Australia's incoming Liberal Senator Jim Molan, a former senior military officer, warned that the country's military would be rendered “impotent” within days by the absence of fuel and missile stocks if the country was blockaded or attacked.
Australia is one of just a few places that doesn't have a government-mandated strategic reserve of fuel, Molan told the ABC. “There are things that we can probably never build in this country, such as the Joint Strike Fighter [an attack aircraft development and acquisition program] and the most advanced missiles.
"But we should guarantee their delivery to Australia, which you can rarely do, or we should have them in warehouses.”
Molan, in his senior officer days, was the chief of operations for coalition forces in Iraq. He then went on to drive "Operation Sovereign Borders" under the Abbott Government, which stopped asylum seekers reaching the mainland.
With an unsurprisingly healthy appetite for increased defense spend, Molan also warned that the United States would not necessarily be there to lend a hand. Writing in The Australian, he said:
“We have an expectation (not a right or guarantee) that the US will come to our aid in an extreme scenario. There seem to be very strong grounds to question that expectation and to adjust our defense policy accordingly while remaining the staunchest of US allies.
“But still we need to defend our national interests independently. In particular, we need to address our critical vulnerabilities around fuel security and high-end weapons holding. Without doing so, we could be reduced to impotence in less than a week.”
Last year, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Australia's defence spend was $24.3 billion USD. The country announced $30 billion AUS in additional spending in the next decade in the 2016 White Paper, meeting the two percent GDP target urged by Trump on NATO allies.
Molan believes this may not be enough, however: “You can’t just hit two per cent and achieve military perfection," he said.