Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull vowed Friday to boost defense spending by $21.5 billion in the next decade, looking to fulfill part of a 2013 election promise to push military investment to 2 percent of GDP by the end of the decade. The report, which was delivered by Turnbull alongside Defense Minister Marise Payne at an event in Canberra, also promised to increase troop numbers in the Australian Defense Force by nearly 5,000 people.
“The White Paper recognizes Australia’s security and prosperity is directly tied to the stability of our region and to the maintenance of a stable, rules-based global order,” the prime minister and defense minister said in a joint statement. “In the period to 2035, Australia will have greater opportunities for prosperity and development but it will also face greater uncertainty. We need to be prepared. The White Paper positions defense to respond to a broader range of security threats to Australians at home and abroad.”
Also released were reports that outlined where the country would be investing the money. The country’s navy, which protects more than 25,000 kilometers (15,500 miles) of coastline, will receive 12 conventionally powered submarines, nine frigates, 12 offshore patrol vessels and two large ships.
The Air Force will add seven Boeing-built P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol planes within the next decade, bringing the contract for the aircraft to 15. The army will add Chinook helicopters, air defenses and a long-range artillery rocket system.
The country is also looking at possibly investing in more heavy lifting aircraft, long-range aeromedical evacuation aircraft and rescue platforms.
Peter Jennings, an executive director with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute said the government report sets out a “clear strategy, a logically articulated force structure and — can you believe it — a plausible funding plan.”
“A wide brown land needs a big, big defense policy, and Australia has received that very thing with this morning’s delivery of the 2016 Defense White Paper,” he added.