‘An incomplete project’: Australians’ view of the US Alliance

13 December 2022

In the 2020 Defence Strategic Update, the Coalition government warned that Australia’s region ‘is in the midst of the most consequential strategic realignment since the Second World War.’ The commissioning in August 2022 of a Defence Strategic Review by the Albanese Government ‘to ensure Defence has the right capabilities to meet our growing strategic needs’ confirms that the pessimistic assessments of the 2020 Defence Strategic Update have, if anything, hardened since 2020.

As Australia adapts to an altered security landscape, it is more important than ever to understand views and access ideas from across the nation on how strategic policy can and should evolve.The Alliance with the United States remains the single most important element in Australia’s approach to managing strategic change in the Indo-Pacific. While there is an active debate among Australia’s expert foreign policy and defence communities about the future of Alliance cooperation, much less is known about the views of Australians who are not professionally engaged in these issues.

With this in mind, four leading experts undertook a project to gather perspectives from Australians drawn from all of the nation’s states and territories through an extensive national consultation process.

The authors of the projects are,

Professor Stephan Frühling from the ANU Strategic and Defence Studies Centre. Professor Frühling has published widely on Australian defence policy, defence planning and strategy, nuclear weapons and NATO.

Professor Andrew O’Neil, Acting Dean of the Graduate Research School, Griffith University. Before entering academia, Professor O’Neil worked as an intelligence analyst in Australia’s Defence Department.

Professor Caitlin Byrne, Professor and Pro-Vice Chancellor of the Business School, Griffith University. Professor Byrne began her career as a diplomat with the Australian Government and has held several leadership roles in government, industry and community.

Professor Peter Dean, Director, Foreign Policy and Defence at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. Professor Dean has an extensive background in military and defence studies and has been a Fulbright Fellow and Endeavour Research Scholar in Australia-United States Alliance Studies.

You can find out more about the project findings, workshops and survey details here.

Project launch event

On Monday 5 December, Professors O’Neil, Byrne and Dean held a launch of their report at the National Press Club of Australia. They were joined by Hayley Channer and Professor George Brandis, who provided their insight into the findings of the project.

Download the report here.


Watch a recording of Professors Stephan Frühling, Andrew O’Neil and Caitlin Byrne discussing the project with Dr Scott Blakemore from Griffith University.

Published article

Read the authors’ reflections on the project for Lowy Institute’s online publication The Interpreter.

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