ASPI suggests
24 Jan 2014|

The war room, from Dr Strangelove

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the strategy cult classic film by Stanley Kubrick, ‘Dr Strangelove or: how I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb’. Over at The New Yorker, Eric Schlosser looks at why almost everything in Dr Strangelove, with its farcical take on nuclear security and war, was true.

The Indonesian President is set to overhaul TNI’s structure with the formation of multi-service groups with Army, Navy and Air Force assets positioned at potential flashpoints, according to The Jakarta Post (see below). Aimed at ‘foreign threats’, the overhaul intends for a more flexible force as ‘Each group’s commander, a three-star general, will be given the authority to respond without having to go through the red tape at the TNI headquarters in Jakarta’. More details here.

TNI's new plans

Earlier this week Foreign Minister Julie Bishop spoke in Washington on the ANZUS alliance in an emerging Asia. Drawing on the importance of US–Australia strategic ties during WWII, Bishop said ‘we should never be backward in protecting and promoting the regional benefits of this alliance’. Bishop also labelled Edward Snowden ‘no hero’, saying he ‘continues to shamefully betray his nation while skulking in Russia’. Full transcript available here.

It’s the time of year when there’s enough time for arguing about ‘best of’ lists. The National Interest has just published its ‘Five best submarines of all time‘ list. Few arguments to be had there, but at least the Strategist’s executive editor didn’t require sedation after this one—which is more than can be said for their previous ‘Top five fighter aircraft of all time‘ which left out the Fokker DVII and the F-4 Phantom and included the ‘couldabeen’ Me 262  (although he did like the description of the F6F Hellcat as ‘the Honda Accord of the fighter world’).

How did we go from codenames like Operation Overlord (aka the invasion of Normandy in WWII) and Operation Eagle Claw in 1980 during the Iran hostage crisis, to Operation Anode (ADF deployment to Solomon Islands) and Operation Slipper (ADF in Afghanistan)? If you were wondering why certain codenames are chosen, according to this Canberra Times article, they’re picked by a random word generator to ‘remove any ability to derive the type, purpose or target of the operation from the actual codeword assigned to an operation’.

Could 25% of the US military be replaced by robots? This Breaking Defense piece looks at the future of robotic warfare (which includes R2-D2s and ‘bird dogs’) for the US.

Lastly, it’s claimed (not entirely seriously) that a Pentagon study has found that beards are directly related to combat effectiveness (via The Duffel Bag).

Natalie Sambhi is an analyst at ASPI and editor of The Strategist (welcome back, Andrew!). Image courtesy of Flickr user van Van Es.