Crash and Burn

This is both optimistic and troubling. Fairfax media reports that "China has put…

The Admirable Demonstration of Dan Tehan And Other…

Apparently, Dan Tehan was on QandA last night. I only know this…

Condensed Fun Facts, Dates, Myths/Misconceptions

By Richard Whitington Fun Referendum Facts Fun Referendum Facts #1: The ballot paper for…

Cannabis: We can shut up, toe the line,…

When President Obama commented that he thought cannabis was likely less dangerous…

Corruption suspicions hang over secret PNG refugee contracts

Refugee Action Coalition Media Release AUSTALIA’S SECRET PNG DEAL MUST BE INVESTIGATED Refugee advocates…

Dianne Feinstein: National Security State Diva

The tributes for the late Democratic Senator from California, Dianne Feinstein, heaped…

Media Alert - Refugees Say "Fair Go, Albo"

A protest vigil will be held for 4 days at the electoral…

The Voice reveals the urgent need for truth…

The fact that Elon Musk has just halved his election integrity team…


Building for War: The US Imperium’s Top End Spend

The AUSMIN 2023 talks held between the US Secretaries of State and Defense and their Australian counterparts, confirmed the increasing, unaccountable militarisation of the Australian north and its preparation for a future conflict with Beijing. Details were skimpy, the rhetoric aspirational. But the Australian performance from Defence Minister Richard Marles, and Foreign Minister Penny Wong, was crawling, lamentable, even outrageous. State Secretary Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III could only look on with sheer wonder at their prostrate hosts.

Money, much of it from the US military budget, is being poured into upgrading, expanding and redeveloping Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) bases in the Northern Territory city of Darwin, and Tindal, situated 320km south-east of Darwin, the intended to “address functional deficiencies and capacity constraints in existing facilities and infrastructure.” Two new locations are also being proposed at RAAF Bases Scherger and RAAF Curtin, aided by site surveys.

The AUSMIN joint statement, while revealing nothing in terms of operational details or costs, proved heavy with talk about “the ambitious trajectory of Enhanced Force Posture Cooperation across land, maritime, and air domains, as well as Combined Logistics, Sustainment and Maintenance Enterprise (CoLSME).” Additionally, there would be “Enhanced Air Cooperation” with a rotating “US Navy Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft in Australia to enhance regional maritime domain awareness, with an ambition of inviting likeminded partners to participate in the future.”

Further details have come to light about the money being spent by the Pentagon on facilities in Darwin. The unromantically titled FY22 MCAF Project PAF160700 Squadron Operations Facility at the RAAF Darwin base “includes the construction (design-bid-build) of a United States Air Force squadron facility at the … (RAAF) in Darwin, Australia.” The project is deemed necessary to add space “for aircrew flight equipment, maintenance and care, mission planning, intelligence, crew briefings, crew readiness, and incidental related work.” Some of the systems are mundane but deemed important for an expanded facility, including ventilating and air conditioning, water heating, plumbing, utility energy meters and sub-meters and a building automation system (HVAC Control system).

Correspondents from the Australian Broadcasting have gone further into the squadron operations facility, consulting US budget filings and tender documents to reveal cost assessments of $26 million (A$40 million). A further parking apron at RAAF Darwin is also featured in the planning, estimated to cost somewhere in the order of $258 million. This will further supplement plans to establish the East Arm fuel storage facility for the US Air Force located 15 kilometres from Darwin that should be able to, on completion by September this year, store 300 million litres of military jet fuel intended to support US military activity in the Northern Territory and Indo-Pacific region.

According to the tender documents, the squadron operations facility also had a broader, more strategic significance: “to support strategic operations and to run multiple 15-day training exercises during the NT dry season for deployed B-52 squadrons.” The RAAF Tindal facility’s redevelopment, slated to conclude in 2026, is also intended to accommodate six B-52 bombers. Given their nuclear capability, residents in the NT should feel a suitable degree of terror.

Michael Shoebridge, founder and director of Strategic Analysis Australia, is none too pleased by this state of affairs. He is unhappy by Canberra’s reticence on US-Australian military arrangements, and none too keen on a debate that is only being informed by US-based sources. “A public debate needs to be enabled by information and you can’t have a complete picture without knowing where the money is being spent.”

While it is hard to disagree with that tack, Shoebridge’s outfit, in line with such think tanks as the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, is not against turning Australia into a frontline fortress state ready for war. What he, and his colleagues take issue with, is the overwhelmingly dominant role the US is playing in the venture. Those in Washington, Shoebridge argues, seem to “understand the urgency we don’t seem to.” Rather than questioning Australia’s need for a larger, more threatening military capability to fight phantoms and confected foreign adversaries, he accepts the premise, wholeheartedly. Canberra, in short, should muck in more, pull its weight, and drum up Australian personnel for the killing.

Anthony Bergin, a senior fellow of Strategic Analysis Australia, teases out the idea of such mucking in, suggesting a familiar formula. He insists that, in order to improve “our national security, we should be looking at options short of conscription which wouldn’t be as hard to sell to the Australian people.” He thought the timing perfect for such a move. “There’s now a latent appetite for our political leaders to introduce measures to bolster national resilience.”

