Exploring Australian sovereign capability to scale up in critical times: Australian Army Research Report No. 1

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


In times of peace, a nation goes with the Army that it can afford. In times of war, it goes with the Army that it has. The problem arises if it is not ready to scale up as needed. This study examines Australia’s sovereign industrial capability to scale up for major war and other critical events such as the Australian bushfires and the COVID-19 global pandemic. Additionally, it determines whether Australia has the potential to leverage its existing capabilities and redirect defence adjacent capabilities into areas of need in the future. It uses an economic complexity analysis to assess strengths and weaknesses in the productive capabilities of Australian industry and identifies resources and materials that may be suitable for scaling up. It shows that Australia is lacking in productive capabilities in industries and some products that are vital for supporting a war effort, such as prepared food, manufactured metal products, medical products, and clothing. This is despite the presence of many necessary upstream capabilities to provide these items. Therefore, an investment strategy focused on improving manufacturing capabilities is strategically important for Australia’s sovereign capability development. We show this through the development of several product roadmaps to identify where critical capabilities are needed. This is vital in Australian defence, be it against military, environmental and medical threats.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherAustralian Army
Commissioning bodyAustralian Army Research Centre
Number of pages44
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2020

Publication series

NameAustralian Army Occasional Paper


  • sovereign industrial capability
  • critical events
  • Army
  • Australia’s sovereign capability
  • Australian defence


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