STATEMENT of POLICY
Navy League of Australia
OF POLICY 2012 The strategic background to Australia's security
has changed in recent decades and in some respects become more uncertain.
The League believes it is essential that Australia develops the capability
to defend itself, paying particular attention to maritime defence. Australia
is, of geographical necessity, a maritime nation whose prosperity strength
and safety depend to a great extent on the security of the surrounding
ocean and island areas, and on seaborne trade. The Navy League: " Believes
Australia can be defended against attack by other than a super or major
maritime power and that the prime requirement of our defence is an evident
ability to control the sea and air space around us and to contribute
to defending essential lines of sea and air communication to our allies.
" Supports the ANZUS Treaty and future reintegration of New Zealand
as a full partner.
" Urges close relationships with regional powers and particularly with
the nearer ASEAN countries, PNG and South Pacific Island States.
" Advocates the acquisition of the most modern armaments, surveillance
systems and sensors to ensure that the Australian Defence Force (ADF)
maintains some technological advantages over forces in our general area.
" Advocates a significant deterrent element in the ADF capable of powerful
retaliation at considerable distances from Australia.
" Believes the ADF must be capable of protecting essential shipping
both coastally and at considerable distances from Australia.
" Endorses the control of Coastal Surveillance by the defence force
and the development of the capability for patrol and surveillance of
the ocean areas all around the Australian coast and island territories,
including the Southern Ocean.
" Advocates measures to foster a build-up of Australian-owned shipping
to support the ADF and to ensure the carriage of essential cargoes to
and from Australia in time of conflict.
As to the RAN, the League, while noting the important peacetime
naval tasks including border protection, flag-showing/diplomacy, disaster
relief, maritime rescue, hydrography and aid to the civil power:
" Supports the concept of a Navy capable of effective action in war
off both East and West coasts simultaneously and advocates a gradual
build up of the Fleet and its afloat support ships to ensure that, in
conjunction with the RAAF, this can be achieved against any force which
could be deployed in our general area. Believes that the level of both
the offensive and defensive capability of the RAN should be increased
and welcomes the Government's decisions to acquire 12 new Future Submarines;
to continue building the 3 Air Warfare Destroyers (AWDs) and the two
landing ships (LHDs); and to acquire 8 new Future Frigates, a large
Strategic Sealift Ship, 20 Offshore Combatant Vessels, 24 Naval Combatant
Helicopters, and 6 Heavy Landing Craft.
" Noting the deterrent value and the huge operational advantages of
nuclear-powered submarines in most threat situations, recommends that
the future force include nuclear-powered vessels.
" Noting the considerable increase in foreign maritime power now taking
place in our general area, advocates increasing the order for Air Warfare
Destroyers to at least 4 vessels.
" Welcomes the decisions to increase the strength and capabilities of
the Army and Air Force and to greatly improve the weaponry, and the
intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, cyberspace, and electronic
warfare capabilities of the ADF.
" Advocates that a proportion of the projected new F35 fighters for
the ADF be of the short-takeoff and vertical-landing (STOVE) version
to enable operation from small airfields and suitable ships in order
to support overseas deployments where access to secure major airfields
may not be available.
" Advocates that all warships be equipped with some form of defence
" Supports the development of Australia's defence industry, including
strong research and design organisations capable of constructing and
maintaining all needed types of warships and support vessels and advocates
a continuous naval ship-building programme.
" Advocates the retention in a Reserve Fleet of Naval vessels of potential
value in defence emergency.
" Supports a strong Naval Reserve to help crew vessels and aircraft
and for specialised tasks in time of defence emergency.
" Supports a strong Australian Navy Cadets organisation.
" Advocates improving conditions of service to overcome the repeating
problem of recruiting and retaining naval personnel.
" Calls for a bipartisan political approach to national defence with
a commitment to a steady long-term build-up in our national defence
capability including the required industrial infrastructure. While recognising
budgetary constraints, believes that, given leadership by successive
governments, Australia can defend itself in the longer term within acceptable
financial, economic and manpower parameters.