Biggest defense review in decades to identify ‘capability gaps’

Prime Minister Anthony Albanian has announced a comprehensive strategic review of the Australian Defense Force concerned about a “capability gap” in the country’s armed forces.

He said the review was aimed at ensuring the ADF was well positioned to meet Australia’s security challenges over the next decade and beyond.

“This review will prepare Australia to effectively respond to the regional changing and global strategic environment and ensure that defence’s capability and force structure is fit for purpose, affordable, and delivers the greatest return on investment,” Albanese said.

Prime Minister Anthony Albania has announced a major defense review. (Nine)

Albanese said the review will be chief headed by retired defense Sir Angus Houston and former Labor defense minister Stephen Smith.

“Professor Smith and Sir Angus bring a unique blend of knowledge and experience to their role as independent leads,” he said.

“Their depth of expertise will be invaluable in the informing this review.”

Albanese said the review was being held amid growing tensions in the Asia Pacific region, with China showing greater assertiveness.

“We live in an era where there’s strategic competition and increased tension in our region,” he said.

“And where China has taken a more aggressive posture in the region.”

The defense review will examine the ADF’s capability and force structure. (AAP)

Albanese also defended the selection of Smith after some commentators criticizing his record as defense minister in the former Gillard government when he oversaw cuts.

Defense Minister Richard Marles said the review would be the most exhaustive for decades.

“This will look at questions of force structure, look at questions of capability, it will ask and answer foundational questions about given our strategic circumstances: what is it that we want our defence force to do on behalf of our nation in this moment?” he said.

He said it would run concurrently with Australia’s involvement in the AUKUS defense pact with the US and Britain, under which Australia will acquire nuclear-powered submarines.

“Given the significance of that platform, it’s really important that both bodies of work happen concurrently and are able to cross pollinate each other,” Marles said.

The defense review will be held in conjunction with Australia’s involvement in the AUKUS defense pact, under which Australia will acquire nuclear-powered submarines. (US Navy)

Albanese said the review would also identity gaps in military resources planned for the ADF and what has been delivered.

“There is a gap there between capability and what has actually been promised in the past,” the prime minister said.

“There are significant delays in delivery of what has been promised.”

Similarly, Marles also said the review would examine major defense projects over the coming decade.

“We’re going to look at the integrated investment plan over the course of the next 10 years to make sure what we have as a schedule of procurements does meet the challenges that our strategic circumstances present.”

Marles said the federal government has asked the reviewers to report their findings by the first half of 2023.

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