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Planning for peace

by
July-August 2009, no. 313

Australian Peacekeeping: Sixty years in the field edited by David Horner, Peter Loney and Jean Bou

Cambridge University Press, $49.95 pb, 333 pp

Planning for peace

by
July-August 2009, no. 313

The recent, sometimes heated, debate among policy experts and commentators about Australia’s Defence White Paper has helped give focus to a curious paradox: that for the last two decades or so, since the release of the Defence of Australia White Paper in 1987, there has been a profound disconnection between defence planning and procurement and the actual operations conducted by the Australian Defence Force (ADF). With its focus on major new spending commitments on submarines, frigates and the Joint Strike Fighter in the midst of ongoing operations in Afghanistan, Timor-Leste and the Solomon Islands – which require none of these big-ticket items but which have, at times, stretched the ADF’s deployable capacity – the present White Paper risks falling into the same trap.

This excellent new volume, a product of the Australian War Memorial’s major research project on the history of Australian peacekeeping, provides a stirring corrective to this enduring paradox. Peacekeeping, its editors argue and contributors demonstrate, is a distinctive military activity that requires special skills, resources and equipment. It is always complex, and sometimes highly dangerous.

Alex Bellamy reviews 'Australian Peacekeeping' edited by David Horner, Peter Londey and Jean Bou

Australian Peacekeeping: Sixty years in the field

edited by David Horner, Peter Loney and Jean Bou

Cambridge University Press, $49.95 pb, 333 pp

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