A Strategic Reformation: Change and Stability in Post-11 September Australian Strategic Policy

Hirst, Christian (2007). A Strategic Reformation: Change and Stability in Post-11 September Australian Strategic Policy PhD Thesis, School of Political Science and International Studies , University of Queensland.

       
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Author Hirst, Christian
Thesis Title A Strategic Reformation: Change and Stability in Post-11 September Australian Strategic Policy
School, Centre or Institute School of Political Science and International Studies
Institution University of Queensland
Publication date 2007
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Dr Carl Ungerer
Abstract/Summary The purpose of this thesis is to determine if the central paradigmatic assumptions that shaped Australian strategic policy prior to the 11 September (S11) terrorist attacks on the United States shifted over the four years between S11 and the end of 2005. To this point, the debate surrounding Australia’s strategic posture has not been informed by a rigorous and independent investigation into the post-S11 trajectory of Australian strategic policy. The core question this study will seek to answer is: has S11 produced a paradigm shift in Australian strategic policy? Methodologically, this study is presented as a single case study of intrinsic importance. Although the study has a narrative quality, it is essentially an investigation into Australia’s policy response to S11. The case study method will be employed primarily to deepen academics’ and policymakers’ understanding of what has been a crucial era in the history of Australian strategic policy. As such, the most appropriate theoretical approach is that of Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA). Unlike other theoretical paradigms, FPA does not seek to limit the range of actors or factors considered in the analysis of policy action. It is this flexibility and FPA’s ability to allow for thick and rich descriptions of the factors affecting a state’s policy trajectory that endear it most to this study. The study has found that, as a result of the perceptual shock of S11 and the subsequent efforts of key political and bureaucratic actors, the Australian government’s formalised view of the security environment has transformed and its perceptions of the role and utility of Australia’s Defence Force (ADF) and the United States alliance have changed in important ways. Despite this, budgetary, political and cognitive stabilisers have prevented the formal enunciation of new post-S11 strategic posture. Despite claims to the contrary made by senior members of Australia’s strategic policy community, this study shows that there is little doubt that the worldview underpinning the Australian government’s approach to strategic policy in late 2005 was significantly different from that which shaped Defence 2000, the government’s last formal expression of strategic doctrine prior to S11. Such a change is indicative of a paradigm shift. While no new coherent strategic policy paradigm has yet taken the place of pre-S11 guidance, the strategic ideas and strategic actions of the Australian government between 11 September 2001 and the end of 2005, in the judgment of this study, are representative of the early stages of a major reformation in Australia’s strategic orientation.

 
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Created: Fri, 21 Nov 2008, 16:15:53 EST