Defence 2000: Our Future Defence Force (2000 Defence White Paper)

2000 Defence White Paper
Strategic objectives
Industry for defence
Defence Capability Plan
Identified capability choices
Cost of capability
Alignment of cost, capability and strategic objectives


Defence 2000: Our Future Defence Force (2000 Defence White Paper)

M777 Howitzer

M777 Howitzer (Source: Australian Defence Image Library)


  • The 1996 Defence Efficiency Review (McIntosh Review) triggered the Government’s Defence Reform Program, which resulted in internal rationalisation and efficiency reforms, and was completed just prior to the release of the 2000 Defence White Paper.
  • The outcomes of the 1997 strategic review focused on defeating attacks against Australia without increasing defence funding.
  • In the lead-up to the 2000 Defence White Paper, the first public consultation was conducted, but the degree to which this influenced the white paper is unclear.
  • While Australia’s alliance with the United States remained key, the concept of self-reliance was retained in this white paper as a priority, which reinforced the need to support local capabilities.
  • Cyber security featured for the first time as a national security issue in a white paper.
  • Priority Industry Capabilities identified in the white paper mostly replicated those listed in the 1994 iteration.
  • The inaugural Defence Capability Plan (DCP) promised to provide better guidance to industry on defence capability proposals. The DCP had a ten-year outlook and included around $47 billion (year 2000 prices) worth of projects.
  • The white paper included a strategy to increase ADF personnel levels from 51,000 to 54,000 over ten years, with a greater emphasis on Army capability.
  • A new fighter aircraft replacement program was flagged with a view to introducing 100 new aircraft from 2012.
  • Through-life capability costs for white paper projects were estimated at $141 billion over ten years.
  • Defence spending was expected to grow at around three per cent annually in real terms over the decade. The white paper maintained its funding commitment, but delivery of new or upgraded equipment soon began to slow.
  • In contrast to previous defence white papers, the 2000 Defence White Paper set out and linked strategic priorities to the subsequent capability requirements, and then attached them to a long-term program to fund the necessary acquisitions and enhancements.


The Howard Government tabled Defence 2000: Our Future Defence Force (2000 Defence White Paper) in Parliament on 6 December 2000.[241] The 2000 Defence White Paper was presented with a ten-year funding outlook and was accompanied by the inaugural Defence Capability Plan (DCP), containing unapproved major capital projects over the next ten years.[242] The paper received bipartisan support, with the Opposition Leader, Kim Beazley, indicating that it was ‘an appropriate basis for defence policy and military strategy in Australia’.[243]

Similar to previous white papers, key reviews were undertaken to inform the direction of the 2000 Defence White Paper. These are discussed below.

Defence Efficiency Review 1996

In 1996, the Howard Government initiated the Defence Efficiency Review, headed by CSIRO Chief Executive Malcolm McIntosh.[244] McIntosh delivered the final report, Future Directions for the Management of Australia’s Defence (McIntosh Report), to the Government in March 1997.[245] The McIntosh Report highlighted that Australia’s former ‘comfortable margin of military capability over most of the countries of our region’ was beginning to erode as the economies in Australia’s region grew, allowing them to spend more on military capabilities.[246]

The McIntosh Report aimed to find cost efficiencies within Defence that would maximise capability spending.[247] It estimated that one-off savings of $442 million could be achieved, with recurrent annual savings of $773 million, through its stated reforms.[248]

In response to the McIntosh Report, Defence Minister Ian McLachlan announced the Defence Reform Program (DRP), which was based on the 70 recommendations and findings set out in the McIntosh Report.[249] In terms of defence procurement, the DRP entailed the co-location of acquisition functions and the re-organisation of the materiel, industry and contracting groups that would focus on common industry sectors or types of equipment, rather than divisions by Service.[250] The internal rationalisation and efficiency reforms occurred throughout the Department of Defence, including in the Defence Acquisition Organisation, with the aim of shortening acquisition times, providing better whole-of-life costing for equipment, reducing transaction costs with industry, streamlining personnel functions and providing the Government with ‘greater transparency and oversight of the acquisition process’.[251]

The DRP was completed on 30 June 2000 and reportedly yielded:

... a significant redistribution of resources to combat capability. As at 30 June 2001, a total of $1,657m had been redirected to current and future capability from cumulative reform program savings of $2,010m (the remainder, $353m, being spent on transition costs, mostly involving market testing activities).[252]

Whilst the DRP led to some savings, they were not sufficient to eliminate the pressure on the defence budget. In a key finding, the McIntosh Review cautioned that ‘finding and redistributing savings to warfighting capability will be a major step forward however it is likely that more overall resources (i.e. a higher proportion of Gross Domestic Product) will need to be allocated to Defence in the future’.[253]

This mismatch between resources and demands was also echoed in the subsequent Government report, Australia’s Strategic Policy 1997.

