Thursday, November 21, 2013

Security challenges in the Indian Ocean littoral and the US pivot to Asia

Greetings from the Australasian Council of Security Professionals and combined Associations’ Seminar at the Australian National University in Canberra, where  Peter Leahy, former Chief of the Australian Army and Director of the National Security Institute, is speaking on "Security challenges in the Indian Ocean littoral and the US pivot to Asia".

Professor Leahy pointed out that the Indian Ocean was surrounded by many unstable states and 50% of the world's shipping cargo crosses the region, with a number of vulnerable choke-points. The Australian warships were sunk in the Indian Ocean in WW2. HMAS Stirling is the main naval base for the west.

Professor Leahy referred to "Gateway to the Indo-Pacific: Australian Defense Strategy and the Future of the Australia-U.S. Alliance" (Jim Thomas, Zack Cooper, and Iskander Rehman, November 2013, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments). He pointed out that despite the title, this publication, like much US strategic thinking is fixated on China. I did a quick check and found "India" occurs 10 times in the document, "China" 13 times. What worried me more was that "Cyber" occurs only twice and "Internet" and "World Wide Web" not at all. The RAAF's E-7A Wedgetail AEW&C aircraft are mentioned as providing early warning of approaching aircraft. An expansion of the JORN Over the Horizon Radar is suggested. While the P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft is mentioned once, but not the pod-mounted, active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar option.

No comments: