic environment and better positions Defence to respond to conflicts, contingencies and humanitarian and disaster relief activities in that future environment. It states that Australia’s military strategy will be predominantly a maritime one where we will seek to control the air and sea approaches to Australia, if necessary by defeating hostile forces in their bases or staging areas, or attacking them in transit.
The key long-term force structure choices made by the Government are to double the number of submarines by building 12 new boats in South Australia, build a new class of frigate that will be optimised to detect and destroy submarines, provide more than 1,100 new combat vehicles to the Army as well as increasing its general firepower, mobility and survivability, and equip the Air Force with around 100 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.