Land Forces 24 728x90 WEB 240202 01Last week saw the release of the Federal Budget, the Defence component of which has not received a lot of media attention, probably because the Integrated Investment Plan was released a fortnight earlier. But there were some gems, such as the data that the spend for acquiring nuclear-powered submarines will total $13.6 billion over the next four years. That’s before a single submarine is delivered. It is likely to include a gift of about $8 billion to US and UK industries.

There’s also the curious case of SEA 3000, the General Purpose Frigate project, which isn’t even mentioned. Speaking of which, the concept of Minimum Viable Capability and taking something “as is” from a parent shipyard looks flakier by the second. A few words about the conviction of whistleblower David McBride. The sentence looks harsh and will deter other whistleblowers – and Australia’s oppressive secrecy laws need to change.

To listen to the podcast, click here.


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Kym Bergmann
Kym Bergmann is the editor for Asia Pacific Defence Reporter (APDR) and Defence Review Asia (DRA). He has more than 25 years of experience in journalism and the defence industry. After graduating with honours from the Australian National University, he joined Capital 7 television, holding several positions including foreign news editor and chief political correspondent. During that time he also wrote for Business Review Weekly, undertaking analysis of various defence matters.After two years on the staff of a federal minister, he moved to the defence industry and held senior positions in several companies, including Blohm+Voss, Thales, Celsius and Saab. In 1997 he was one of two Australians selected for the Thomson CSF 'Preparation for Senior Management' MBA course. He has also worked as a consultant for a number of companies including Raytheon, Tenix and others. He has served on the boards of Thomson Sintra Pacific and Saab Pacific.


  1. This Podcast is now a must listen each week, it’s sadly the only place to get real analysis of the parlous state of Defence in Australia.

    Nuclear subs sucking the life out of the Defence budget? Check!
    Defence’s obsessive secrecy hurting proper public accountability? Check!
    Goat Rodeo really a shell game or sham? Check!
    (how could it not be with the replacement of the ANZAC class already decided in 2018, looks like we needed a 2nd competition to get that right, but without the first winner being changed at all. Pity the excellent FREMM class)
    Australian Defence slavishly beholden to the USA? Check!
    (Its not a protection racket honestly Gov)
    Punishing those who speak out about Defence issues, even very serious ones? Check!
    Severe issues with recruitment while having one of the highest Senior Officer to enlisted ratios in the world? Check!

    Pity my Country.

    And all of this during a period of the worst strategic environment in the world since the 1930’s.
    Peaking many say in about 2027, when we will be 2 ANZAC’s down from our current level (maybe 3), one of our subs will be in LOTE and an AWD will also be in refit.

    If this is not a deliberate attempt to destroy our Defence forces at a time of heightened strategic risk then I will be shocked.
    Shocked because that would mean this is the best thinking and planning that we, the Australian tax payer get from our Highly paid bureaucrats and Senior officers.


  2. Look at the ADF’s appalling treatment of the deceased Taipan crew’s families, its culture of incompetence, mismanagement and cover up of that multi billion scandal and countless others, its persecution – prosecution of war crime whistleblowers, its culture of inaction against sexual assault and bastardisation, its criminal neglect of veterans tortured by pstsd and Australian society blames youth laziness for anorexic ADF recruitment/retention rates.

  3. I actually look forward to these Podcast, as it’s the only source for Defence Information that isn’t censored by the DoD. A lot to take in but the Culture of Secrecy is the most alarming, in my view, and the thing that amazes me is , People think it’s a new thing ( a lot more than the single Gas Turbine story went on with ANZAC ) I’ve been distanced from the DoD and ADF for quite some time but I can tell you that even then everything was on a need to know basis and you don’t need to know, it’s the total blackout that is the concern. Surely it’s obvious that in a vacuum of information any theory will thrive ( that’s why these Podcasts and Publications are so very important). It’s high time the Government of the Day explain their decisions instead of the age old practice of “ We won’t convince them so let’s baffle them with Bullshit” . We might disagree with those decisions but we will at least understand why they were made ( Obviously some items will to sensitive but any half decent Politician can work with that) If a Government is sure of its stance on an subject, they should hav the guts to defend it without smoke and mirrors. As for the “Goat Rodeo”and AwfulKus, I’m convinced we’ll end up with the Constellation Class and Virginia Class (as I suspect was the plan all along) . Keep up the good work Kim, look forward to your next instalment.

    • Thanks Michael – I appreciate the feedback. There was a time when Ministers made statements to Parliament on important policy matters. It used to be the case that Defence would hold round table briefings for the media on important topics. Those days are long gone, unfortunately.

  4. Well at least Albo is going to get a new jet now.
    Good use of funds left over from cancelling purchases that would have helped with Australia’s defence.


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