Goldrick seminar’s timely trade topic

This year’s Australian Naval Institute (ANI) Goldrick Seminar will be highly topical given Defence Minister Linda Reynolds’ comments about Australia seeking to access America’s emergency fuel supply given that Australia holds just 28 days’ worth of fuel imports, well below the 90-day minimum required under international agreements.

The Seminar will be held on 18 September at Adams Auditorium, Australian Defence Force Academy, Northcott Drive, Campbell ACT from 0900 – 1545. It is co-convened with the RAN, the Australian Centre for the Study of Armed Conflict and Society, and the Submarine Institute of Australia  

ANI President, Vice Admiral Peter Jones AO DSC (Ret’d) said the Goldrick Seminar will provide a timely opportunity to discuss the importance of maritime trade and its implications for Australia’s defence.

Registrations for the 2019 Goldrick Seminar can be made at This does not work if you are accessing from DRN. Either access from a public server or download the booking form. Event booking form (Word) here 

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UK-Iran: rhetoric replaces statecraft

By Colin Chapman*

A logical next move to de-escalate UK-Iran tensions would be for each side to release the other’s tanker: yet neither Boris Johnson and Hassan Rouhani show much respect for logic.

Watching the world from Europe these last few days, it is hard to avoid the impression that rhetoric has replaced statesmanship in the conduct of international affairs.

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Value of submarines to Australia

By Geoff Slocombe*

Hugh White’s latest book has stimulated an important debate on the defence capabilities needed to preserve Australia as a sovereign state.

In recent commentary there’s been recognition of the insight and erudition of White’s analysis, but much criticism of particular points he makes.

But there’s one more perspective that I haven’t yet seen fully covered. White, while dismissive of future fighting roles for surface warships, suggests a vastly enlarged fleet of submarines, possibly as many as 24 or even 36.

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More of the same is no answer

By Peter Hunter*

Andrew has Davies argued that the idea of ‘balance’ in the ADF’s force structure is lazy thinking. He’s not the only one concerned by outmoded constructs like this, as we’ve seen from Peter Jennings and Michael Shoebridge. And at the recent Defence + Industry conference in Canberra, where the defence secretary and senior ADF leaders emphasised the importance of Australia’s Pacific step-up strategy, questions arose about what our military forces can offer to government in an era of constant contest.

The answers won’t come from more-of-the-same prescriptions for fixing our security challenges by acquiring more of this aircraft or fewer of that ship, as the proponents of platform-centric thinking argue. These linear arguments miss the point. Legacy models that focus on destroying targets and moving arrows on maps are being overtaken by approaches that integrate the elements of national power to produce effects that compel desired political outcomes.

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Seminar on Australia’s nuclear future

A special seminar to discuss and debate the issue of nuclear energy is being convened by the Submarine Institute of Australia (SIA).

The title of the seminar, which will take place on 2 October at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) in Canberra, is: “A Nuclear Industry Future for Australia? Starting the Conversation.”

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South China Sea: prospects for code of conduct

By Carlyle A. Thayer  

Assessment of China’s latest moves in the South China Sea.

Q1. In your assessment, what is behind China’s move into Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf at Vanguard Bank? ANSWER: For the past three years China has been applying pressure on Vietnam, including threats of force, to stop Vietnam’s oil and gas exploration activities in the waters around Vanguard Bank, particularly in July 2017 and March 2018.

China argues that Vietnam is violating understandings reached by high-level leaders.

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USS Ford’s problems revealed

World naval developments July 2019

USS Ford

By Norman Friedman*

In July the ongoing problems of the new carrier Ford were raised yet again, this time during the confirmation hearings of the new Chief of Naval Operations. The current issue is the ship’s eleven weapon elevators, only two of which are operational. The larger question is why, after many decades of extremely successful carriers, this ship is having such severe problems. Is it the new electric technology involved? Is it the result of switching from the earlier successful Nimitzdesign?

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RN’s 85 Iranian run-ins

HMS Montrose

A Royal Navy frigate has had 85 run-ins with Iran in 27 days, its Commanding Officer has revealed, according to Plymouth Live website.

Cdr William King, captain of Type 23 HMS Montrose, said these “interactions” have included Iran “running boats in at the frigate at speed”.

“The Iranians seem to be keen to test our resolve, test our reactions, most of that time,” said Cdr King.

However, he revealed that these regular interactions have led to “a healthy understanding – should I say a respect” developing between the Royal Navy and their Iranian counterparts.

Speaking live on BBC Radio 4, on day 27 of a 28-day patrol, Cdr King said: “It’s a pretty busy standard morning in the Gulf here – we’re in the  Straits of Hormuz.

“I’m looking at whole myriad of different classes of merchant ships, from tankers to bulk carriers, all going about their business – and also smaller ships protecting small oil fields.  It’s a busy, congested, maritime space in which Montrose has spent the  last 28 days, on patrol.

“I’ve had 85 interactions with Iranian forces over the last 27 days – so that gives you some idea of the intensity.

“It’s professional, it’s cordial, often there is an exchange of warnings over VHF – the Iranians seem to be keen to test our resolve, test our reactions, most of that time.

“We’re on guard. We’re ready to react. Ive got 215 in my team who are highly trained and relishing the professional opportunities of being slightly under threat represents.

“They’ll claim perhaps our presence is illegitimate, even though we’re completely lawfully in international waters

“They’ll may also run boats in at us at speed to test what warning levels we get up to.

“In the naval business, as a tactical level commander, this is what we would expect and is what we have seen before.

“The intensity is perhaps more than we have seen in recent times. Merchant shipping is not used to seeing that – and our presence is key to reassuring them that  actually we are able to effectively offset any aggression the Iranians may show.”

Maritime trade subject of Goldrick seminar

 2019 ANI GOLDRICK SEMINAR . Maritime Trade and its Implications for Australia’s Defence.Wednesday 18 September 2019 

Co-convened with the Royal Australian Navy, the Australian Centre for the Study of Armed Conflict and Society, and the Submarine Institute Australia 

The 2019 ANI Goldrick Seminar will discuss defence issues associated with the maintenance of Australia’s maritime trade. Speakers will be drawn from senior levels of Defence, academia and industry. As in previous years, the theme – Maritime Trade and its Implications for Australia’s Defence – was selected by the Chief of Navy; an outcomes report will be provided to the Chief of Navy and it is anticipated that the proceedings will be subsequently published by ACSACS. 

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