Publications

Current Publications

Title of Publication Summary
4th Royal Navy Squadron: Introduction of the Oberons In October 1959 the Defence Joint Planning Committee agreed to the introduction of a submarine force in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Australia subsequently ordered four Oberon class conventional submarines from the United Kingdom (UK). Along with building the new submarines, the UK would also train Australia’s new submariners to crew the vessels. However, more than just a simple building and training transaction, this represented the end of one chapter, and the start of another in the Royal Navy’s (RN) submarine relationship with the RAN.
An Australian vision of the Indo-Pacific - Through a Strategic and Maritime Lens An overview of the strategic narrative of the Indo-Pacific through the maritime and strategic lens.
Anchors on Skin - Tattoos and Tales from the Royal Australian Navy “Where tattoos were once seen as the sign of a sailor or a rebel, they are now widely socially accepted, traditional and tell a unique tale. Love them or hate them, the traditional skin art is fabric to our maritime culture. The reasons for being tattooed are as varied as navy’s men and women themselves. This book is dedicated our Navy shipmates that have endured the buzzing sound and pricking sensation of a tattoo gun for the sake of art, reflection and remembrance.” LCDR Will Singer, RAN
AUKUS and the Indo-Pacific: An Emerging Debate This report aims to understand the implications of AUKUS in the Indo-Pacific and what role, if any, Indo-Pacific states and ‘hedging’ will play in Australian and American foreign policy as they seek to contain growing threats to the region, including growing Chinese influence. It evaluates the Indo-Pacific from a broader perspective, discussing the potential implications of geopolitical strategic competition and AUKUS for the future of the region. Mr Jordan Thomas  
Australia and Germany: Commonalities and Challenges in the Maritime Domain Berlin and Canberra are separated by some 10,000 miles of oceans, continents, hemispheres as well as up to ten time zones. Despite the sheer distance, since 2012, marking the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations, both countries have been united in a strategic partnership via the Berlin-Canberra Declaration. Articulated in terms of strategic unity, the bilateral relationship stems from a mutual commitment “to an active foreign policy, which reflects their shared values and many common interests, and intend to strengthen cooperation [...]”.
Australian Maritime Doctrine (2010) Australian Maritime Doctrine is the RAN’s capstone work of doctrine, a guide to understanding the unique nature of the RAN’s contribution to Australia’s national security and how the Navy goes about its business.
Australian Maritime Logistics Doctrine The first edition of Australian Maritime Logistics Doctrine. Its purpose is to guide the ongoing development and assurance of maritime support capability.
Australian Maritime Operations (2017) Australian Maritime Operations (2017) supports the capstone Australian Maritime Doctrine (2010). This edition replaces The Navy Contribution to Maritime Operations (2005).
Australian Maritime Strategic Thought 2013-2023 Our minds are our sharpest weapons. Reading and critical thinking provides ammunition for our minds. Thus, it gives me great pleasure to introduce this volume on Australian maritime strategic thought covering the last decade. Ten years ago, a series of seminars around Australia provided the basis for a book titled A Maritime School of Strategic Thought for Australia: Perspectives. This collection of papers did indeed become a ‘rich vein on which to draw our collective understanding of maritime strategic thought from a whole-of-nation perspective’, as the editor had hoped.
Australia’s Strategic Interests in the Antarctic: New Challenges, New Strategies The report analyses Australia’s strategic thinking towards Antarctica through a qualitative document analysis of national security policy documents since the ATS’ establishment in 1961. It also uses a range of sources from academic journals and publications as well as think-tanks to examine Antarctica’s role in the international system, Russia’s escalating Antarctic engagement over the past decade, and in critically assessing Australia’s geostrategic position.
