Tough defence decisions lie ahead for the Australian Government, which has committed to producing a new Defence White Paper in 2013. In the interests of an open and constructive discussion of these issues of critical national importance, the Lowy Institute is today introducing a new blog feature, Australia's Defence Challenges.

This feature, supported by the Australian Department of Defence, will explore Australia's defence challenges as the 2013 Defence White Paper planning process begins. Discussion will range across the spectrum of questions facing Australia's defence policymakers. We will focus especially on these four themes:

  • Strategic environment: what are the challenges, threats, risks and contingencies the Australian Defence Force may have to face between now and 2035?
  • The future of the Australian Defence Force: what capabilities will Australia need and what are the challenges inherent in preparing for uncertainty with constrained resources?
  • Defence and diplomacy: what are the opportunities and limits of defence engagement with other nations, not only our ally the US but also partners and neighbours?
  • What Australia thinks: what are the views in the wider community, including the business community?

There will be contributions from Lowy Institute researchers and external experts alike. We would welcome a selection of readers' thoughts too. Please submit your contributions to our blog editor Sam Roggeveen (blogeditor@lowyinstitute.org), who will oversee this project in partnership with James Brown and me at the Lowy Institute's International Security Program. Also, look out for our accompanying tweets using the hashtag #ausdef, and don't forget to add that hashtag if you would like to get involved.

In our next post, James will set the scene on choices ahead for Australia's military strategy.