Australia’s Strategic Policy 1997

In 1996, the Howard Government initiated a review of Australia’s strategic environment and the military capability needed to shape the ADF out to 2020 and beyond.[254] The review was conducted by Rear Admiral Don Chalmers and was ‘the first major assessment of Australia’s security outlook’ since the election of the Howard Government.[255] The resulting document—Australia’s Strategic Policy (ASP 97)—was made public in December 1997 and closely aligned with the security aspects of the Howard Government’s recently released White Paper on Foreign and Trade Policy.[256] At the time ASP 97 was released, Australia’s strategic interests were ‘directly engaged throughout the wider Asia-Pacific region, because events beyond our nearer neighbourhood could have direct effects within it’.[257]

The paper stated that the ADF therefore needed to be able to perform three major combat tasks:

  • defeat attacks against Australia
  • to defend our regional strategic interests and
  • support Australia’s global interests.[258]

Defeating attacks against Australia was the first priority and Australia’s regional interests were the second:

Priority will be given to the first of these tasks, but decisions will be influenced by the ability of forces to contribute to both tasks. Our planning will also take account of the possibility—albeit unlikely—that we could need forces for both.[259]

ASP 97 concluded that these capabilities could be achieved ‘without major increases in defence funding in the shorter term’.[260] In terms of the level of preparedness required by the ADF, ASP 97 acknowledged that ‘it would be less risky to require a large proportion of our forces to be always ready for action at very short notice’, but ‘the result would be that over time, and under significant budgetary pressures, our overall capabilities would decline’.[261] In time, there would be increased pressure for more funding. As it stood, the existing Defence budget constrained the development of new major capabilities, specifically ‘new fighter aircraft or new surface combatants’.[262]

Defence Review 2000—Our Future Defence Force: a Public Discussion Paper

The release of a public discussion paper (also known as a ‘green paper’) in June 2000 added a new dimension to defence policy making as, traditionally, Australian governments had not formally consulted the public on defence and security policy.[263] The purpose of the discussion paper and the accompanying discussion program was to ‘inform ... the community about our defence needs, and assist the Government in producing the Defence Policy Statement [or white paper]’.[264]

There had been significant changes in the regional defence and security environment since ASP 97. Most important was Australia’s role in support of Timor Leste’s independence and how this had complicated Australia’s relations with Indonesia. ASP 97 had cautioned that Australia needed ‘to resist efforts to make this strategically important relationship hostage to individual incidents’.[265] Yet by September 1999, Australia, with more than 5,500 personnel, was leading the United Nations-sanctioned International Force for East Timor (INTERFET) to restore peace and security.[266]

The INTERFET deployment prompted public interest in, and debate over, the actual purpose of the ADF, and whether Timor Leste was a glimpse of its future role. The deployment also highlighted shortcomings in personnel strength and training as well as military equipment and logistics.[267] As David Stevens (RAN Sea Power Centre) noted, the INTERFET mission ‘revealed a yawning gap between advertised and actual capability’.[268] The Department of Defence agreed:

While the ADF met immediate operational requirements in 1999–2000, it was fully stretched in many areas to achieve this and, was at the expense of the longer-term sustainability of Defence capabilities... In the medium to longer term, the ADF’s ability to undertake higher intensity, concurrent or prolonged operations is likely to be constrained by personnel shortages, which are exacerbated by current recruitment and retention difficulties, logistic support deficiencies and the increasing obsolescence and reduced serviceability due to ageing equipment.[269]

The public’s response to the green paper was expected to be a ‘valuable resource for developing the Defence Policy Statement’ (that is, the 2000 Defence White Paper).[270] The findings of the Community Consultation Team were detailed in a media release issued by the Defence Minister, John Moore, in November 2000.[271] Featuring prominently were issues concerning the conditions of service for military personnel (including Reserves) and greater support for defence-related industry.[272]

Apart from adopting the phraseology of the consultation team report, Australian Perspectives on Defence: Report of the Community Consultation Team, it is not clear to what extent, if at all, the 2000 Defence White Paper was influenced by the consultation process.[273]

2000 Defence White Paper

Strategic objectives

While the 2000 Defence White Paper acknowledged that a ‘direct military attack on Australia is unlikely’, it set out three key principles to guide the ADF’s priority task of defending Australia:[274]

  • firstly, self-reliance: Australia must be able to defend itself from direct military attack ‘without relying on the combat forces of other countries’
  • secondly, a maritime strategy: ‘to control the air and sea approaches to our continent’ and
  • thirdly, proactive operations: although Australia’s strategic posture is defensive, ‘we would seek to attack hostile forces as far from our shores as possible’.[275]

