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The Cost of Defence: ASPI Defence Budget Brief 2012-2013

By Mark Thomson

This report, prepared by Mark Thomson, gives interested readers greater access to the complex workings of the Defence Budget and promotes informed debate on Defence budget issues.

This year’s Budget saw the Department of Defence make a sizable contribution to the government’s razor thin projected surplus. Far from being a one-off hit, the latest cuts are just the latest in a long line of deferrals and ‘efficiency’ savings which Defence has had to surrender.

The immediate impact is being felt acutely in investment in new equipment and facilities. Over the next few years, the acquisition of new equipment will fall to levels not seen for more than a decade.

In the longer term, the question is whether the tide has turned on Australia’s appetite for defence spending. The post-9/11 decade has been replaced by the post-GFC decade. Where once we worried about terrorism and war, now we worry about financial stability and our superannuation. At the same time, as the troops return to barracks from Afghanistan and East Timor, the prospects for robust defence spending will certainly decline.

ASPI’s Cost of Defence 2012-13 examines this year’s Defence Budget in detail and explores the prospects for Australia’s defence in an age of austerity.

You can watch a video of Dr Thomson speaking at the launch of this report here.