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Putting the `national' into national security: Australia's maritime surveillance capability

By Andrew Davies

This paper considers Australia's maritime surveillance capability.

Australia is always going to have difficulty in keeping watch on a vast area of ocean and a long coastline.

Steps taken through the last decade have greatly improved the co-ordination of effort and sharing of surveillance information across government. But the equipment side of capability continues to be managed (for the most part) in agency-based stovepipes.

Defence has the lion’s share of the procurement budget and it will, rightly, continue to invest in platforms and systems that best suit its particular requirements. It is time for the government to take a broader look at its wider policy aims—and to allocate resources accordingly.