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The Sea Power Centre - Australia (SPC–A) was established in the early 1990s to act as an autonomous research centre in order to foster and encourage development of maritime strategic thought by providing intellectual rigour to the public debate on maritime strategy and other maritime issues.

It began as the Maritime Studies Project in April 1990, evolving into the Maritime Studies Program in mid-1991. In January 2000 it became a directorate in the Navy Strategic Policy and Futures Branch in Navy Headquarters, and was renamed the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Sea Power Centre. The title was amended to the Sea Power Centre – Australia (SPC–A) in late 2002, and as of July 2010, it is part of the Capability Plans and Engagement Branch of Navy Strategic Command.

The mission of the SPC–A is:

  • to promote understanding of sea power and its application to the security of Australia's national interests.
  • to manage the development of RAN doctrine and facilitate its incorporation into Australian Defence Force (ADF) joint doctrine.
  • to contribute to regional engagement.
  • to contribute to the development of maritime strategic concepts, strategies, and force structure decisions.
  • to preserve, develop and promote Australian naval history.

The role of the SPC–A is to deliver maritime doctrine and concepts, historical studies and contemporary analysis in order to record the Navy’s past achievements, enhance the current Navy and shape the future maritime force. The SPC–A thus plays an important role in Navy’s capability development process.

In fulfilling its role the SPC–A undertakes the following tasks:

  • production of the RAN’s capstone documents in concepts and doctrine.
  • management of the development and promotion of Australian maritime doctrine:
    • ensuring it is consistent with ADF doctrine.
    • providing educational briefings and presentations to internal and external audiences as required.
  • management of the development of maritime concepts to assist in the making of informed decisions about force structure, doctrine, organisation, training, command and control, personnel, facilities and policy.
  • contributing to and coordinating Navy input to joint and other ADF doctrine and concepts.
  • preservation, development and promotion of Australian naval history.
  • contributing to the broader defence and public debate on maritime strategy and contemporary maritime issues
  • contributing to regional engagement through presentations to courses, conferences and other fora throughout the Indo-Pacific region on maritime strategic and naval issues as required.