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On IPAN and Tanter on our US bases

I have reposted earlier Richard Tanter on our US bases. Here is his latest analysis focussing on Des Ball’s pioneering research.

“The “Joint Facilities” revisited – Desmond Ball, democratic debate on security, and the human interest”.

But before that…Update: IPAN statement in Australian and here
TEN years ago this week, an unprecedented number of people marched through the streets of Brisbane, Sydney,Melbourne,Adelaide,Perth, Darwin and regional towns to oppose war in Iraq.

Remembering the many Australian military personnel who have since lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan, some of those protesters came together again this week to re-state their opposition to conflict, and call for a more independent and peaceful Australia.

On Friday over 300 citizens, academics and medical practitioners and more than 30 organisations from faith, trade unions, peace and community groups across Australia will join in a national campaign urging our leaders NOT to allow the build up of US military forces on Australian territory.

The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) is particularly concerned about growing tensions between China and Japan (supported by the US) in the East China Sea.

“The idea that China and Japan are slipping towards war over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands territorial conflict is deeply shocking,” said IPAN spokesman Professor Richard Tanter.

“How could the world’s second and third largest economies even consider the possibility of war over half a dozen uninhabitable islets?

“The Australian government needs to not only urge a negotiated solution to the dispute but also to avoid being drawn into support for military action by the most nationalist Japanese government in half a century.”

The urgency of the situation prompted former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser to publish an opinion piece last week (SMH 8 Feb) calling on Australia to remain independent and not to side with the US:

“It is time Australia started to have a mind of its own,’’ Mr Fraser wrote.
“We should not follow a superpower into war, merely because it wants us to, or because of ANZUS. There has been no conflict to which ANZUS has had any relevance whatsoever” “Great powers follow their own interest and not that of any other country.’’

Professor Tanter urged Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her Government to reconsider its commitment to allow the United States to expand its military presence in Darwin and Western Australia.

“Australia needs to stand firm, maintain its independence and make immediately clear its interest in a peaceful resolution in the East China Sea,” Prof Tanter said.

“To allow US forces to be stationed on Australian territory in ever increasing numbers while the dispute escalates is not in our interest: not now – not ever.

“Territorial disputes like this must only be solved peacefully, and by cooperative dialogue. Australia’s interest lies in a rule-based, peaceful international order points towards negotiation and arbitration.” Ends

And from COMMON DREAMS how millions protesting against the Iraq war made a difference

Now back to Tanter: An abridged, and earlier version is a chapter in the book edited by Brendan Taylor, Nicholas Farrelly and Sheryn Lee: Insurgent Intellectual: Essays in honour of Professor Desmond Ball, (ISEAS, December 2012)

From the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability

Special Report 2012 Extracts:

Introduction: Temper democratic, bias human.

Desmond Ball’s labours through four decades to elucidate the character of United States defence and intelligence facilities in Australia, to document the evidence, test the balance of benefits and dangers to both national security and human security, and then tell the story to his fellow Australians is unparalleled in Australian intellectual and political life, and I suspect on an international scale.

The dedication, often neglected, to the most famous and influential part of this work, A Suitable Piece of Real Estate: American Installations in Australia, was the call “for a sovereign Australia”.

We might best sum up the character of Ball’s work of a lifetime – or more precisely, this one, brightly coloured, thread of a multi-stranded body of work – by recalling the enduring watchwords of an earlier Australian nationalist, Joseph Furphy: “temper democratic, bias Australian”.1

Both elements are keys to understanding the animating force behind Ball’s work on the American installations in Australia2 – the concern for a fully and properly informed public as a prerequisite to democratic debate about the American bases, and the concern that Australians identify their country’s specific interests concerning the bases, citing Malcolm Fraser’s prescient but often ignored 1976 warning that the interests of the United States and the interests of Australia are not necessarily identical.”3

And yet, this is not enough, on either count. One might more properly say of Ball on the bases that the work is characterized by “Temper offensively democratic, bias human”. Ball’s anger is clear for those Australian officials and politicians who would hide the true nature of these military and intelligence bases behind unwarranted secrecy, unjustified discounting of risk, and willingness to traduce the fundamental civil rights of citizens in a democracy.

