National mobilisation, the purposeful use of society’s resources to defend Australia and its interests, has been prominent in the managing of the 2020 pandemic. A deep analysis of this is a post-COVID-19 task but some matters relevant to thinking about future defence national mobilisations are already evident explains Griffith University’s Dr Peter Layton.

The main angst seems supply chain fragility. Businesses have honed down global supply chains to achieve highly efficient, just-in-time deliveries rather than building large just-in-time stockholdings. This approach worked well until this particular disruption that, in encompassing the world, means there are no last resort, fallback suppliers.

Such an event makes it difficult arguing the problem is simply China. There is a good rationale for diversifying supply chains to include other countries as well as China to enhance robustness.

This will help managing future regional supply disruptions but COVID-19 is well beyond that. For example, America has both stopped medical exports to Canada and acted internationally to divert medical supplies from reaching NATO allies. In this situation, diversified supply chains are not the solution and maybe not ‘trusted’ ones either. This dilemma makes the ADF’s international supply chains distinctly problematic.

Please click here to read the full “Op-Ed: Future Defence national mobilisations and COVID-19” article originally published at Defence Connect written by Griffith Asia Institute Visiting Fellow, Peter Layton