Semaphore: Sea Power Centre - Australia Publications

Semaphore Issue 1, 2007
Semaphore Issue 1, 2007

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The mission of the Sea Power Centre - Australia (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
  • within the higher Defence organisation, to contribute to the development of maritime strategic concepts and strategic and operational level doctrine, and facilitate informed force structure decisions
  • to preserve, develop and promote Australian naval history.

SPC-A Roles and Functions


In fulfilling its mission the SPC-A:

  • conducts and sponsors briefings, conferences, seminars, lectures and study periods on maritime affairs, strategy and naval history
  • conducts research and publishes papers on maritime issues relevant to the development of maritime strategy and naval history
  • studies developments in maritime strategy and doctrine worldwide with particular attention to regional aspects;
  • in conjunction with other Navy organisations, develops Australian maritime doctrine
  • on behalf of the Chief of Navy (CN), conducts the annual Peter Mitchell Essay competition
  • develops the curriculum for, and oversees the education of, junior naval officers in maritime affairs, strategy and naval history via the Maritime and Strategic Studies Program
  • maintains, develops and promotes the history of the RAN, Commonwealth and Colonial naval forces through liaison with the Australian War Memorial, international bodies and interest groups; maintenance of a research facility; and the conduct of historical research and analysis
  • coordinates and oversees the collection of historical records of RAN operational deployments, including the forward deployment of SPC-A historians
  • responds to government, department and public inquiries on maritime doctrine, sea power and naval history
  • contributes to regional engagement through sea power presentations to courses in the Asia-Pacific
  • provides advice to CN on RAN ship names and battle honours.

SPC-A Activities


Peter Mitchell Essay Competition

The SPC-A conducts the Peter Mitchell Essay Competition annually on behalf of CN. The competition is open to members of British Commonwealth Navies of Commander rank or below, who are full-time members, or reservists who have served at least 20 days in the 12 months prior to the closing date of the competition. Three prizes are awarded: Open Section ($750), Officers' Section ($500), and Sailors' Section ($500). Essays must be no more than 3500 words.

The rules for the Peter Mitchell Essay Competition are available on the SPC-A Website: Each year, specific essay questions are developed under the broad themes of personnel, maritime strategy, national maritime issues, and contemporary military issues.

King-Hall Naval History Conference 2007

The fifth biennial King-Hall Naval History Conference will be held in Sydney on 24 July and Canberra on 26-27 July 2007. The conference will be organised by the Sea Power Centre Australia with assistance from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of New South Wales at the Australian Defence Force Academy. The King-Hall Conference has become a significant event in the national and international sea power communities for its wide-ranging discussion of topical naval historical and maritime strategic issues. The conference is open to the public, and previous events have attracted a wide range of naval historians, academics and retired and serving military personnel, as well as interested laypeople from Australia and overseas.

The broad theme of the 2007 conference is 'The Dominance of Communications in Maritime Operations'. Its aim is to analyse the influence of communications on the application of sea power in the broadest possible sense. The content will thus deal with both information and transport, and encompass issues ranging from the strategic importance of sea lines of communication through to the tactical use of communications in war and peace.

Further information will become available on:

The RAN Sea Power Conference 2008

The fifth biennial RAN Sea Power Conference will be held at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre over the period 29-31 January 2008.

The broad theme of the 2008 Conference is Australia and its Maritime Interests: at Home and in the Region. Its aim is to examine maritime interests in the Indo-Pacific region and their impact on the roles and activities of maritime forces.

Review of Australian Maritime Doctrine

The SPC-A has commenced the first review of Australian Maritime Doctrine: RAN Doctrine 1 - 2000 (AMD).

AMD is the RAN's principal work of doctrine about operations in the maritime environment. It is a guide to understanding what the RAN contributes to Australia's national security and how it does this. AMD focuses on the strategic rationale for and components of maritime operations, while The Navy Contribution to Australian Maritime Operations (RAN Doctrine 2 - 2005) examines in greater detail the operational capabilities of the RAN.

The AMD review will include: liaising with appropriate personnel in the ADF; travelling to selected defence establishments to obtain information from other Services about doctrine review; and to document a detailed review process and decisions made. The aim is to produce a draft document for CN's consideration by July 2007, with the final version to be launched by December 2007. The SPC-A welcomes input both nationally and internationally. The Staff Officer Maritime Doctrine Development is coordinating all inputs to this review process.

Synnot Lectures

The SPC-A regularly conducts the Synnot Lectures. The lecture series is named in memory of Admiral Sir Anthony Synnot (Chief of Naval Staff 1976-1979 and Chief of Defence Force Staff 1979-1982).