Later: A Suitable Piece of Real Estate opened with the central thrust of Ball’s work on the bases over four decades:

“American installations in Australia have always been the subjects of continued lack of candour on the part of the United States and of extraordinary secrecy, evasion and deception on the part of Australian governments.”10

The book intended to deal with the problems of

“exactly what American defence, scientific, communications and intelligence installations there are in Australia, and of establishing which of these have functions and missions of any strategic significance”.11

Seven years later, in the more closely argued A Base for Debate: The US Satellite Station at Nurrungar, Ball exemplified his argument on the need to understand the precise nature and function of each particular facility in order to assess its desirability strategically and politically.

Later: p11
In the year Ball published A Suitable Piece of Real Estate in Australia, he also published ‘Politics and Force Levels in the US’, his analysis of bureaucratic political factors in strategic missile decision-making in the Kennedy administration.25 Three years later Ball published the work that many would regard as his most influential strategic policy work – certainly the most significant for the global human interest – the densely argued 38 page inquiry on the question “Can Nuclear War Be Controlled?”26

Ball’s answer, coming at a time of confident American policy discussion of controlled and graduated nuclear escalation, was that, amongst other clearly significant factors, the “enormous” vulnerability of even hardened command and control systems (and accompanying communications links) is such that control of nuclear forces is likely to be lost early in even a limited nuclear exchange.27 With such a loss of control, an uncontrolled paroxysm of all-out attack was a likely outcome.

The vulnerability of facilities such as North West Cape, Pine Gap, and Nurrungar was not only a matter of great danger to Australia28, but also pointed to an endemic and fearful weakness in current US and Soviet planning for nuclear warfighting in the guise of the latest phase of “stable deterrence”. At a policy level, Ball concluded,

“Rather than devoting further resources to pursuing the chimera of controlled nuclear war, relatively more attention might be accorded to another means of satisfying the objectives that limited nuclear options are intended to meet. This is likely, in practice, to mean greater attention to the conditions of conventional deterrence.’

One stream of this work dealt with civil defence, which clearly was salient to the possibility of nuclear attacks on Pine Gap, Nurrungar and North West Cape.

This work concluded, inter alia, while attacks on these facilities would be very likely in the event of 13
nuclear war, other than those working at the facilities, the number of blast casualties in nearby towns would be “extremely low indeed”, and while fallout casualties could be substantial especially in Alice Springs and Adelaide, depending on the number, type and altitude of detonation, and the prevailing winds.35

More generally, Ball argued for a priority to be assigned to civil defence in general against the more immediate demands for resources for military defence, arguing for an “optimum balance” around a concept of total defence as a necessary condition of any effective defence policy:

Civil defence should be regarded, along with military, economic and psychological defences, as an essential element of a posture of ‘total defence’. Without a comprehensive strategic policy involving each of these elements it could prove very difficult and perhaps impossible for Australia to respond effectively to a major threat to its security.”36

It is perhaps this promising and creative aspect of Ball’s work on defence policy that has been most thoroughly ignored in the subsequent decades, as a more purely military approach dominated.

As a result of similar technical change, as well as shifting strategic concerns, North West Cape has gone from being a major and vital US communications base to an Australian-run base with only minor US interest, to once again being not only an important US communications base operated with Australia, but a new and vital element in American space war-fighting capacities.

Pine Gap has not only greatly expanded its primary signals intelligence function monitoring missile testing, but has expanded its secondary SIGINT role to include collection of signals intelligence vital for American conventional war-fighting in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in American-led global counter-terrorism activities.

In the past decade a new set of Australian facilities have been opened to the United States, a shift emblematic of much deeper and broader cooperation between Australian and American military forces, with plans for considerably more to come. Overall there may be fewer military and intelligence facilities in Australia to which the United States has significant access than in the 1970s, but their number has risen again after diminishing in the 1980s-1990s. Those that remain and those that have been added have considerably increased the importance of the Australian connection for the United States, and bring both renewed versions of old concerns, and new ones.