This silly reading only makes sense on the assumption that the Australian public has been softened sufficiently by such hysterical affronts to sensibility as the Red Alert campaign waged in the Fairfax Press.

Options to add padding to Australia’s military preparedness include doubling or tripling school cadets and cadet programs of the “outdoor bound” type based in the regions. But more important would be the creation of a “national militia training scheme”. Bergin is, however, displeased by the difficulty of finding “volunteers of any kind”, a strange comment given the huge, unpaid volunteer army that governs the delivery of numerous services in Australia, from charities to firefighting.

Alison Broinowski, herself formerly of the Australian diplomatic corps, safely concludes that the current moves constitute “another step in the same direction – a step that the government has been taking a series of for years; accepting whatever the United States government wants to place on Australian soil.” More’s the pity that most details are to come from Washington sources, indicating, with irrefutable finality, Canberra’s abject subordination to the US imperium and its refusal to admit that fact.


Like what we do at The AIMN?

You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.

Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!

Your contribution to help with the running costs of this site will be gratefully accepted.

You can donate through PayPal or credit card via the button below, or donate via bank transfer: BSB: 062500; A/c no: 10495969

Donate Button


Login here Register here
  1. Steve Davis

    “options short of conscription” says it all.

    They know they will get away with any madness so long as the average punter thinks he will not be affected.

    We have an infantile, Hollywood concept of history.

    The US economy is dependent on perpetual war, they have China in their sights, so it will happen.

    Maybe this is what it will take for us to break free.

  2. Anthony Judge

    If the alliance with the US is preparation for future war with China, it is useful to recall a principle of Sun Tzu, a Chinese general widely renowned for his manual on the Art of War. Modern China may well be informed by a dictum therein: Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting. In that light current AUSMIN initiatives may be fundamentally misconceived. This is also implied by the recognized shift from physical warfare, via cyberwarfare, to memetic warfare as the future of war ( From a Chinese perspective, do strategic amaterurs depend on physical warfare? Professionals would then focus on memetic warfare and noopolitics ( There is no indication that Australia is developing skills in memetic warfare as a complement to AUSMIN enthusiasm.

  3. Andrew Smith

    A difficulty is that grounded defence and security strategy is/should be done over decades that transcends electoral cycles.

    One’s issue with this holding Labor’s feet to the fire on AUKUS, subs, Assange etc. in the short term, is that not only have they been ongoing issues or obstacles left by the LNP, it ignores the role of LNP, GOP and Tories too, i.e. becomes one of those typical political media strategies of disappearing the right and dog whistle the centre?

    Already reports from the US that sub deal may not be fulfilled, AUKUS was more a pre ordained PR event or trap by the LNP ‘govt’. etc.; maybe with time and grounded policy development (vs. ASPI, media etc.) we can have a defence and security policy that fits better, locally, regionally and globally.

  4. Max Gross

    Australia is a US stooge, patsy, sycophant, vassal, lapdog. Have we no self respect at all???

  5. A Commentator

    About AUKUS…
    1. Context. I’d prefer a multi polar world, but not one that results in increasing prestige and influence for expansionist autocratic regimes. The Putin regime is the clear example of an autocratic regime that plays on the multi polar narrative. I don’t see any international benefit in allowing a greater level of influence for those war criminals and fascists
    2. I’m entirely in favour of the EU taking a greater, independent stance in foreign policy. Or Japan, or India or Brazil. Or even some coalition of African states.
    3. Australia is a significant regional economic and military power. We should not be shy about taking a leading role in the Asia Pacific region.
    4. Common interests and values usually bring people, organisations, entities together to advance their common interests and values. We see this with unions, politics…I certainly don’t object to countries forming such alliances.

  6. Kathryn

    Australia MUST re-think its toxic alliance with America – a war mongering nation that has dragged us into every single American-led war, aggressive conflict and illegal invasion since WW2, ie the Korean War, the Malayan Emergency, the Indonesian Confrontation, the slaughter of the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, Afghanistan and George Bush’s genocidal Iraqi “War on Terror” which achieved nothing but the catastrophic slaughter of countless millions of innocent people in Iraq and Syria and the tragic destabilisation of the whole middle east! Our misguided and continuing twisted alliance with America – an aggressive nation who’s HUGE and delusional sense of entitlement has (understandably) caused it become one of the most unpopular countries in the world – will achieve NOTHING for Australia outside of turning our isolated island nation into a big, fat TARGET! Sadly, America has proven its ability to THRIVE on chaos, hate, terror, fear, intimidation and war and, as such, our alliance with America has become a constant irritant to our nearest neighbours in Asia (especially our biggest trading partner, China)!