The 2006 lectures were presented by Dr Stanley Weeks, Senior Scientist with Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), in McLean, Virginia. Dr Weeks provided two different presentations. The first, The 1000-ship Navy Inititiative discussed international maritime cooperation and coordination to ensure security against 21st century challenges throughout the global maritime domain. The second, Maritime Forces Transformation, addressed the need for restructuring and capability building of maritime forces that may be necessary to deal with today's challenges to maritime security. Both lectures will appear in PIAMA No 19, Australian Maritime Issues 2006, SPC-A Annual.

RAN Reading List


The web version of the RAN Reading List 2006 will be updated electronically in March 2007, and will be available at Comments, suggestions and reviews have already been received and all are being considered for the update. We welcome any additional feedback over the next month or so.

Support to Researchers


The SPC-A can offer a range of support to researchers, including advice on contemporary and historical maritime issues, as well as access to the SPC-A research collection. The collection contains a wide selection of volumes, particularly on maritime strategy and history from the colonial navies to the present. This is not a borrowing library, so while researchers are welcome to view publications at the SPC-A, materials cannot be removed from the building. The SPC-A also holds a full set of Navy News, Navy Lists, Commonwealth Naval Instructions, Reports of Proceedings, and Ship Movement reports, which are available to researchers. The SPC-A is able to provide desk space and limited computer access for researchers by prior arrangement.

Calling All Authors!


The SPC-A is always looking for quality manuscripts on historical and contemporary maritime security issues of relevance to Australia that are suitable for inclusion in its publication program. Advice is also available for those people who are considering undertaking tertiary research into maritime security issues, particularly under Australian Defence Organisation sponsorship arrangements, to help frame or refine an appropriate research question. The SPC-A is particularly interested in maintaining contact with tertiary researchers in the Department of Defence, with a view to publishing finished research papers. If you have a paper, of any size from 2000 words upward, that you believe would contribute to public knowledge of Australia's naval history, current operations or maritime capability, please contact the Deputy Director Research to discuss options for publication.

Publication Series


The Sea Power Centre - Australia produces three main publication series: Papers in Australian Maritime Affairs, Working Papers and the Semaphore newsletter. The following publications are currently available from the Centre by contacting the Information Officer.

Papers in Australian Maritime Affairs

Papers in Australian Maritime Affairs (PIAMAs) allow for the distribution of substantial work by members of the Royal Australian Navy, as well as members of the Australian and international community, undertaking original research into regional maritime issues.

No. 1
From Empire Defence to the Long Haul: Post-War Defence Policy and its Impact on Naval Force Structure Planning 1945-1955.
By Hector Donohue
No. 2
No Easy Answers: The Development of the Navies of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka 1945 1996. By James Goldrick
No. 3
Coastal Shipping: The Vital Link. By Mary Ganter
No. 4
Australian Carrier Decisions: The Decision to Procure HMA Ships Albatross, Sydney and Melbourne. By Anthony Wright
No. 5
Issues In Regional Maritime Strategy: Papers by Foreign Visiting Military Fellows with the Royal Australian Navy Maritime Studies Program - 1998.
Edited by David Wilson
No. 6
Australia's Naval Inheritance: Imperial Maritime Strategy and the Australia Station 1880-1909. By Nicholas Lambert
No. 7
Maritime Aviation: Prospects for the 21st Century. Edited by David Stevens
No. 8
Maritime War in the 21st Century: The Medium and Small Navy Perspective. Edited by David Wilson
No. 9
HMAS Sydney (II): The Cruiser and the Controversy in the Archives of the United Kingdom. Edited by Peter Hore
No. 10
The Strategic Importance of Seaborne Trade and Shipping. Edited by Andrew Forbes
No. 11
Protecting Maritime Resources: Boundary Delimitation, Resource Conflicts and Constabulary Responsibilities.
Edited by Rachael Heath and Barry Snushall
No. 12
Maritime Issues 2004: SPC-A Annual. Edited by Glenn Kerr
No. 13
Future Environmental Policy Trends: Impact on Ship Design and Operation. Centre for Maritime Policy, University of Wollongong.
Edited by Glenn Kerr and Barry Snushall
No. 14
Peter Mitchell Essay Competition 2003. Edited by Glenn Kerr
No. 15
A Critical Vulnerability: the Impact of the Submarine Threat on Australia's Maritime Defence 1915-1954. By David Stevens
No. 16
Australian Maritime Issues 2005, SPC-A Annual. Edited by Gregory Gilbert and Robert Davitt
No. 17
Australian Naval Personalities: Lives from the Australian Dictionary of Biography. Edited by Gregory Gilbert
No. 18
ADF Training in Australia's Maritime Environment. Edited by Chris Rahman and Robert Davitt

Working Papers

Working Papers are intended to foster debate and discussion on maritime issues of relevance to the RAN, the ADF and to Australia and the region more generally.