Battle Reading the Russian Pacific Fleet 2023-2030 On 21 May 2023, the Red Banner Russian Pacific Fleet (RUSPAC) marked its 292nd anniversary. Russian naval presence in the Pacific maritime theatre dates back to 1731, when the country formally established its first naval footprint on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. RUSPAC remains the least analysed and assessed Russian naval fleet. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991, there was a continuous decline in interest of developments in the Russian navy. This led many to conclude that Russia has lost its power projection capability in the Indo-Pacific.
Blue Water Command: The Evolution of Authority on Chinese Warships Just fifteen years ago, the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) seldom sailed beyond the Chinese littorals. When PLAN ships left home port, they did not stay away long; while at sea, they encountered few threats. Such were the rhythms of a coastal defense navy in a time of peace. Decades of easy duty nurtured a command culture that favored concentrated authority: only the commanding officer (CO) or the executive officer (XO) “drove” the ship or made decisions about what the ship did. Ryan D. Martinson
Foundations of International Thinking on Sea Power The Foundations of International Thinking on Sea Power series was produced by the Sea Power Centre - Australia and comprised peer-reviewed original research on how various states perceived the necessity for, and use of, sea power.
Future Maritime Operating Concept - 2025 The Future Maritime Operating Concept 2025 is the ADF’s long term, maritime, joint warfighting capability aspiration, and seeks to inform and guide in developing capability requirements for the future ADF in the maritime environment.
Grey Shutterbugs - Volume One Grey Shutterbugs showcases a choice of images by Navy Imagery Specialists along with insights into their lives and some fascinating personal anecdotes from the great characters of this unique Navy profession.
In Search of an Australian Maritime School of Thought It is no more difficult today than millennia ago to have distinct approaches to the use of force and the construction of military forces. Small powers have always had unique ways of waging war. When seeking a description of a uniquely Australian way of war, only one word appears apt – expeditionary. David Vallance
King-Hall Naval History Conference Proceedings Proceedings of early King-Hall Navy History conferences were published commercially, some are still available from the relevant publisher. More recent conference proceedings are being edited and will be published by the SPC-A.
Mercator - Maritime Domain Strategy 2040 Government has directed the implementation of a new strategic policy that signals Australia’s ability – and willingness – to project military power and deter actions against our interests. Mercator is our Maritime Domain strategy to achieve this.
Navy Industry Engagement Strategy The Navy Industry Engagement Strategy directly supports Plan Pelorus, and will provide an ideal opportunity to regenerate, refocus and ultimately strengthen Navy’s relationship with industry and academia.
Nuclear-Powered Submarines for Australia: Origin Stories The announcement in 2021 that Australia would acquire nuclear-powered submarines for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) signalled a significant shift in Australia’s defence policy. For many it seemed as if it was a decision and discussion without precedent, but this is not the case. The question of whether Australia should acquire nuclear-powered submarines was first asked in 1959 during the simpler discussion of whether Australia should acquire submarines at all.
Papers in Australian Maritime Affairs The Papers in Australian Maritime Affairs series was produced over the period 1996-2011 by the Sea Power Centre - Australia and comprised lengthy peer-reviewed original research on regional maritime affairs.
Plan Pelorus 2022 Plan Pelorus provides direction to Navy for the next four years to achieve our Headmark. It will be revised regularly to enable delivery on our five outcomes.
Port Visits to Australia by Nuclear-Powered Vessels: A Historical Context The announcement in September 2021 that Australia would acquire nuclear-powered submarines (NPS) signalled a significant shift in Australia’s defence posture. As part of the Australia-United Kingdom-United States (AUKUS) announcement of the optimal pathway in March 2023, the three Governments committed to an increase in visits of nuclear powered vessels to Australian ports by the United Kingdom (UK) and the UnitedStates (US).
RAS-AI Strategy 2040 Paper No. 2 - RAS-AI Campaign Plan 2025
Report on abuse at HMAS Leeuwin On 18 June 2014, the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce released its Report on abuse at HMAS Leeuwin, which is based on the personal accounts of more than 200 complainants who trained at HMAS Leeuwin.