    History has proven that it has taken the despicable, right-wing, war mongers in the LNP government – who have proven that they have always been (and will continue to be) nothing more than corrupt sycophantic puppets to America – to get us INVOLVED IN EVERY single American-led act of war or aggression and a left-wing Labor government to GET US OUT of it! History has shown that it took the foresightful, progressive Labor leader, Gough Whitlam, to be the first leader of our nation to have the intestinal fortitude and wisdom to stand up against America. In 1972, when the Whitlam Government was elected, it wisely decided to withdraw the last of the Australian troops from South Vietnam. Whitlam’s wise decision to withdraw our troops from America’s reprehensible war in Vietnam brought the catastrophic and undemocratic involvement of the American CIA into the appalling dismissal of the best, highest achieving government in our history! As a result, the American domination over our nation then crossed the line into unwarranted and illegal political interference in our nation! The despicable collusion between the CIA, the power-obsessed sycophants in Malcolm Fraser’s LNP regime and John Kerr (a serial drunk who is now thoroughly discredited and viewed as the worst, most ignominious governor general on record) can only be described as an absolutely appalling act of FASCISM that ILLEGALLY sacked and dismissed a democratically-elected Labor government! This single act managed to bring down the best, highest achieving government in our history – a despicable act of fascism that continues to divide our nation to this day! The long list of achievements by the Gough Whitlam government are outlined in a link below and one can only imagine how much MORE the Whitlam government could have achieved if they were not undemocratically removed through the collaboration of the megalomaniacal Kerr’s cur (Malcolm Fraser), the LNP regime, John Kerr and the appalling and illegal involvement of the American CIA !! Needless to say, the LNP have since managed to REMOVE, rescind and defund so many of the achievements made by the Whitlam government 🙁 By comparison, the LNP have not achieved ONE SINGLE THING that provides benefit to working- or middle-class Australians!

    This is WHY many people are so disappointed with Albanese right now with his apparent appeasement to yet MORE American militarisation upon Australian soil! This is taking our nation down a very dark path that can only alienate us from our Asian neighbours. Australians MUST remember that our nation is NOT a part of America nor should we want to be; we are located 14,000+ kms from Europe and, as such, are certainly NOT a part of Europe and our multicultural, egalitarian nation has no longer got much in common with the elitist nation of the UK, a nation that has already treacherously betrayed Australia during WW2 (see link below)! With the UK and America both betraying Australia in the past, it is vital that we stand on our own feet and not kowtow to foreign interests!

    Our nation is an integral part of Asia and, as such, must learn to live in a harmonious, respectful and peaceful relationship with our closest neighbours in OUR part of the world which includes Indonesia, New Guinea, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Japan and other countries in south-east Asia! Wake up, Albanese! Never forget that it was America that so ruthlessly betrayed our nation by undemocratically and disgracefully interfering in our nation’s internal affairs – can you just IMAGINE what America would do if Australia tried to do the same thing? WOW!

    Yes, we need to maintain a strong bond with America but Australia must NEVER EVER again kowtow to America’s demands for our nation to be involved in their dirty little conflicts and aggressive wars that have sacrificed the lives of so many young Australian men and women and the lives of countless millions of innocent civilians throughout Afghanistan, Vietnam, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere. Australia must NEVER become involved in civil wars that do not concern us. If America wants to continue its acts of aggression throughout the world, be it on their OWN head!,14103

  7. Clakka

    Binoy, just a note picking up an error:

    The further parking apron at RAAF Darwin is estimated at $258 Million, not $258 Billion.

    Oz has historically, largely relied upon Britain and the USA for enabling its defence infrastructure. To say the least, as Oz sought to prescribe, procure, operate and maintain its own planes, ships and boats, the process has been obscure and in hindsight a relative shambles. To wit, the recent debacle of the (deficient) Taipan crash costing 4 Oz lives.

    Significant resource development and extraction in the Oz north has skyrocketed in the last 20 years, the massive cost of which has been facilitated by foreign investment. Yet the defence of those resources and the infrastructure has barely been adequate, and likely beyond our ad hoc capabilities and our means.

    One doesn’t have to ascribe to the notion of the inevitability of a war between China and the USA, nor does one have to dwell on the complex and divisive history of the USA’s frequently botched politics and actions as the ‘world’s policeman’. Things do change, and in the last 20 years are changing increasingly rapidly. And to that extent, the Putin Russia’s invasion of Ukraine reveals the extent to which global equilibrium and welfare can be brought to the brink.

    As the ‘west’ and China and SE Asia increasingly relies on our skyrocketing participation in global production and economics, should we just kick back on a “she’ll be right, mate” ethos or adopt a posture of defending a functional detente? As China grows and sees little choice but to expand its economic tentacles, and the USA, with all its internal political chaos, struggles to reform its economy does it remain objective to talk of it as aspiring to hegemony? Should the USA economy collapse, the entire world would be dragged into chaos.

    Although there is an increasing realisation that there is a global interdependence that must prevail, and given the latest talk of multi-polarity, the world still remains subject to the whims and chauvinism driven by culture and national identity. Our nearest huge northern neighbour, Indonesia, maintains healthy diplomatic and increasing military interoperability with the USA. So given current economic and geographic constraints, Oz past military reliance, and prevailing regime of investors, is it not more cost effective and efficient to facilitate a rotation of USA military equipment and personnel extant to combine with Oz in bringing to effect appropriate defence of our ever more important, and rapidly growing north?

    What are our alternatives?

  8. Roswell

    Thanks for that, Clakka. I’ve gone in and changed it to million.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 2 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here

Return to home page
%d bloggers like this: