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Book - Joint by Design: The Evolution of Australian Defence Strategy

Dr Robbin Laird, Joint by Design: The Evolution of Australian Defence Strategy. 24 December 2020

Available on Amazon. You can also purchase directly through the SLDINFO website for 30% off if you use the code: Williams.

This is the second book in our 21st Century Global Change Series.

In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, the prime minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, launched a new defense and security strategy for Australia.

This strategy reset puts Australia on the path of enhanced defense capabilities.

The change represents a serious shift in its policies towards China, and in reworking alliance relationships going forward.

As one senior RAAF officer put it: “The Prime Minister of Australia, the Honorable Scott Morrison, has launched the Defense Strategic Update, which moved Australia’s defense policy away from a globally-balanced approach under our Defense White Paper of 2016, towards a more regionally focused posture, founded in the principles of shape, deter, and respond. The new policy approach places great emphasis on the need for our forces to be well integrated, both internally to Australia, and across our strategic partners. ”

Joint by Design is focused on Australian policy, but it is about preparing liberal democracies around the world for the challenges of the future.

The strategic shift from land wars to full spectrum crisis management requires liberal democracies to have forces lethal enough, survivable enough, and agile enough to support full spectrum crisis management.

The book provides an overview of the evolution of Australian defence modernization over the past seven years, and the strategic shift underway to do precisely that.

Although this is a book about Australia, it is about the significant shift facing the liberal democracies in meeting the challenge of dealing with the 21st century authoritarian powers.

In this sense, the volume is very complimentary to our book the return of direct defense in Europe, a book that concludes with a chapter that highlights the Australian contribution to the rethinking going on in Europe about direct defense.

The book is based on the bi-annual Williams Foundation seminars held since 2014, and include insights and presentations by Australians and several key allies of Australia.

In that sense, the book provides an Australian-led allied rethink with regard to how to meet 21st century defense challenges.

The two books read together provide a good overview of where key allies are with regard to rethinking defense certa 2020.

As Anne Borzycki, Director of the Institute of Integrated Economic Research – Australia, has highlighted:

“Dr Robbin Laird brings a unique perspective to his analysis of the journey the Australian Defence Force (ADF) has been on over the last six years. As an American, and also a European resident, he understands the military and strategic realities of Europe and the United States and is therefore able to place Australia, as a modern middle-power, into the spectrum of Western Liberal Democracies. And importantly, this book highlights the lessons that Europe and the United States could learn from Australia as the first quarter of the 21st century draws to a close.

“This book is a modern history that begins in 2014. The year 2014 might seem recent – however given the upheavals wrought upon the world by changing global power dynamics, national domestic political challenges, military transformations and finally, the pandemic – it could just as well be 60, not 6, years ago.”

And Andrew Carr, Senior Lecturer, Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Australian National University noted in a recent review: “Joint by Design offers a valuable overview of how Australia’s defence force has been evolving, innovating and adapting. It tells a story that is typically only ever seen by the public in piecemeal. A new piece of equipment here, or training and doctrinal changes there. In Joint by Design, Robbin Laird shows, through dozens of interviews with the main participants, how these various parts all fit together.

“This book is therefore an important contribution to our understanding of both Australian defence policy now operates, but also how western armed forces are changing in light of the growing threat of the new authoritarians such as Russia and China. As such, it should be of interest to those concerned with the nature of modern warfare, security trends in Asia, and the evolution of western armed forces.”

The book can be found in hardback, paperback and e-book versions on most book sellers worldwide.


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