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Niche Wars »

Australia in Afghanistan and Iraq, 2001–2014

Publication date: 2020
Australia invoked the ANZUS Alliance following the Al Qaeda attacks in the United States on 11 September 2001. But unlike the calls to arms at the onset of the world wars, Australia decided to make only carefully calibrated force contributions in support of the US-led coalition campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq. Why is this so? Niche Wars examines Australia’s experience on military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq from 2001 to 2014. These operations saw over 40 Australian soldiers killed and hundreds wounded. But the toll since has been greater. For Afghanistan and Iraq the costs are hard to measure. Why were these forces deployed? What role did Australia play in shaping the strategy and determining the outcome? How effective were they? Why is so little known about Australia’s involvement in these campaigns? What lessons can be learned from this experience? Niche Wars commences with a scene-setting overview of Australia’s military involvement in the Middle East over more than a century. It then draws on unique insights from many angles, across a spectrum of men and women, ranging from key Australian decision makers, practitioners and observers. The book includes a wide range of perspectives in chapters written by federal government ministers, departmental secretaries, service commanders, task force commanders, sailors, soldiers, airmen and women, international aid workers, diplomats, police, journalists, coalition observers and academics. Niche Wars makes for compelling reading but also stands as a reference work on how and why Australia became entangled in these conflicts that had devastating consequences. If lessons can be learned from history about how Australia uses its military forces, this book is where to find them.

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A Long Way to Go »

Irregular Migration Patterns, Processes, Drivers and Decision-making

Publication date: December 2017
A Long Way to Go: Irregular Migration Patterns, Processes, Drivers and Decision-making presents the findings of a unique migration research program harnessing work of some of the leading international and Australian migration researchers on the challenging and complex topic of irregular maritime migration. The book brings together selected findings of the research program, and in doing so it contributes to the ongoing academic and policy discourses by providing findings from rigorous quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods research to support a better understanding of the dynamics of irregular migration and their potential policy implications. Stemming from the 2012 Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers report, the Irregular Migration Research Program commissioned 26 international research projects involving 17 academic principal researchers, along with private sector specialist researchers, international organisations and policy think tanks. The centrepiece of the research program was a multi-year collaborative partnership between the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and The Australian National University’s Crawford School of Public Policy. Under this partnership, empirical research on international irregular migration was commissioned from migration researchers in Australia, Indonesia, Iran, the Netherlands, Sri Lanka and Switzerland.

Phoenix from the Ashes? »

Publication date: December 2009
The continued existence of the Russian defence and arms industry (OPK) was called into question following the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991. Industry experts cited the lack of a domestic market, endemic corruption, and excess capacity within the industry as factors underpinning its predicted demise. However, the industry’s export customers in China, India and Iran during those early years became the OPK’s saving grace. Their orders introduced hard currency back into the industry and went a long way to preventing the forecasted OPK collapse. Although pessimistic predictions continued to plague the OPK throughout the 1990s, the valuable export dollars provided the OPK the breathing space it needed to claw back its competitive advantage as an arms producer. That revival has been further underpinned by a new political commitment, various research and development initiatives, and the restoration of defence industry as a tool of Russian foreign policy. The short-term future of the Russian OPK looks promising. The rising domestic defence order is beginning to challenge the export market as the OPK’s most important customer. Meanwhile, exports will be safeguarded by continued foreign demand for niche Russian defence products. Although the long-term future of the OPK is more difficult to predict, Russia’s solid research and development foundation and successful international joint military ventures suggest that the current thriving trend in exports is likely to continue. Russia represents the next generation of affordable and rugged military equipment for the arsenals of the developing world. Coupled with Russia’s growing ability to rearm itself through higher oil prices and a more streamlined defence industry, the future of the OPK looks bright.