The future is uncertain but not completely. A major certainty is that, as in earlier times, Australia will fight its future wars with a mobilised defence force and not the current peacetime, business-as-usual one.  Today’s armed force is at best a core, only partly related to the wartime mobilised force. Ukraine and Russia now both understand this very well.  

Importantly, the new Strategic Defence Review also understands. Its’ terms of reference declare the review “must outline the investments required to support Defence… mobilisation needs to 2032–33.” This push is made more urgent given that geostrategic change is accelerating and Australia can no longer plan on an extended lead-time to prepare for conflict.

Mobilisation involves purposefully using a society’s resources to support achieving national objectives in time of war, crisis or disaster. In the case of war, mobilisation will usually focus on enhancing the nation’s defence forces including increasing their capabilities, size and ability to generate higher activity levels. The additional workforce, money and material needed for these changes to the armed forces generally comes from the civil sector of society.

Mobilisation consciously shifts the boundary between the defence and civil sectors in favour of the former. The amount the boundary shifts varies with the context. 

Please click here to read the full “Designing Australia’s next defence mobilisation” article published at Australian Defence Magazine, written by Griffith Asia Institute Visiting Fellow, Dr Peter Layton.