Oceans Governance and Maritime Strategy

By David Wilson; Dick Sherwood | Go to book overview

8
Regional naval cooperation
Chris Oxenbould
The proceedings on which this book is based come at a very opportune time as the Australian Defence Force (ADF), and more particularly the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), learn to work in the post-Defence Reform Program environment. That is because, in the midst of reorganisation, restructuring and accompanying uncertainties, we have not lost sight of the fact that Australia's geographic and strategic situation has not changed. This geographic and strategic situation is inextricably tied to the maritime environment.The 1997 paper Australia's Strategic Policy (ASP) 1 explicitly stated: ‘The fundamental strategic outcome the Government seeks is to prevent armed attack or coercion against Australia’. Any such attack would have to come through the maritime environment and would have to be repelled in that environment if we hoped to deny an adversary taking the initiative and gaining access to Australian territory. ASP further reiterated the importance of our helping to avoid destabilising strategic competition between the region's major powers and helping to maintain a benign security environment in maritime Southeast Asia.With such key strategic interests in mind, the RAN recognises that issues of oceans management and governance are vital to Australian strategic and economic interests—ours is manifestly a maritime nation:
We are an island continent with one of the longest coastlines

-96-

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