CANBERRA, Australia (AP) -- Australia needs to spend more money on defense, make its own munitions and develop the ability to strike longer-range targets as China's military buildup challenges regional security, according to a government-commissioned review released Monday.
The Defense Strategic Review is in support of the AUKUS partnership, which was announced by Australia, United States, and Britain on March 1st, to build an Australian fleet consisting of eight subs using U.S. nuclear technologies.
The Prime Minister Anthony Albanese stated that his government had commissioned a review to determine whether Australia possessed the defense capability, posture, and readiness to defend itself within the current strategic environment.
Albanese stated in a press release that he supported the strategic direction of the review and the key findings, which would strengthen our national security, and make us more prepared for the future.
The classified version of the review, which was made public, recommended that Australia spend more than its current defense expenditure of 2% on the gross domestic product. It also suggested improving the ability of the Australian Defense Force to accurately strike targets at greater distances and making munitions in Australia.
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The report also recommends that the Australian Defence Force be able to operate out of its northern bases, and that defense partnerships are strengthened with important partners in the Indo-Pacific area including India and Japan.
The review stated that China's military buildup is now the biggest and most ambitious since the end World War II. The review said that the buildup "is taking place without any transparency or assurance to the Indo-Pacific Region of China's strategy."
Former Australian Defense Force Chief Angus Houston, and former Defense Minister Stephen Smith wrote the review that the strategic circumstances in the current review are "radically different" from those of the past.
It said that the United States, Australia’s most important defense partner, was "no longer the leader unipolar of the Indo-Pacific," a region which had witnessed the return of strategic competition between major powers.
The review stated that 'as a result, for the very first time in over 80 years, we have to go back to basics, and take a first principles approach to managing and avoiding the greatest level of strategic risks we face today as a country: the possibility of a major conflict in the area, which directly threatens our nation's interest'.
Australia's defence policy has been focused on deterring and responding against low-level threats posed by small- or middle-power neighboring countries for the last five decades.
The review stated that 'this approach is no longer suitable for its intended purpose'.
The Australian army, airforce and navy should abandon their pursuit of a 'perfect solution or process' when it comes to procurement, and instead focus on delivering 'timely and relevant capability'.