Australia’s Strategic Culture and Defence / National Security Policymaking ALEX BURNS ([email protected]) SPS GRADUATE SYMPOSIUM, 29TH OCTOBER 2013 PHD CANDIDATE, SCHOOL OF POLITICS & SOCIAL INQUIRY MONASH UNIVERSITY Strategic Culture: Jack Snyder Formulated in 1977 by Jack Snyder for a RAND monograph on Ford and Carter administration détente and the Soviet Union “Individuals are socialized into a distinctly Soviet mode of thinking . . . a set of general beliefs, attitudes and behavioral patterns . . . that places them on the level of “culture” rather than mere “policy” . . .” [emphasis added] (Snyder 1977: v) “Culture is perpetuated not only by individuals but also by organizations.” (Snyder 1977: 9). “Strategic subculture: . . . a subsection of the broader strategic community . . . Reasonably distinct beliefs and attitudes.” (Snyder 1977: 10). Australia’s Strategic Culture Settler nation founded from British colonies: anxiety versus engagement Hawke and Keating governments: “comprehensive engagement” and “regional security” via APEC, ASEAN, United National Development Programme, and human security Howard and Abbott governments: Australia-United States Alliance; asylum seekers as wedge politics (Republican Party strategist Karl Rove) Alliance structure with Great Britain (World War I and II; atomic weapons testing) Alliance structure with United States (Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War, Afghanistan counterinsurgency, Iraq War, and signals intelligence bases) Realist tradition of Australian foreign and security policy (Michael Wesley) Recent Scholarship on Australia’s Strategic Culture Alan Bloomfield, 2011 PhD Dissertation: “Australia's Strategic Culture. An investigation of the Concept of Strategic Culture and its Application to the Australian Case” (Queens University, Canada) Jeffrey Lantis & Andrew S. Charlton, 2011 Alan Bloomfield & Kim Richard Nossal, 2008 Michael Evans, 2005 (‘defender-regionalists’ versus ‘reformer-globalists’) Key Aspects: Geography, geographic region, and comparative country analysis Historical and cultural identity Alliance structure with Great Britain and the United States Continuity versus Change National Security Silos “My message to the national security community is: if you see a silo, dig it up.” - Prime Minister Julia Gillard, launch of Strong and Secure: A Strategy for Australia’s National Security (23rd January 2013) What silos potentially exist in Australian defence and national security policymaking? What do current priorities reveal about how relevant Australian policy is developed and framed? Could a national strategic culture or specific strategic cultures be what then-Prime Minister Gillard was hinting at? Possible Explanations for Silos Initial explanation: Inter-agency coordination in Australian Government Other possibilities: Threat escalation and institutional capture dynamics Budgetary and legislative barriers Public contestability and understanding of defence and national security planning documents Training of next generation analysts and strategic thinkers Australia’s ‘Keepers’ of Strategic Culture Patrick Porter (Military Orientalism, 2009): “Who are the ‘keepers’ of strategic culture? Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (executive power) Department of Defence (defence and politico-military affairs) Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (diplomatic and consular activities) Think-tanks: Lowy Institute and Australian Strategic Policy Institute New strategists: National Security College and Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Australian National University Norm entrepreneurs: Paul Dibb; Alan Dupont; Andrew O’Neil; and Hugh White Australia’s White Paper Cycle Defines ‘over the horizon’ threats and joint military force structure Gillard Government: Defence White Paper 2013 (3rd May 2013) 1986 Dibb Review and 1987 White Paper: ‘Defence of Australia’ paradigm of selfreliance Reflects the longer-term nature of defence procurement processes Path dependency in drafting: incremental and evolutionary ideas that build on previous publications Actual threat scenarios are treated as classified information Australia-United States Alliance usually foregrounded in each White Paper Risk of security contractor lock-in for new defence systems and programs National Security Strategy United States Model: Goldwater-Nichols Act (1986) requests regular National Security Strategy documents from each Administration Exemplars: Terry Deibel (US War College); Colin S. Gray (Reading University, UK), Jeffrey Lantis (Wooster College, US) Howard Government: institutional reforms; Counter-Terrorism White Paper (2004) reflected Bush Administration conceptualisation First Rudd Government: National Security Statement (2008); promised National Security Strategy and National Security Budget Gillard Government: Australia in the Asian Century (2012) and National Security Strategy (2013) National Security Silos, Revisited Westminster System: balance of executive, legislative and judicial powers Silos can be analytic, cognitive, cultural, or influenced by long-term culturally transmitted factors (strategic culture and strategic subcultures) Defence white papers were in the past treated as de facto national security statements Limited public contestability: some academic and public consultation Possible institutional capture by specific governmental departments Problems in developing national security budgets in a whole-of-government approach Still an on-going debate about a unified national security system Questions?