A commentary from our Head of Strategy – Flashpoints in the coming years

Our Head of Strategy, Graeme Dunk, comments on an article from John Blaxland, Professor at Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Australian National University, published in Defence Connect on 22 January 2020, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The article is titled ‘Potential flashpoints in the 2020s: Overlapping contestation, governance and environmental crises’. You can read the full article here.


“Prof Blaxland outlines a number of potential flashpoints for Australia to consider in the years ahead. Years that are unlikely to look much like those immediately past.

These potential flashpoints are likely to be emphasised or exaggerated as a result of the current COVID-19 pandemic, as Western nations look inward, trying to protect their people, their societies and their economies. Nature abhors a vacuum, and other parties will take advantage of this situation if they can.

This pandemic has exposed the frailty of Australia’s strategic planning over many years, with reliance placed on global partners and global supply chains. John Blackburn’s ongoing efforts to have Australia face the reality of its fuel security is just one example of the situation that has been allowed to develop.

Australia needs a concerted effort to address national resilience. In fact, we need a National Resilience Plan and, after that, a new Defence White Paper (DWP).

A new DWP will also have to address one of areas of greatest concern to Australia, the potential dis-interest of the US in international forums and affairs. Any such dis-interest may leave Australia with a defence force structured for interoperability, but where the interoperable partner declines to appear.

We are currently in a serious national crisis. A crisis that should force us to address national resilience and to rethink the basis of security in this country. We need to heed the words of Winston Churchill and ‘never waste a good crisis’. We can be stronger for it in the end.”