Australia's strategic culture: constraints and opportunities in security policymaking

Alex Burns, Ben Eltham

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Otherpeer-review

Abstract

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 Asia-Pacific 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 Asia-Pacific strategic cultures in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStrategic Cultures and Security Policies in the Asia-Pacific
EditorsJeffrey S. Lantis
Place of PublicationAbingdon UK
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Chapter2
Pages22-45
Number of pages24
Edition1st
ISBN (Electronic)9781317554219
ISBN (Print)9781138841444
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes

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