With the 50th anniversary of the ANZUS treaty approaching, the 2000 Defence White Paper stated that it could not be assumed the United States would automatically assist Australia in the event of a significant threat or attack. The Government believed:

... if Australia were attacked, the United States would provide substantial help, including with armed force.... But we will not depend on it to the extent of assuming that US combat forces would be provided to make up for any deficiencies in our capabilities to defend our territory.[276]

The 2000 Defence White Paper emphasised the need for a domestic capability to defend Australia and to provide a more structured approach to defence, setting out five strategic objectives, allocated in the following order of priority:[277]

  • ensuring the ‘defence of Australia and its direct approaches’[278]
  • fostering the security of our immediate neighbourhood in which some countries ‘face large economic and structural challenges’[279]
  • working with regional states ‘to promote stability and cooperation in South East Asia’[280]
  • contributing to the maintenance of ‘strategic stability in the wider Asia-Pacific region’[281] and
  • contributing to ‘the efforts of the international community, especially the United Nations’, in maintaining global peace and security.

Under what was termed the ‘concentric circle’ perspective, Australia recognised that it had ‘strategic interests and objectives at the global and regional levels’ but that the allocation of effort would need to be carefully and selectively distributed.[282] Australia would also ‘continue to support the United States in the major role it plays in maintaining and strengthening the global security order’.[283]

Another of the Government’s objectives was the maintenance of ready frontline forces. The 2000 Defence White Paper envisaged the Army having the capacity to simultaneously sustain multiple operations, including through the expansion of the ‘number of infantry battalions at high readiness from four to six’.[284] This would ensure that the ADF would have the flexibility to engage in operations within Australia and overseas.[285]

For the first time, cyber security was mentioned in a defence white paper as a national security issue.[286] The 2000 Defence White Paper recognised the ‘new security challenge’ of cyber attacks against Australia’s critical information infrastructure and noted Defence’s role in contributing to the development of effective responses to such attacks.[287] Subsequently, the E-Security Initiative was launched in May 2001 as part of the Howard Government’s budget announcement on national security.[288] The initiative focused on safeguarding Australia’s critical information infrastructure that required a collaborative approach from the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, Defence Signals Directorate (now the Australian Signals Directorate—ASD), the Australian Federal Police and the Attorney-General’s Department to assess and deal with identified threats.

Industry for defence

The 2000 Defence White Paper dedicated nine pages to industry and reiterated the policy approach stated in the comprehensive 1998 Defence and industry strategic policy statement with few variations.[289] The Government’s focus was to ensure ‘a sustainable and competitive defence industry base, able to support a technologically-advanced ADF’ and called for ‘efficient, innovative and durable industries—and a close partnership between Defence and those industries’.[290]

The 2000 Defence White Paper departed from previous white paper terminology which had called for a self-reliant industrial base, but maintained that ‘Australia needs a specifically targeted set of capabilities’.[291] The specifically targeted capabilities included support for in-country ‘repair, maintenance, modification and provisioning’, most notably during wartime when vital supplies are most needed.[292]

Similar to the 1994 Defence White Paper, the 2000 iteration identified Priority Industry Capabilities that Defence needs for support. The list replicated the capabilities identified in the 1994 Defence White Paper, with the exception of the final dot point:

    • combat and systems software support
    • data management and signal processing, including for information gathering and surveillance
    • command, control and communications systems
    • systems integration
    • repair maintenance and upgrades of major weapons and surveillance platforms, and
    • provision of services to support the peacetime and operational requirements of the ADF.[293]

To achieve these Priority Industry Capabilities, closer relations between DSTO and industry were required so that the technologically advanced military force envisaged in the white paper could be developed and maintained. Additionally, emphasising softening of the language on self-reliance, the Government would ‘seek to make greater use of off-the-shelf purchases, especially where the additional capability from Australian-specific modifications does not justify the increased cost and risk’.[294]

The 2000 Defence White Paper pointedly states the Government’s position that it:

... will shape the environment, in which industry makes its decisions, but will not intervene and shape the market through subsidies and preconceived solutions. We will not limit ourselves to purchases from Australian industry, nor pay an unduly high premium for them.[295]

The paper acknowledged that some industrial consolidation had occurred but not to the levels experienced in the United States and Europe—the Australian experience saw larger companies absorbing smaller businesses rather than mergers between larger companies.[296]

The 2000 Defence White Paper promised to provide better guidance to industry on defence capability proposals through the release of the Defence Capability Plan (DCP). The DCP would include details about the Government’s proposed naval shipbuilding program, aviation systems and communications and information systems over a ten-year period.[297]

As part of the acquisition reform program, and to further improve Department of Defence’s relationship with industry, the Government announced a key reform which established the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) by consolidating the Defence Acquisition Organisation with Support Command Australia.[298] In addition, the Department of Defence established a unit to promote and monitor its relationship with industry and annually report progress to the Defence and Industry Advisory Council (DIAC).[299]

