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The Cost of Defence: ASPI Defence Budget Brief 2013-2014

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.

After four years of cuts, defence spending is on the rise again. But the growth is occurring from a low base, and in absolute terms funding remains well below what was promised back in 2009. Yet plans for the ADF remain as ambitious as ever.

As always seems to be the case, there is a gap between means and ends that needs to be closed. While this might be explained as a hedging strategy, we risk wasting money in areas that will eventually have to be cut if additional funding is not forthcoming.

In the meantime, it’s up to Defence to get on with the job. Challenges in the areas of personnel and procurement are certain to arise in the years ahead, and the government’s willingness to deliver more money will be tempered by how well Defence delivers on both counts.