The Australian government has been warned that its naval shipbuilding programme (NSP) could consume so much of the country’s defence procurement budget that it might put at risk the ability of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to respond to emerging priorities.
The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) said in a paper about the country’s defence budget on 24 May that the NSP – featuring the planned procurement of assets including 12 new submarines, nine frigates, and 12 offshore patrol vessels – could eat up about one-third of the country’s procurement expenditure in perpetuity.
ASPI said that even taking into account future growth in the budget and the government’s plan to raise the expenditure to 2% of GDP by 2020–21, the procurement expenditure could be stretched and the government will be challenged to sustain a balanced force structure.
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