Defence Capability Plan

The 2000 Defence White Paper introduced the inaugural Defence Capability Plan: 2001–2010 (2001 DCP) to replace the Defence New Major Capital Equipment Proposals.[300] The 2001 DCP provided a ten-year outlook (as opposed to its predecessor’s five-year outlook) to better assist industry with future workforce and structural planning.[301] The 2001 DCP also aimed to encourage greater industry involvement in the capability development process. Specifically, the DCP allowed industry to:

    • obtain earlier information and guidance on Defence’s long-term capability plans
    • identify the skills, technology and infrastructure development requirements needed to support defence capability
    • identify opportunities for involvement in defence capability delivery and support
    • better understand Defence’s capability requirements and
    • provide meaningful contributions to Defence’s capability definition processes.[302]

The public version of the 2001 DCP was released in June 2001 and contained 88 capability proposals, including 165 phases, with an estimated expenditure worth $47 billion (in December 2000 prices) over the period of the DCP.[303] The Howard Government updated the DCP in 2004 and again in 2006, both with ten-year outlooks.[304]

Identified capability choices

The 2000 Defence White Paper considered Australia’s defence capabilities under five groupings—Land Forces, Air Combat, Maritime Forces, Strike, and Information Capability.[305] It was, however, reportedly constrained in its approach because, as Hugh White later recalled, Prime Minister Howard ‘himself directed that all capabilities then in the ADF were to be preserved and upgraded, without considering whether the resulting force would be cost effective’.[306]

To ensure the ADF would have the required equipment, the 2001 DCP set out more than two dozen capability enhancements with an estimated $13.7 billion in capital expenditure over the decade through to 2010–11.[307]

The Land Forces element of the ADF would now be structured to ‘meet a wider range of possible contingencies, both on Australian territory and beyond’.[308] The latter were, however, expected to be ‘contributions to lower intensity operations’.[309] The development of heavy armoured forces was specifically rejected as they ‘would be expensive, and are most unlikely to be needed in the defence of Australia or in our immediate region’.[310]

As stated earlier in the section on strategic objectives, for the Army to sustain simultaneous operations, with, for instance, a brigade on deployment for extended periods and at least one battalion group deployed elsewhere, the Regular Reserve forces would be required to shift their focus away from only providing partially trained personnel to the Army. Instead, the clear priority for Army Reserve units ‘will be to provide fully-trained personnel to our ready frontline forces deployed on operations’.[311] This strategy would also require the overall full-time ADF strength of 51,500 (year 2000 figures) to be increased to ‘about 54,000 full time personnel by 2010’.[312]

The Army’s strengthened posture would be bolstered by:

  • around 20–24 new Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters, entering service from 2004–05
  • an additional squadron of troop lift helicopters (12 to enter service from 2007) capable of operating from the RAN’s two troop ships, HMA Ships Manoora and Kanimbla
  • upgrading 350 of the M113 Armoured Personnel Carrier fleet (from 2005)
  • better personal equipment and weapons (from 2003)
  • air defence weapons to supplement the RBS-70 system (from 2005) and replacement of the Rapier system (from 2009)
  • 20 new mortar systems on light armoured vehicles (from 2006)
  • new surveillance systems from 2003 and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles from 2007 and
  • maintaining and investing in existing capabilities, such as field artillery.[313]

The initiatives detailed in the 2000 Defence White Paper constituted ‘the most significant enhancements to Army’s combat power in many years’.[314]

The air combat element proposed that four new Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft and up to five air-to-air refuelling aircraft (with ‘substantial’ air cargo capacity) would be in service by about 2006 with the possibility of the purchase of a further three ‘AEW&C later in the decade’.[315]

To forestall the F/A-18A/B Hornets from becoming outclassed over the coming decade, the 2000 Defence White Paper supported a continuation and expansion of the upgrade program to include (by 2007) advanced tactical data links, a helmet-mounted missile cueing system and structural upgrades.[316] In addition, it envisaged the acquisition of up to 100 new combat aircraft to replace both the F/A-18 and F-111 fighter aircraft, with the first aircraft expected to enter service in 2012.[317]

The maritime forces element proposals included:

