This article draws on fourth generation strategic culture debates to show the gap between the rhetoric of Australian defence and the more modest reality. Our analysis shows that these limits derive from tensions between national strategic culture and organizational strategic subcultures. There are serious debates in the nation regarding the preferred course of the Australian military and security policy. This article frames these debates by examining the keepers of Australia s national strategic culture, the existence of several competing strategic subcultures, and the importance of norm entrepreneurs in changing defence and national security thinking. Strategic subcultures foster compartmentalization, constraints, and bureaucratic silos that narrow national conceptions of security threats and opportunities, and impinge on the formation of coherent foreign and defence policy in relation to the AsiaPacific region. This analysis shows that a distinct national strategic culture and organizational strategic subcultures endure beyond individual governments, placing potential limits on Australia s interface with other AsiaPacific strategic cultures in the future. (c) 2014 (c) 2014 Taylor Francis.