Page 22 - Australian Defence Magazine Dec 2018 - Jan 2019
P. 22

Defence in the North
commodities, Defence was re-evaluating the benefits of rail.
“In addition to general freight and ar- moured vehicles, Defence is also consid- ering the use of rail to support the move- ment of bulk explosive ordnance and fuel,” CDRE Murray disclosed.
Brigadier Mark Brewer, Director Gener- al US FPI, questioned whether the ADF’s traditional approach of heading out into the bush or flying over it and training on areas with fixed and field firing ranges “with a few containers stacked on each other which we call an urban facility” were now fit for purpose.
“At the moment, I would observe that our training area design ideas culminate at developing roads, creek and river crossings, camp accommodation and range control with ranges in service silos. Surely there is more to it.”
BRIG Brewer said the ADF needed to en- sure that it can integrate space and cyber en- vironments into the more traditional train- ing environments, and that it can support the use of robotics and autonomous systems.
“In my view we need to favour more in the network mesh and the emitters and system emulators than the camp accommodation we build. In my mind it won’t be so much about fixed small arms and vehicle ranges – it will be more about autonomous and mo- bile targetry with a shoot-back capability – I’m talking lasers not rounds – that can integrate with a constructive and live threat force to provide the sternest test we can con- ceive to our people, platforms and systems - on land, sea, air, and in cyberspace.
“We need to train against a threat with capabilities asymmetric to our own”.
Nearly 200 delegates from industry, defence, government and academia attending the sixth annual Northern Australia Defence Summit in October heard Chief Minister Michael Gunner stress the Northern Territory’s role as a vital hub.
“WE’RE not near Asia, we’re in Asia. A stronger and safer Australia, a stronger and safer region, requires a stronger and safer NT,” Gunner said. “You only have to look at a map to see how the North matters more and more every day to Australia, to the re- gion and to the world. We are Australia’s strategic hub for national security, border security, bio security, energy security, re- gional security; we are Australia’s natural hub for aid and humanitarian assistance, this is where Australia has its northernmost deep water port, this is where Australia looks out to the South China Sea and the Malacca Straits.”
Defence Industry Minister Steven Ciobo, moved to that role from the Trade portfolio less than six weeks earlier, reminded del- egates that the government was providing record funding to the ADF and the domes- tic industrial base. Referring to $500 mil- lion worth of upgrades to Darwin’s HMAS Larrakia and RAAF Tindal and facilities linked to the US Force Posture Initiative (US FPI), he said there would be more op- portunity than ever for Territory industry to be involved with Defence, not just locally but in new markets such as defence exports.
Although the Northern Territory News welcomed the Minister’s pledge on direct- ing boosted defence spending in the NT to local businesses wherever possible, in an editorial headed “Defence talk needs ac- tion”, the newspaper commented that “it’s the wherever possible that is of concern.
"How many times have we heard pledges by interstate or international companies to employ local workers wherever possible? And how many times have we seen the jobs go to interstate workers because apparently local didn’t have the necessary skills.... and this is not just in the area of Defence.”
Commodore Ian Murray, Deputy Com- mander Joint Logistics, said the Darwin-
based Joint Logistics Unit (North) contrib- uted more than $7.5 million annually to the NT economy through maintenance and procurement activity.
Given the trend for Defence to focus military logistics capabilities where they were most needed, real opportunities would continue for commercial providers in the North to position to provide such services to regional operations and exercises.
Defence had recently partnered with in- dustry in Darwin to supply Navy with fuel directly from the commercial infrastruc- ture at the Darwin Industry Fuel Terminal, and further collaboration was likely in the Defence fuel supply chain.
Upgrades to the explosive ordnance depot in Darwin would include a new explosive ordnance processing facility, a new admin- istration building and remediation of the current storage facilities to increase capacity.
Given the vast distances associated with movement in the NT and the legislative challenges around movement of specific
Minister for Defence Industry Steve Ciobo.
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