  • upgrading the ANZAC Class frigates to provide anti-ship missile defences and Harpoon anti-ship missiles, to commence in 2001 and be completed by 2007[318]
  • a project beginning in 2005–06 for three new air-defence capable ships to replace the Guided Missile Frigates (FFGs), which were due to be decommissioned from 2013 (the Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyer program was initially approved in May 2005 [first pass approval] but was placed on the Projects of Concern list in June 2014 due to program delays and cost increases)[319]
  • replacement of the support ships HMAS Westralia in 2009 and HMAS Success in 2015
  • mid-life upgrade of the Seahawk helicopters, beginning in 2003
  • improved capability of the Collins Class submarines including new combat system to be installed from
    2005–06, new and more capable torpedoes (commencing 2002–03, completion 2006), and a program of ongoing upgrades and
  • from 2001, planning for the replacement of 15 Fremantle Class Patrol Boats to enter service from 2004–05.[320] (The first of the replacement Armidale Class Patrol Boats were commissioned into service in July 2006).[321]

The strike capabilities mentioned in the 2000 Defence White Paper were expected to provide the ADF with options to contribute to regional coalitions at acceptable levels of risk to crew and aircraft, even if ‘against more capable adversaries’.[322] The 2001 DCP envisaged Defence’s key strike platform, the F-111 fighter aircraft, remaining in service until ‘between 2015 and 2020’, but considered it unlikely that any suitable and comparable strike aircraft would be available at that time.[323] The RAAF’s F-111 aircraft was retired in December 2010 after 37 years of service.[324]

Cost of capability

In practical terms, the 2000 Defence White Paper identified more than two dozen capability enhancements, which were expected to cost $13.7 billion in capital expenditure over ten years within a total defence expenditure of $141 billion for that period (see Table 1 below).[325] Over the same period, personnel and operating costs associated with these enhanced capabilities were expected to reach $2.3 billion. This would result in a total of $16 billion over the decade specifically related to capability enhancement. A further $12.5 billion would be required each year for ‘maintenance of current capabilities’.[326]

The 2000 Defence White Paper took into account through-life costing estimates for the components of capability.

Table 1:  Total expected costs for decade 2001–02 to 2010–11

  Capability Total for decade
(year 2000 $ billion)
Expenditure item
Land forces
Air combat
Maritime forces
Information capability
Maintenance of current capabilities
Capital expenditure required for capability enhancements
Additional personnel & operating costs due to enhanced capability
TOTAL ($ billion)

Source: Department of Defence, Defence 2000: Our Future Defence Force, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, December 2000, pp. 84‑97.

Looking ahead to 2010–11, the Government estimated:

...defence spending will need to grow by an average of about three per cent per annum in real terms over the next decade. (Real spending is measured by reference to the GDP deflator.) The Government is committed to meeting this funding requirement, and it has directed Defence to plan within that budget. The Government intends that funding for 2001–02 and 2002–03 will increase by $500 million and $1,000 million respectively, to provide substantial initial funding for a number of key initiatives.[327]

According to the 2000 Defence White Paper, ‘defence spending in cash terms will stand at approximately $16 billion per year in today’s dollars’ by the end of the decade, compared to $12.2 billion for the year 2000.[328] However, by the time the 2000 Defence White Paper was released, this figure was out of date. Defence revenue from the Government for the year 1999–2000 was $15 billion; however, part of that increase was due to the commitment of the ADF in Timor Leste, which required additional funding.[329]

Alignment of cost, capability and strategic objectives

In contrast to previous defence white papers, the 2000 Defence White Paper set out and linked strategic priorities to the subsequent capability requirements, and then attached them to a long-term program to fund the necessary acquisitions and enhancements. In addition, the Government retained flexibility to vary the list of projected enhancements, promising ‘any alternative, more cost-effective means of achieving the desired capability result will be considered before final government approval for specific projects’.[330]

Nevertheless, the content of the 2000 Defence White Paper raised questions about the Government’s funding model, the relevance of specific capabilities to achieving strategic objectives, the adequacy of certain capabilities and the level of confidence in whether some capabilities could actually be delivered. As the Secretary of the Department of Defence, Alan Hawke, pointed out, the 2001 DCP represented a mindset change from ‘one where proponents say “this is what we want—give us the money”; to one where we say “this is the money available for this capability, how do we get the best possible result within the funding envelope”‘.[331]

These funding arrangements were, however, quickly challenged as potentially inadequate.[332] The Government had committed to increasing spending by three per cent per year in real terms, as measured by reference to the Non-Farm GDP Implicit Price Deflator.[333] This replaced the former ‘defence deflator’, a series of adjustments which reflected compensation for price and exchange fluctuations and different inflation measures that applied to individual components of the Defence budget producing, in general terms, a consolidated price indexation.[334] The latter approach recognised that not all costs would increase at the same rate, or necessarily in parallel with GDP. In general, military costs increased faster than the rate of inflation. For example, the cost of maintaining ageing aircraft was rising by seven per cent per year during the 2000 Defence White Paper’s ten-year timeframe, well ahead of the Government’s GDP growth prediction of approximately three per cent. [335] If the price of overseas-sourced assets rose faster than Australia’s GDP, or the exchange rate moved against the Australian dollar, then the GDP deflator would offer less protection to the defence budget than had the former defence deflator.[336]