Royal Australian Navy Leadership Ethic The Royal Australian Navy Leadership Ethic is written to challenge the reader to contemplate the ethical obligations of professional service, and presents a way of thinking about leadership, rather than any prescriptive way of leading.
Russia and China in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean: Implications for the Five Eyes Just like in the Arctic, the Antarctic is no longer insulated from geopolitical tension or the spillover of mistrust in the international community.1 Antarctica and the Southern Ocean are no longer exceptional in terms of ‘low tension’ governance and consensus-based decisions. And if the Arctic is any harbinger of the future of Antarctic affairs, then things may yet get worse.
Sea Power Conference Proceedings The Sea Power Conference began in 2000, and is conducted biennially in conjunction with the International Maritime Conference and the Pacific Exposition, at Darling Harbour in Sydney.
Sea Power Series The Sea Power Series is a Sea Power Centre - Australia publication introduced in 2012. This series is designed to capture peer-reviewed, original research on regional maritime affairs, ranging from Working Paper level up to book manuscript.
Semaphore The Semaphore series is produced by the Sea Power Centre - Australia to raise awareness of naval and maritime issues, both contemporary and historical.
Soundings Papers Soundings Papers are a Sea Power Centre - Australia publication introduced in 2012. The Soundings series is designed to raise awareness of naval and maritime issues, both contemporary and historical, but in more ‘depth’ than Semaphores.
SPC-A 2021 Annual Research papers and reports to create ‘A Thinking Navy, A Fighting Navy, An Australian Navy’, Edition One
SPC-A Commercial Publications The Sea Power Centre - Australia has published a large number of conference, workshop and seminar proceedings in conjunction with other institutions, as well as a variety of commercial publications.
Tac Talks Tac Talks are papers about global maritime strategic concepts and strategies authored by professionals of the Royal Australian Navy.
The ABC of Royal Australian Navy Corvettes Soon after the outbreak of WWII an order was placed for 60 minesweepers of simple design to be constructed as part of the Commonwealth Government’s wartime shipbuilding programme. They became popularly known as Corvettes.
The Navy and the Nation The Chief of Navy’s analytical piece on the relationship between his service and the nation, The Navy and the Nation: Australia’s Maritime Power in the 21st Century, comes as Navy embarks on a period of significant change.
Thresholds: Chinese Maritime Militia and Foreign Direct Investment as Non-Military Coercion in the Malacca Strait In building a database to consolidate previously unconnected data, this report proposes that two types of non-military action in the Indo-Pacific—the Belt and Road investment project and the use of civilian vessels as maritime militia— should be viewed as interdependent and purposeful revisionary strategies used by China for its economic and political goals. In tracking this relationship, it lays out the ways in which littoral states are inhibited in their individual and collective responses and recommends cooperative actions to address this going forward.
Why Australia has a Navy As an island nation, the sea is Australia’s lifeblood. We are dependent upon it. Our trade travels by sea, and thus our economy, our prosperity, and our way of life count on the sea. Good order at sea is vital to our Nation’s economic and environmental welfare, and vital to our national security. 
Winning at Sea - The Story of Women in the RAN Winning at Sea - The Story of Women in the RAN was commissioned and launched to mark the progress Navy has made in relation to the employment of women on the occasion of the International Fleet Review.
Working Papers The Working Papers series was produced over the period 1999-2012 by the Sea Power Centre - Australia and comprised shorter original research on maritime security issues.

Historic Publications

Title of Publication Summary
Hindsight The Hindsight series highlights the Australia’s naval tradition, covering the Commonwealth Naval Forces and the Royal Australian Navy, and are generally 2000 words in length.
HM Ships Damaged or Sunk by Enemy Action in World War II A complete summary, as far as is known, of war damage to HM Ships in the Second World War and is based on reports held in the Admiralty at the time of its publication in 1952.
SeaTalk SeaTalk was published between 1987 and 2011.