Semaphore: Sea Power Centre - Australia Publications

Semaphore Issue 9, 2004
Semaphore Issue 9, 2004

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SPC-A History


The Maritime Studies Project commenced in April 1990, evolving into the Maritime Studies Program in mid-1991. In January 2000 the Program became a directorate of the Navy Strategic Policy and Futures Branch in Navy Headquarters, being renamed the RAN Sea Power Centre. The title was amended to the Sea Power Centre - Australia (SPC-A) in late 2002.

The SPC-A relocated from Defence Establishment Fairbairn to its current interim site at Fyshwick in May 2004, with the Navy History Section relocating from Campbell Park in July 2004. The intermediate-term plan is to permanently collocate the SPC-A with the RAAF Air Power Development Centre in a purpose built facility in the Canberra area within the next five years.

SPC-A Mission


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; and
  • within the higher Defence organisation, contribute to the development of maritime strategic concepts and strategic and operational level doctrine, and facilitate informed force structure decisions.

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 in Australia;
  • 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 Governmental, 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; and
  • provides advice to CN on RAN ship names and battle honours.

Current Major SPC-A Activities


Maritime Studies Seminar

ADF Training in Australia’s Maritime Environment, 27 October 2004, Australian National University, Canberra. The seminar is being conducted in conjunction with the Centre for Maritime Policy at the University of Wollongong. The seminar will address the environmental impact of ADF training on the marine environment, the impact of environmental legislation on those training activities, and how the ADF is working to comply with the legislation and minimise environmental impacts. The seminar will comprise three sessions: the first on Australia’s domestic marine environmental policy and legislation; the second on Defence training and environmental management; and the third a case study on the Jervis Bay region.

Attendance at this seminar will be by invitation only from a highly targeted, specialist audience representing Government departments and agencies, legislators and administrators, academics, and interest groups. However, the proceedings of the seminar will be published by the SPC-A in its Papers in Australian Maritime Affairs series.

King-Hall Naval History Conference

Sea Power Ashore and in the Air. This conference will be held in July 2005 at a venue in Canberra. Details on the date and venue will be advised later in 2004. The conference will be open to any interested person, and previous conferences have attracted a wide range of naval historians, academics and retired military personnel from Australia and internationally. A call for papers will be issued shortly.

Sea Power Conference 2006

Threats Old and New. This conference will be held 31 January-2 February at the Convention Centre Darling Harbour as part of the Pacific 2006 Symposium. Additional details of the conference will be provided in future Semaphore editions.

Peter Mitchell Essay Competition 2004

The SPC-A conducts the Peter Mitchell Essay Competition annually on behalf of the Chief of the Navy. 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. Essays submitted in Australia must be postmarked no later than 14 November 2004. Essays submitted from overseas must arrive at the SPC-A no later than 14 November 2004. The topics for the 2004 competition are:

  • Technology and strategy are closely linked, particularly for activities at sea. How will forecast technological possibilities in propulsion, hull forms, sensors or weapons impact on how medium navies operate at sea over the next 30 years?
  • Australia is currently operating within a framework of Cold War era alliances such as ANZUS and the Five Power Defence Arrangement (FPDA). Do Australia’s future national security interests lie with continuing these alliances or with emergent regional or supra-regional alliances? How might this impact on RAN capabilities and missions?
  • Applying Hill’s concept of a medium maritime power, does the RAN have the capacity and capability to meets its enforcement roles as outlined in Australia’s Oceans Policy? What changes might be required to policy and/or capability to allow the RAN to perform successfully as a medium maritime power?
  • Discuss the role of mine clearance operations in contemporary expeditionary warfare and postulate how this might be realised in minimum time in a networked, combined and joint campaign in the littoral environment.
  • What impact will the changing international ship and port facility security obligations embodied in the International Maritime Shipping and Port Security (ISPS) Code have on the traditional role of naval forces after 1 July 2004?

Full rules for the Peter Mitchell Essay Competition are available by contacting the SPC-A.

