Another of Australia's leading defence strategists has warned the nation must boosts its stocks of missiles and submarines, in light of the growing threat from China.
Former Defence Department deputy secretary and Australian National University emeritus professor Paul Dibb said with the expansion of China's military capabilities, Australia was facing an increased prospect of threat from a major power for the first time since the Second World War.
Professor Dibb said China's military presence in the South China Sea had brought its capacity to project military power 1200-1400 kilometres closer to northern Australia.
And while he was not arguing China would become a direct military threat, the fact it would have the military capability to mount high-intensity operations against Australia called for a fundamental review of the Australian Defence Force, Professor Dibb said.
"There is an urgent need to review Australia's long-range air and maritime strike capabilities and the delivery of adequate numbers of platforms in a timeframe relevant to Australia's deteriorating strategic circumstances," he said.
"Unlike in the Cold War, Australia's strategic geography as the pivot between the Pacific and Indian oceans is now assuming much more strategic relevance. This means that we will have to revisit the disposition of our forces and their capabilities in the north and west of our continent."
The Australian Defence Force is currently undertaking its first mobilisation strategy review since the Second World War and it will consider cyber attacks and space.
However Professor Dibb said the review also needed to look at the numbers of combat pilots and submariners.
It should also consider the need to guarantee fuel supplies and look at greatly expanding stocks of war-shot missiles and munitions.
Professor Dibb said current missile and munition stocks were grounded in "peacetime".
"The problem is that there's a yawning gap between the growing concerns of many defence experts in this country and the relaxed views of the general population and business community," Professor Dibb said.
Professor Dibb's call to arms, contained in the Australian Strategic Policy Institute's latest issue of The Strategist, comes after fellow Australian National University professor and long-time defence official Hugh White called for a huge shake-up of Australia's military forces.
Professor White argued Australia may no longer be able to rely on the United State to come to its aid if attacked, and should become much more self-reliant.
This would require an increase in defence spending from about 2 per cent of gross domestic product to about 3.5 per cent.
It would also merit a massive reorganisation of the structure of the defence force, including using fewer "very vulnerable and very expensive" surface warships and using more submarines and strike aircraft.
However director of the defence and strategy program at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute Michael Shoebridge said Professor White's plan contained a huge vulnerability - the need to protect supply lines.
"If we can't protect shipping against submarine, surface ship, aircraft and missile attack, we'll run out of fuel in around 25 days. Australia needs to be able to defend its long international supply chains," Mr Shoebridge said.