No. 1
New Technology and Medium Navies. By Norman Friedman
No. 2
Struggling for a Solution: The RAN and the Acquisition of a Surface to Air Missile Capability. By Peter Jones and James Goldrick
No. 3
Medium Power Strategy Revisited. By Richard Hill
No. 4
The Development of Naval Strategy in the Asia Pacific Region 1500-2000. By John Reeve
No. 5
Maritime Strategy and Defence of the Archipelagic Inner Arc. By John Reeve
No. 6
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and the Future Navy. By Peter Ashworth
No. 7
Naval Cooperation and Coalition Building in Southeast Asia and the Southwest Pacific: Status and Prospect. By Chris Rahman
No. 8
Analysis of Contemporary and Emerging Navigational Issues in the Law of the Sea. By Martin Tsamenyi and Kwame Mfodwo
No. 9
Seaborne Trade Flows in the Asia Pacific: Present and Future Trends. By Christopher Baldwin
No. 10
Asian Pacific SLOC Security: The China Factor. By Ji Guoxing
No. 11
Protecting the National Interest: Naval Constabulary Operations in Australia's Exclusive Economic Zone. By Andrew Forbes
No. 12
Royal Australian Navy and Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence. By Tom Mueller
No. 13
The Timor Sea Joint Petroleum Development Area Oil and Gas Resources: The Defence Implications. By Matthew Flint
No. 14
The Enforcement Aspects of Australia's Oceans Policy. By Barry Snushall
No. 15
Russian Naval Power in the Pacific: Today and Tomorrow. By Alexey Muraviev
No. 16
Royal Australian Navy Aerospace Capability 2020 2030. By Robert Hosick
No. 17
The New South Wales Reserve Naval Legal Panel - 40 Years of Service. By Members of the Naval Reserve Legal Panel (Limited distribution)
No. 18
Database of RAN Operations 1990-2005. By Vanessa Bendle, et al
No. 19
An Effects-Based Anti-Submarine Warfare Strategy. By Mark Hammond

Forthcoming Commercial Publications

Australia's Navy in Vietnam: Royal Australian Navy Operations 1965-72. Editors: John Perryman & Brett Mitchell, Topmill Pty Ltd (In press), RRP to be advised.

Sea Power: Challenges Old and New - Proceedings of the RAN Sea Power Conference 2006. Editor: Andrew Forbes, Halstead Press (In press), RRP to be advised.

Sea Power Ashore and in the Air. Editors: David Stevens & John Reeve. Halstead Press, RRP to be advised.

Semaphore Newsletter

The SPC-A aims to produce at least one Semaphorenewsletter at the end of each month, from January to November, addressing a range of historical and contemporary topics related to Australian maritime issues. The two-page format is intended to provide a brief overview of the topic suitable for the layperson, rather than a comprehensive technical exposition.

However, Semaphores are extensively researched and analysed, and subjected to rigorous scrutiny to ensure they are interesting, informative and factual. Semaphores are distributed electronically and in hard copy to government and public addressees throughout Australia and overseas. All Semaphores are available on the SPC-A website or in hard copy from the Information Officer.

The following Semaphores were published in 2006. Semaphores 2 to 20 will be included in the forthcoming PIAMA No 19, Australian Maritime Issues 2006, SPC-A Annual.

A First Analysis of RAN Operations, 1990-2005
Maritime Security Regulation
Welcome to the Armidale Class
The RAN and the 1918-19 Influenza Pandemic
Positioning Navies for the Future
Visual Signalling in the Royal Australian Navy
Reading Our Way to Victory?
The 'Special Cruise' of HMAS Gayundah - 1911
Hot Pursuit and Australian Fisheries Law
Operation Astute - The RAN in East Timor
The Effects of Weather on RAN Operations in the Southern Ocean
The Western Pacific Naval Symposium
Primary Casualty Reception Facility
Ancient Egyptian Joint Operations in the Lebanon under Thutmose III (1451-1438 BCE)
The RAN Band Ashore and Afloat
RAN Activities in the Southern Ocean
Women in the RAN: The Road to Command at Sea
The Long Memory: RAN Heritage Management