Australian Maritime Operations: RAN Doctrine 2


This publication, which is subordinate to Australian Maritime Doctrine, will explain to a wide audience the capabilities currently operated by the RAN, how they contribute to the ADF’s missions, their strengths, limitations and future directions. It will show how individual capabilities contribute to the overall ADF effort to protect Australia’s national interests. It will also contain information on the law of the sea and the law of armed conflict pertinent to maritime operations, as well as information on the role and centrality of maritime logistics, command and control, and personnel to RAN and ADF operations. The publication is currently being drafted, with a planned publication date of May 2005.

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 reference library. The library contains a wide selection of volumes, particularly on maritime history issues 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, they 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 accessible to the researcher. The SPC-A is able to provide desk space and limited computer access for researchers by previous arrangement.

Calling All Authors!


The SPC-A is always looking for quality articles and papers on historical and contemporary maritime security issues of relevance to Australia that might be 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 Department of Defence 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 1500 words upward, that you believe would contribute to public knowledge of Australia’s naval history, current operations, or maritime capability, please contact the Senior Research Officer to discuss options for publication.

Mailing List


If you wish to be included on the SPC-A mailing list, please contact the Publications Officer or send an email to the SPC-A General Sea Power Issues email address to provide your postal details and advice of which publication types you wish to receive.

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

Papers in Australian Maritime Affairs


Papers in Australian Maritime Affairs 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. The following Papers are currently available from the SPC-A or are in the publishing process.

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 2003: SPC-A Annual. Edited by Glenn Kerr (in press)
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 (in press)
No. 14
Peter Mitchell Essay Competition 2003. Edited by Glenn Kerr (in press)

Australian Maritime Doctrine: RAN Doctrine 1


Australian Maritime Doctrine (AMD) explains how the RAN thinks about, prepares for and operates in peace and conflict. It sets out Navy’s place within a joint and integrated ADF and its roles in Australia’s military strategy. It shows the ways in which the RAN provides its unique and essential contribution to the overall ADF effort to protect Australia’s security interests. Copies of AMD are available from the SPC-A in hard copy or on CD.

Sea Power Centre - Australia Working Papers


Sea Power Centre - Australia 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 & 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 & 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 Zones. 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 Lieutenant Robert Hosick, RAN



The SPC-A aims to produce two Semaphore newsletters each month on 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 a wide range of Government and public addressees in Australia and overseas.

Copies of the following Semaphores from 2003 and 2004 are available electronically from the SPC-A web site or in hard copy by contacting the SPC-A.

Sea Control and Surface Combatants
New Guinea WW2 - A Maritime Campaign
Sea Power Centre Australia Publications
Timor Sea Oil and Gas - Too Valuable to Ignore?
The Decline of Australian Naval Deterrence 1919-1939
Iraq Lessons: The More Things Change
Before Gallipoli - Australian Operations in 1914
Australia's Maritime Dependence
Why the ADF Needs Major Surface Combatants
Sailing Into the Future
The New Maritime Security Environment
Australian Operations in the Solomon Islands
Australia's Absent Maritime National Identity
Australia's Needs for Maritime Area Air Defence
Sea Power Centre Australia Publications
Australia, Imperial Trade and the Impact of War
Pacific 2004 - RAN Sea Power Conference
Considerations in Maritime Barrier Operations
Replenishment At Sea - A Significant Force Multiplier
The Great Amphibious Invasion: D-Day, 6 June 1944
A Loss More Symbolic Than Material?
Naval Operations Other Than War 1901-2004
Why Australia Needs A Mine Warfare Capability
ADF Amphibious Capability: Implications for Navy

RAN Doctrine DVD


A DVD titled Introduction to Australian Maritime Doctrine that summarises the contents of Australian Maritime Doctrine (RAN Doctrine 1) has been developed by the SPC-A. This provides the layperson with a basic introduction to the classical theory of maritime warfare and the roles played by naval forces in Australia’s broader national security context. The DVD runs for 26 minutes and makes specific reference to the Maritime Environment, Maritime Strategic Concepts, the Span of Maritime Operations, and the Characteristics and Enablers of Maritime Forces. Copies of the DVD are being distributed to all ships, RAN establishments and Defence libraries.