Semaphore: Sea Power Centre - Australia Publications

Semaphore Issue 1, 2010
Semaphore Issue 1, 2010

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The Sea Power Centre - Australia (SPC-A) undertakes the study, discussion and the promotion of awareness of maritime issues and strategy within the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), and the Defence and civil communities.

The SPC-A mission entails:

  • Managing the development of strategic-level RAN doctrine and concepts, and their integration with Australian Defence Force (ADF) joint doctrine.
  • Conducting research, studying developments in, and publishing papers on maritime strategy and naval history.
  • Fostering regional and international engagement through conferences, briefings and lectures on maritime affairs and naval history.
  • Developing, preserving and promoting Australia’s naval history.
  • Advising Chief of Navy (CN) on RAN ship names and battle honours.
  • Responding to government, department and public enquiries on maritime doctrine, sea power and naval history.

RAN Sea Power Conference 2010


The sixth biennial Sea Power Conference was held at the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre from 27-29 January 2010. The Conference explored the theme of Combined and Joint Operations from the Sea, informing how Australia’s new expeditionary capabilities may be best introduced into service and used to advantage.

The Conference has become a significant event in the national and international maritime security communities for its discussion on topical naval and maritime strategic issues. Speakers presented a range of perspectives in a creative and stimulating way that generated greater discussion of the challenges facing the ADF in the early 21st Century.

Combined and joint operations from the sea are generally well defined doctrinally, but in practice the understanding of maritime expeditionary operations often varies widely between countries. A military operation from the sea is generally much more complicated than is implied by amphibious operations alone, where the principal task is ‘landing forces ashore tactically’. Combined and joint operations from sea often involve significant political, social and cultural aspects that may directly impact command decisions at the strategic, operational and tactical levels. They are often described as the most complex of all military operations.

The planned acquisition of three Aegis-equipped destroyers and two amphibious ships over the period 2012-17 will allow the ADF to provide the Australian Government with much more sophisticated amphibious and expeditionary capabilities than currently exist. How these new capabilities will be integrated into the ADF order of battle, joint and naval doctrine, future joint and maritime operational concepts and military culture will be critical to their effective use.

The Conference was held as part of the biennial Pacific Maritime Congress and Exposition, involving three interrelated events: The RAN Sea Power Conference 2010, hosted by the SPC-A, the Pacific 2010 International Maritime Conference, hosted by Engineers Australia, The Royal Institution of Naval Architects, and the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology and the Pacific 2010 International Maritime Exposition, conducted by Maritime Australia Limited.

The Conference program was designed to permit all delegates to visit the many industry displays in the Exposition itself and to conduct informal professional discussions with exhibitors and fellow delegates. This year there was a record breaking attendance at the Conference with over 1100 registrations.

Conference Proceedings

Proceedings for both the biennial RAN Sea Power Conference and the King-Hall Naval History Conference are now prepared and published by the SPC-A. The proceedings of the 2007 King-Hall Naval History Conference, Naval Networks: The Dominance of Communications in Maritime Operations, will be available later this year. The Sea Power Conference 2010 proceedings will be published and distributed to all delegates around the middle of this year.

Australian Maritime Doctrine


Australian Maritime Doctrine (AMD), RAN Doctrine 1, is currently being finalised within the SPC-A and will be issued during the first half of 2010. The latest revision of the doctrine includes the enduring aspects of our naval strategy and policy but has been updated to better reflect the joint nature of the ADF’s approach to current operations.

Calling All Authors and Researchers


The SPC-A is always willing to look at quality manuscripts on historical and contemporary maritime issues. If you are the author of such a paper please contact us via the Centre's email to discuss its suitability for publication.

Research Collection


The SPC-A maintains a research collection that holds a wealth of naval resources, including Navy News, Navy Lists, Reports of Proceedings and Ship Movement reports. The research collection is normally available for use 0900-1630 each weekday, but it is not possible to borrow items. Researchers are requested to email or ring the SPC-A to confirm access, particularly if visiting from outside Canberra. The SPC-A will gladly accept book, ephemera and photograph donations on naval and maritime matters.

RAN Reading List


The online version of the RAN Reading List is updated regularly, with the most recent revision conducted in June 2009. The reading list is for use by all sailors and officers of the RAN, as well as others involved or interested in maritime strategy, doctrine, history or navies in general. The RAN Reading List can be downloaded from our web site. Comments, recommendations and reviews are welcome.

Peter Mitchell Essay Competition


The Peter Mitchell Essay Competition is conducted annually by the SPC-A on behalf of CN. The competition is open to all members of Commonwealth navies who can put their ideas in writing. Monetary prizes are awarded to the best efforts. The 2009 winners were:

  • Open - CMDR Manav Sehgal, Indian Navy
  • Officerr - LEUT Jenny Zhang, Royal Australian Navy
  • Sailor - CPO E Gordon Howe, Canadian Navy

All entrants are thanked for their efforts. The winning essays will be published in the forthcoming SPC-A Annual.

Our Publications


The SPC-A produces four series of publications: Semaphore, Working Papers, Papers in Australian Maritime Affairs (PIAMA) and Foundations of International Thinking on Sea Power (IntSP). Please contact the Information Manager to enquire about availability of hard copies. The form below allows you to subscribe to the SPC-A mailing list or to update your details.



The SPC-A produces a regular Semaphore newsletter. Together these address a range of maritime issues relevant to the RAN and/or Australia. Past Semaphores are available on our web site.

Working Papers


Working Papers foster debate and discussion on naval and maritime issues relevant to the RAN, ADF and to Australia and the region more generally. See our web site for past Working Papers.

Papers in Australian Maritime Affairs


Papers in Australian Maritime Affairs (PIAMA) are substantial works by authors undertaking research into regional naval and maritime issues. Recent PIAMA include:

No. 25
Missing Pieces: The Intelligence Jigsaw and RAN Operations 1939-1971. By Ian Pfennigwerth
No. 26
A Historical Appreciation of the Contribution of Naval Air Power. By Andrew T Ross and James M Sandison with an introduction by Jack McCaffrie
No. 27
Australian Maritime Issues 2008. Edited by Gregory P Gilbert and Nick Stewart
No. 28
Presence, Power Projection and Sea Control: The RAN in the Gulf 1990-2009. Edited by John Mortimer and David Stevens
No. 29
HMAS Leeuwin: The Story of the RAN’s Junior Recruits. By Brian Adams

Foundations of International Thinking on Sea Power


This series is a refereed publication that reflects research, both historical and contemporary, on how various States perceive sea power. The series re-examines the fundamental understanding of sea power in a variety of cultural traditions from ancient times to the present day. The most recent addition to this series is:

No. 2
Japanese Sea Power: A Maritime Nation’s Struggle for Identity. By Naoko Sajima and Kyoichi Tachikawa

Sea Power Centre - Australia Contact List

Director SPC-A CAPT Gordon Andrew, RAN
Director Strategic & Historical Studies Dr David Stevens
Deputy Director SPC-A CMDR Keith Smith, RAN
Deputy Director (Concepts) CMDR Chris Aulmann, RAN
Deputy Director (Research) Mr Andrew Forbes
Information Manager Ms Victoria Kitanov
Postal Address Sea Power Centre - Australia
Department of Defence
Canberra ACT 2600
Office Location Building 1a, Dairy Road
Fyshwick ACT 2609
General Enquiries: (02) 6127 6512
SPC-A Fax: (02) 6127 6519
SPC-A Email:
Naval History Email: