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US Army Shake-up Provides Challenges for Australia

Australia has been urged to respond to changes within the US army to bolster its security in an increasingly unstable region.

The army shake-up reflects the changing nature of warfare and a bid to counter Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific.

The Australian army also needs to adapt to work with its allies, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) said in a new report.

This includes maritime training between Australian, American and Japanese forces as well as working to ensure watercraft from the three nations could allow troops to be transported around the region in the event of a conflict.

A landmark review into the Australian Defence Force highlighted the need to shift to longer-range strike power over land vehicles.

But one key weakness in the defence review was that Australia’s shift to better protect the continent from attack was not suited to propping up any US-led coalition in the region, ASPI said.

“Australia’s defence strategy rightly prioritises our national defence but this does raise questions about the capacity of an integrated ADF to meet the future strategic needs of the alliance,” the think tank said.

While the review focused on deterring threats by denying any attacks and making adversaries think twice about targeting Australia, it did not explicitly rule out “deterrence by punishment” against mainland China, ASPI found.

This means there was a large incentive for the defence force to boost hypersonic missiles, which is a key component of the second stage of the trilateral AUKUS alliance that includes the US and UK.

Stationing hypersonics in Australia “would send a purposeful signal to Beijing”, the report said.

“The extent to which the US and Australia cooperate on hypersonics will directly inform perceptions in Beijing about the attendant risks of military aggression.”

Australia could become a testing site for US hypersonic missiles, a top Pentagon official has flagged.

Anti-ship combat training between the three nations including large-scale exercises should also be conducted, the ASPI report recommended.

Source : BlueMontainsGazette