Amphibious lift capability was to be maintained ‘at its present level of three major ships’.[337] This undertaking glossed over the fact that, at the time of the INTERFET deployment to Timor Leste, the existing three ship sealift capability proved to be inadequate. There was, according to David Stevens of the Sea Power Centre:

[a] most significant shortfall... in heavy sealift, due in part to delays in modernising two Newport class amphibious transports purchased from the US Navy in 1994 [HMA Ships Kanimbla and Manoora]. This left available only the heavy lift ship HMAS Tobruk, which was itself long overdue for an extended maintenance period. [338]

In this case there was a notional capability, but inadequate capacity in practice. The inoperability of two-thirds of the major transports was remedied by chartering a civilian fast wave-piercing catamaran.[339] For future ‘substantial’ contingencies, again according to David Stevens, ‘additional sealift capacity would still be needed and must either come from other Coalition partners or involve further short-notice commercial charters’.[340]

Increasing the ADF personnel strength from 51,500 to 54,000 over the decade was acknowledged as a ‘challenge’ in the 2000 Defence White Paper, particularly in light of a 25 per cent shortfall in recruiting.[341] In addition, as military historian Peter Charlton pointed out:

... at the height of the Vietnam conflict... Australia maintained in Phuoc Tuy province a task force of three battalions—slightly more than a [deployable] brigade as envisaged in this White Paper. This was achieved by conscription, and by having nine battalions on the order of battle. This White Paper plans for six battalion groups.[342]

Despite these issues, Paul Dibb characterised it as ‘arguably the best Defence White Paper Australia has produced’.[343]

According to the ASPI defence budget brief in 2009–10, the commitment to increase defence spending by three per cent per annum over a decade was ‘more than achieved’.[344] Included in this apparent overall growth, however, was the supplementation provided for ADF deployments and for unscheduled acquisitions, such as the C-17 Globemaster aircraft, but according to ASPI ‘it is difficult to give a definitive figure for the value of additional funds provided post-2000’.[345]

Despite maintaining funding commitments, by the eve of the next white paper in 2009, the delivery of new or upgraded equipment that had been envisaged in the 2000 Defence White Paper was ‘slower than anticipated’.[346] This was due to shifts in strategic priorities (such as the purchase of the Abrams main battle tank, an acquisition not envisaged by the 2000 Defence White Paper or the 2001 DCP), the refining of projects that then required re-approval by the Government, a lack of personnel, etc.[347] The following table summarises the fate of some of the major capabilities which were expected by 2009–10.

Table 2: 2000 Defence White Paper—major capability delivery delays

Project Planned delivery date
  Original Expected (at May 2009)
Armed reconnaissance helicopters 2004–05 2010
Multi-role helicopters 2007 2010
Air defence command and control 2003 2009–10
Air refuelling capability 2006 2010
Global Hawk—unmanned reconnaissance 2007 post-2015
Artillery replacement 2008 to 2010 2011–13
New heavyweight torpedo 2006 unknown

Source: M Thomson, The Cost of Defence: ASPI Defence Budget Brief 2009–2010, Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Canberra, 2009, p. 93.


[241].      Australian Government, Defence 2000: our future defence force (2000 Defence White Paper), White paper, December 2000, accessed 13 January 2015, p. vii; J Howard, ‘Ministerial statements: Defence 2000—our future defence force‘, House of Representatives, Debates, 6 December 2000, accessed 13 January 2015.

[242].      The Defence Capability Plan (DCP) replaced previous iterations of the Defence New Capital Equipment Proposals (the Pink Book) which traditionally spanned five-year periods—2000 Defence White Paper, ibid., p. v and p. 77; Australian Government, Defence capability plan 2001–2010 (Public version), Department of Defence, Canberra, 2001, accessed 13 January 2015.

[243].      K Beazley, ‘Ministerial statements: Defence 2000: our future defence force’, op. cit., a similar statement was made by S Martin (Shadow Minister for Defence), Defence white paper 2000—new policy for new times?, Australian Defence Studies Centre Forum, Canberra, speech, 12 December 2000, accessed 13 January 2015.

[244].      Australian Government, Future directions for the management of Australia’s Defence: report of the defence efficiency review, Department of Defence, Canberra, March 1997, accessed 13 January 2015.

[245].      Ibid., p. i.

[246].      Ibid., p. 6.

[247].      Ibid.

[248].      Ibid., Annex C.

[249].      I McLachlan (Minister for Defence), Defence reform program, media release, 11 April 1997, accessed 13 January 2015.

[250].      Commonwealth of Australia, Defence annual report 1996–1997, Department of Defence, Canberra, 1997, p. 12.

