Navy League of Australia
Federal Council

STATEMENT 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 against missiles.
" 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.
The League:
" 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.

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