Australia Issues Defense Capability Plan (June 26)
The Defence Capability Plan 2001 - 2010, which I am releasing today, marks an historic first for Defence.
For the first time all the capabilities woven into "Defence 2000" - the Defence White Paper, are assembled in a publicly available ten year 'road-map'.
As the White Paper said, "The decisions in this White Paper provide Defence with a plan - the Defence Capability Plan - for the development of Australia's armed forces over the next decade. The plan has been developed by the Government as the most cost-effective way to meet Australia's strategic objectives." (p. vi)
In all there are 88 purchase proposals (containing 165 phases) in the Defence Capability Plan.
In the White Paper the Government determined that $23.5 billion in additional funds ($27.7 billion indexed for inflation) would be allocated to Defence over the next ten years.
That additional funding, coupled with the strategic and philosophical framework enunciated in the White Paper, has enabled Defence to produce this Defence Capability Plan.
The Capability Plan choices are the result of the extensive public consultation processes and follow the recommendations of Defence experts.
The Capability Plan contains proposals for purchase of capability - all mentioned either specifically, or by inference, in the White Paper.
The Defence Capability Plan 2001 -2010 decisions involve expenditure of some $47 billion (in December 2000 prices). This is because it includes a number of major projects (such as the F/A-18 and DDG replacements) that will entail large defence spending well beyond the next ten years.
The Opposition has promised if it wins Government it will purchase two new submarines (est. cost $1.5 billion), introduce a "US style" Coast Guard (est. cost $2 billion), relocate the Salt Ash bombing range near Newcastle (est. cost $1 billion), reintroduce the Catamaran Jervis Bay (est. cost $80 million) and introduce an ANZAC battalion (est. cost $500 thousand per year).
The Opposition claims it supports the White Paper (and therefore the Defence Capability Plan) and also is promising to deliver its "wish list".