Low level conflict contingencies and Australian defence policy

Author/s (editor/s):

Tony Godfrey-Smith

Publication year:


Publication type:

Policy paper

Canberra Papers on Strategy and Defence No. 34

This monograph examines low-level conflict in two contexts:

  1. The incidence and nature of low-level conflict since 1945 and its relevance to Australia's strategic environment; and
  2. the role and perceptions of low-level conflict contingencies in Australian defence policy.

The paper concludes that low level contingencies are relevant to Australia's strategic environment, but that assessments of these contingencies have tended to focus on the tactics that might be employed at the expense of the possible origins of conflict, the motives and objectives of potential aggressors, and the political-context in which such contingencies might arise. Low level contingencies however, do not in themselves constitute a threat of sufficient magnitude to provide the focus as present lacking in Australia's defence posture and the role of the Australian defence forces. 

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