Government set to unveil $270b military defence plan to protect nation
By 9News Staff
7:56pm Jun 30, 2020
The nation’s military defence assets will soon be bolstered by long-range anti-ship missiles made in the United States as part of a $270 billion plan aimed at “protecting and building Australia’s future”.
9News understands a strategic review of the threats in Australia’s geographic region and the federal government’s Defence 2020 Force Structure Plan are set to be handed down tomorrow.
The plan is expected to detail how Australia’s defence force will use the huge amount of money over the coming decade to increase the country’s military protection amid growing competition in the Indo-Pacific between the likes of the US and China.
Part of the spend will also focus on cyberspace and how Australia can protect itself from online threats.
The Coalition will look to put $1.3b towards disrupting offshore cybercrime, improving intelligence sharing between government and industry, building better technology and increasing the cyber warrior workforce by 500 members.
Defence Minister Linda Reynolds also said those threats extend far beyond theft and espionage to include aspects of cyber warfare that could disable Australia’s electricity grids and air traffic control systems.
“This is part of a much larger investment in defence, cyber and information warfare – a $15b package.”
Australia will build a larger and more aggressive military focused on its immediate backyard, including new long-range missiles, signalling a major shift in the nation’s defence strategy.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison will unveil a greater focus on the Indo-Pacific region, warning Australia needs to prepare for a post-COVID world that is “poorer, more dangerous and more disorderly”.
Mr Morrison will also announce a commitment to spend $270 billion over the next decade on defence capabilities, including more potent strike weapons, cyber capabilities and a high-tech underwater surveillance system.
The Australian Defence Force is expected to grow by 800 people over the next decade, comprising of 650 personnel for Navy, 100 for the Air Force, and 50 for Army.
In a speech at the Australian Defence Force Academy he will argue the Indo-Pacific is the “epicentre” of rising strategic competition and that “the risk of miscalculation — and even conflict — is heightening.”
“The Indo-Pacific is where we live — and we want an open, sovereign Indo-Pacific, free from coercion and hegemony,” a copy of the speech said.
“We remain prepared to make military contributions outside of our immediate region where it is in our national interest to do so, including in support of US-led coalitions.
“But we cannot allow consideration of such contingencies to drive our force structure to the detriment of ensuring we have credible capability to respond to any challenge in our immediate region.”
In releasing the 2020 Defence Strategy Update and the accompanying Force Structure Plan, the Government is expected to confirm Australia will purchase the AGM-158C Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) from the United States Navy, at a cost of $800 million.