In search of a maritime strategy: the maritime element in Australian defence planning since 1901

Author/s (editor/s):

Ian Cowman, Jeffrey Grey, John B. Hattendorf, David Horner, John McCarthy, Chris Oxenbould, David Stevens, Stewart Woodman

Publication year:


Publication type:

Policy paper

Canberra Papers on Strategy and Defence No. 119

Australia is and always has been a maritime nation. From the earliest days of European settlement, the people of Australia have looked to the sea for their security. Protection was first provided under the umbrella of Imperial Defence and the Royal Navy. Later as our nation matured, the need was identified to establish a local navy, manned and commanded by Australians.

However security is not found in one environment alone and in the years since Federation there has been a continuing struggle to reconcile differing perceptions of threat, competing defence strategies, conflicting force structure priorities and economic and political constraints. Australia's unique geographical situation provides both security and vulnerability, and in seeking either to exploit or protect these features defence planners have had to continually adjust to the realities of the day.

This book brings together leading authorities from Australia and overseas and for the first time comprehensively examines our nation's search for and effective maritime strategy in the twentieth century. Illuminating both the similarities and differences between eras, the volume provides a succinct overview of Australia's changing maritime priories and the evolution of broader strategic planning. The insights gained will be of benefit not only to those interested in defence history but also to all those concerned with current issues in Australian security strategy.

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