Page 140 - Australian Defence Magazine September 2018
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134 | September2018 |
Impact on Defence and National Security
Without adequate and secure energy sources, Defence cannot function. It is essential for Defence leaders to under- stand Australia’s energy systems and sup- ply chains and that we are undergoing a fundamental transformation in our en- ergy systems. It is a critical vulnerability.
Energy security is not just about fuel stocks for Defence. When I have spoken about this issue, a common question I am asked is “how many days of fuel stocks do we have in Defence?” The issue is far more complicated than the question suggests. For example, if you doubled the current level of fuel stocks it would in reality make little difference if an energy supply interruption lasted longer than the number of days of stocks held.
The issue is the assured ongoing flow of adequate energy, where stocks act merely as a buffer for variations in flow rate. The other critical issue to understand is that if our civilian infrastructure and critical supply chains do not have assured energy, then Defence will not be able to operate. Defence is wholly reliant on the non-Defence support infrastructure to operate. I have therefore purposely re- ferred to energy rather than fuel.
Our infrastructure, and in turn, De- fence relies on assured flow of multiple energy components including electricity, gas and fuels. Fuel stocks alone do not de- liver energy security.
If we examine the 2016 DWP for its analysis of energy security and related De- fence vulnerability, there is little to read. The DWP discussed the remediation of problems in fuel infrastructure that would address OH&S and some resiliency issues. There are good energy related develop- ments across the Services, in Defence Es- tate and in Defence Science, but in piece parts. Compounding the lack of a com- prehensive Government integrated energy policy and plan is the apparent lack of a Defence operational energy strategy and a Defence operational energy policy. This should be addressed as a matter of priority.
So, why have these issues not been addressed by Defence; why did I not realise the problem when I was the RAAF Deputy Chief? I think it is an issue of culture and habit. Many in De- fence consider fuel to just be a “logistics issue” and that will be managed by the logisticians and that energy is a domes- tic Defence Estate issue.

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