[251].      Commonwealth of Australia, Defence annual report 1999–2000, Department of Defence, Canberra, 2000, p. 6, accessed 13 January 2015.

[252].      Commonwealth of Australia, Defence annual report 2000–2001, Department of Defence, Canberra, 2001, p. 3, accessed 13 January 2015.

[253].      Commonwealth of Australia, Future directions for the management of Australia’s defence, op. cit., Annex E-1.

[254].      Commonwealth of Australia, Australia’s strategic policy, Department of Defence, Canberra, 1997, accessed 13 January 2015; I McLachlan, ‘Ministerial statements: Australia’s strategic policy‘, House of Representatives, Debates , 2 December 1997, accessed 13 January 2015.

[255].      P La Franchi, ‘Strategic review under way’, Australian Defence News, 9(48), 2 December 1996.

[256].      Commonwealth of Australia, Australia’s strategic policy, op. cit., p. 3; A Downer (Minister for Foreign Affairs) and T Fischer (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade), Foreign and trade policy white paper, media release, 28 August 1997, accessed 13 January 2015.

[257].      Commonwealth of Australia, Australia’s strategic policy (1997), op. cit., pp. 9–10.

[258].      Ibid., p. 29.

[259].      Ibid., p. 36.

[260].      Ibid., p. 51.

[261].      Ibid., p. 38.

[262].      Ibid., p. 51.

[263].      Department of Defence, Defence review 2000 – our future defence force: a public discussion paper, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, June 2000, p. v, accessed 13 January 2015.

[264].      Ibid., p. 1.

[265].      Commonwealth of Australia, Australia’s strategic policy (1997), op. cit., p. 22.

[266].      Australian War Memorial, Australians and peacekeeping, website, accessed 13 January 2015.

[267].      C Fernandes, ‘The road to INTERFET: bringing the politics back in‘, Security Challenges, 4(3), September 2008, pp. 95–96, accessed 13 January 2015; ANAO,  Management of Australian Defence Force deployments to East Timor: Department of Defence, op. cit., pp. 12–13 and 16, accessed 13 January 2015.

[268].      D Stevens, ‘Strength through diversity: the combined naval role in Operation Stabilise‘, Sea Power Centre—Australia, Working paper, 20, 2007, p. 3, accessed 13 January 2015.

[269].      Commonwealth of Australia, Defence annual report 1999–2000, op. cit., p. 8.

[270].      2000 Defence White Paper, op. cit., p. 2.

[271].      J Moore (Minister for Defence), Community consultation team report released, media release, 9 November 2000, accessed 13 January 2015.

[272].      Ibid.

[273].      Community Consultation Team, Australian perspectives on defence: report of the community consultation team, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, September 2000, accessed 13 January 2015.

[274].      2000 Defence White Paper, op. cit., p. xi.

[275].      Ibid., p. xi.

[276].      Ibid., pp. 35–36.

[277].      Ibid., p. x.

[278].      Ibid.—’Direct approaches’ includes land and sea approaches (pp. xi and 30) and, by reference to ‘hostile lodgement in our approaches’ (p. 47), also implies inclusion of land in the maritime approaches. There is also reference to ‘extended’ air and sea approaches in the context of submarine deployment (pp. xiv, 88 and 95), air cover for the Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands (pp. 84–85), and surveillance (p. 95).

[279].      Ibid.—’Immediate neighbourhood’ includes Indonesia, East Timor, Papua New Guinea, the island states of the Southwest Pacific and New Zealand, pp. ix, xi and 20.

[280].      Ibid.—’South East Asia’ includes Singapore and Malaysia (through the Five Power Defence Agreements between Australia and those two countries and the United Kingdom and New Zealand) and at least the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Brunei, (pp. 17–18 and 40–41).

[281].      Ibid.—’Wider Asia-Pacific region’ includes at least the USA through ANZUS (p. 34), Japan (p. 37), China, Russia, India, South Korea (p. 38), and Thailand and the Philippines (p. 35), with the area also affected by the nature of the relationships between China, Japan, India, Russia and the United States (pp. ix and 17–19). Note that other definitions of the Asia-Pacific generally include the entire Pacific rim, South East and East Asia, and sometimes South Asia.

[282].      R Lyon, ‘Assessing the defence update 2007‘, Policy Analysis, Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Canberra, 10 September 2007, p. 2 and p. x, accessed 13 January 2015.

[283].      2000 Defence White Paper, op. cit., p. 32.

[284].      Ibid., p. 80.

[285].      Ibid.

[286].      Ibid., pp. viii, 12–13.

[287].      Ibid., p. 12.

[288].      D Williams (Attorney-General), E-Security initiative: protecting the national information infrastructure, media release, 22 May 2001, accessed 13 January 2015.