Space does not permit a comprehensive account of the reasons for this renewed US military and intelligence presence in Australia, but a list of the principal drivers would include:

• _deeper integration between US and Australian military and intelligence;

• _greater stress on ADF interoperability with US forces and an ADF niche role in US global planning and deployments;

• _the requirements for exploitation of opportunities provided by the “revolution in military affairs”;

• _the shift and proliferation of perceived threats deriving from regional dynamics, the post-9.11 focus on terrorism, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan;

p15  _the militarisation of space, and the consequent centrality of space assets to United States and even Australian security planning; and

• _the Obama administration’s Asia-Pacific pivot strategy to address the strategic implications of the rise of China.

These factors will be evident in a brief review of expanded US access to ADF facilities, and the transformation of existing arrangements.

3.1 The North Australian Range Complex and the Joint Combat Training Centre

The_most_prominent aspects_of_the_new_US_presence_in_Australia_ followed_the_announcement_in_November_2011_of_the_planned_rapid_ deployment_of_2,500_personnel_in_a Marine_Air-Ground_Task_Force_(MAGTF)_based_in_Darwin,_and_US_Air_Force_fighters_and_bombers_rotating_through_north_Australian_airfields.

The three main training locations for the MAGTF and the USAF elements will be the the_Bradshaw_Field Training Area (just a little smaller than Cyprus), the Mount Bundey Training Area near Humpty Doo and_the_3,000_sq._km._Delamere_Air_Weapons_Range_
southwest of Katherine, which together make up the ADF’s North Australian Range complex (NARC).

Details given: Please read read the original article in link above.

3.2 Communications integration and the Australian Defence Satellite Communications Ground Station 16

3.3 North West Cape: nuclear submarine communication and the militarisation of space 20
Naval communications
Australia and the Space Surveillance Network 21
Space surveillance radar 23
Space Surveillance Telescope 25

3.4 Pine Gap: the great expansion 26

3.5 Geospatial and imagery intelligence cooperation and integration 32

4. Asymmetrical cooperation and “the joint facilities”
4.1 ADF bases with US access
4.2 ADF/US military co-located
4.3 American bases, with Australian access

5. Re-visiting the grand bargain

6. The resistant centre: Pine Gap reassessed
6.1 Pine Gap as nuclear target
6.2 Pine Gap and conventional wars
6.3 Pine Gap: is there any alternative?

Intelligence and arms control verification

Location requirements
Bibliography 50
Attachment 1: Satellite antennas/radomes at Pine Gap, 2012. 56
Attachment 2: Pine Gap photo key, 2012 58
Attachment 3. Pine Gap – antennas/domes, personnel and Australian budget: parliamentary sources 59

from Richard Tanter
Tanter, Richard. “North by North West Cape: Eyes on China”, Austral Policy Forum 10-02A, (14 December 2010).
__________ “’Just in Case’: Extended Nuclear Deterrence in the Defense of Australia”, Pacific Focus, Vol. 26, No. 1 (April 2011).
__________ “After Obama–The New Joint Facilities. Arena Magazine, 117 (May 2012).
__________ “Complex Uncertainties in the Australian Hinge of the Pacific Pivot”, Nautilus Peace and Security Weekly Report (31 May 2012).
__________ “Standing upright there: the New Zealand path to a nuclear-free world”, Nautilus Institute, NAPSNet Policy Forum, 3 October 2012.
__________ “Australian Defence Satellite Communications Station, Geraldton”, Australian Defence Facilities, Australian Forces Abroad Briefing Book, Nautilus Institute
__________ Joint Australia-US Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap, Australian Defence Facilities, Australian Forces Abroad Briefing Book.
__________ and Peter Hayes, “Beyond the nuclear umbrella: re-thinking the theory and practice of


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