In the final years of the last Australian federal Labor Government (2010-2013) there had been a dearth of spending on critical defence infrastructure. This included the ongoing failure to commit to a replacement for the Collins class submarine, and the short-term nature of the Air Warfare Destroyer program. South Australia, which has been a key state in the defence manufacturing industry in Australia since the 1980's, was now approaching what the CEO of the Defence Teaming Centre - former Army Tank Commander Colonel (Ret) Chris Burns described as "the Valley of Death," due to dwindling production contracts.
Facing existential challenges, Australian defence manufacturing firms began to explore value chain opportunities amongst our friends and allies in Asia, to compliment pre-existing relationships with the US and UK defence industries. At the same time, much of Asia has been experiencing an explosion of military equipment procurement across land, naval and air platforms, as Australia's regional trading partners and neighbours confront the re-emergence of China as an active geopolitical power investing large sums in its military upgrading.
Yet, developing regional supply chain partners is no simple task. Countries pursue their individual security and defence interests, and domestic political considerations play a significant determining role in outcomes. This presentation will touch on Dr Grey's first-hand accounts of exploring and developing defence manufacturing value chain opportunities throughout the region, and the complex relationships, political considerations, and misunderstandings that have continued to affect national and South Australian partnership opportunities. There are also noteworthy success stories to throw into the mix, along the way.
Nathan Gray, Managing Partner at AsiaAustralis
Dr Nathan Gray is a Visiting Senior Lecturer at the Institute for International Trade and Managing Partner of AsiaAustralis - a Strategic Management Advisory Consultancy based in Australia. Dr Gray has worked for a range of industry clients researching, analysing, and developing international value chain trade opportunities across the Asia Pacific. Between 2014 and 2020 Dr Gray developed defence industry international value chain strategies throughout Asia for Australian Defence Manufacturing clients in Australia such as the South Australian, Tasmanian and Northern Territory Governments, DefenceSA, Defence Teaming Centre, and the Australian Industry Defence Network. These projects involved business development work in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, Japan and India, meetings with key defence industry manufacturers, military equipment procurement organisations and attendances at regional defence exhibitions, as well as leading defence industry trade delegations to Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and India.
Diplomacy at the Bar
Part of our regular 'Diplomacy at the Bar' series, where knowledge, networking and a glass of wine coalesce for a more relaxed way to get involved in international affairs.
We hope you come along to join the conversation and get to know some fellow international affairs aficionados at Adelaide's local favourite, The Howling Owl.
Note: This is an in-person event only.
The Howling Owl 10 Vaughan Place Adelaide, South Australia, Australia