[289].      2000 Defence White Paper, op. cit., pp. 98–106; Commonwealth of Australia, Defence and industry: strategic policy statement, Department of Defence, June 1998, p. iii [available from Library Catalogue].

[290].      2000 Defence White Paper, ibid., p. 99.

[291].      Ibid., p. 99.

[292].      Ibid., p. 99.

[293].      Ibid., pp. 99–100.

[294].      Ibid., p. 100.

[295].      Ibid., p. 101.

[296].      Ibid., p. 102.

[297].      Ibid., pp. 103–104.

[298].      Ibid., p. 105.

[299].      Ibid., p. 106.

[300].      Department of Defence, Defence New Major Capital Equipment Proposals  1995-1999 (The Pink Book), Defence, Canberra, 1995.

[301].      Department of Defence, Defence capability plan 2001–2010, op. cit.

[302].      Ibid., p. i.

[303].      Ibid., p. iv; P Reith (Minister for Defence), Historic defence capability plan 2001–2010, media release, 26 June 2001, accessed 13 January 2015.

[304].      Department of Defence, Defence capability plan 2004–2014, Canberra, 2004; Department of Defence, Defence capability plan 2006–2016, Canberra, 2006, accessed 13 January 2015.

[305].      Defence capability plan 2006-2016, op. cit. p. iv.

[306].      H White, ‘The new defence white paper: why we need it, and what it needs to do’, op. cit.

[307].      2000 Defence White Paper, op. cit., pp. 77–97.

[308].      Ibid., p. 79.

[309].      Ibid., p. 52.

[310].      Ibid., p. 79.

[311].      Ibid., p. 82.

[312].      Ibid., p. xii.

[313].      Ibid., pp. 82–83.

[314].      Ibid., p. 83.

[315].      Ibid., pp. 86–87.

[316].      Ibid., p. 86.

[317].      Ibid., p. 87.

[318].      Ibid., p. 89.

[319].      D Watt, Air warfare destroyer program, Research paper series, 2014–15, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 10 November 2014, accessed 13 January 2015.

[320].      Ibid., pp. 89–91.

[321].      RAN, ‘Patrol boats‘, op. cit.

[322].      2000 Defence White Paper, op. cit., p. 92.

[323].      Department of Defence, Defence capability plan 2001–2010, op. cit., pp. 37–38; ibid., p. 93.

[324].      J Clare (Minister for Defence Materiel), Retired ‘pigs’ get a new home, media release, 4 October 2012, accessed 13 January 2015.

[325].      2000 Defence White Paper, op. cit., pp. 77–97.

[326].      Ibid., pp. 84–97.

[327].      Ibid., p. 117.

[328].      Ibid.

[329].      Australian Government, Portfolio additional estimates statements 1999–2000: Defence Portfolio, p. 6.

[330].      2000 Defence White Paper, op. cit., p. 57.

[331].      A Hawke (Secretary, Department of Defence), One year on, Defence Watch Seminar, National Press Club, speech, Canberra, 27 February 2001, accessed 13 January 2015.

[332].      S Martin (Shadow Minister for Defence), Defence white paper 2000: new policy for new times, Australian Defence Studies Centre Forum, speech, Canberra, 12 December 2000, accessed 13 January 2015.

[333].      2000 Defence White Paper, op. cit., p. 117.

[334].      The shift to the Non-Farm GDP Implicit Price Deflator in 2000 is described in:  Australian Government, Defending Australia in the Asia Pacific century: force 2030 (2009 Defence White Paper), White paper, May 2009, p. 137, accessed 13 January 2015; Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, Funding Australia’s defence, Parliament of Australia, Canberra, May 1998  p. 11, accessed 13 January 2015.

[335].      P Barratt, ‘Farewell to arms unless more is spent‘, The Sydney Morning Herald, 7 December 2000, accessed 13 January 2015; 2000 Defence White Paper, op. cit., p. 118.

[336].      2000 Defence White Paper, op. cit., p. 118.

[337].      2000 Defence White Paper, ibid., p. 84.

[338].      D Stevens, ‘Strength through diversity: the combined naval role in Operation Stabilise’, op. cit.

[339].      Ibid., p. 10.

[340].      Ibid.

[341].      2000 Defence White Paper, op. cit., p. 62.

[342].      P Charlton, ‘Shot in the arm‘, The Courier Mail, 7 December 2000, accessed 13 January 2015.

[343].      P Dibb,’Defence paper is evolutionary‘, Australian Financial Review, 7 December 2000, accessed 13 January 2015.

[344].      M Thomson, The cost of defence: ASPI defence budget brief 2009–2010, Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Canberra, 2009, p. 21, accessed 13 January 2015.

[345].      Ibid., pp. 98 and 145–146.

[346].      Ibid., pp. 92–93.

[347].      Ibid.


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