Essays in Honour of Professor Desmond Ball
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute
Table of Contents
Producing an edited volume to mark Professor Desmond Ball’s 25th year as a Special Professor at the Australian National University (ANU) has been a tremendous honour. We will be forever impressed by the devotion of Des’ collaborators, co-authors and contemporaries to the tasks of writing their chapters and providing other assistance. ...
1. Introducing the insurgent intellectual
Denis Healey, the former British Labour MP and one of the founding fathers of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), observed in his memoirs that “from the middle fifties Australia has contributed far more to international understanding of defence problems than any country of similar size”.1 ...
2. From the Beginning
“You might want to think about the guy who wrote that”, said Hedley Bull as we sat together in his office just after my return from ten months study leave in the United Kingdom, in December 1973. Hedley was, of course, referring to Des Ball’s doctoral thesis. And the need to think about Des had arisen because in my absence the Defence Minister of the day, Lance Barnard, ...
3. Nuclear war and crisis stability
When I became president of the United States I inherited the awesome threat of a nuclear holocaust during the later years of the Cold War, when the United States and the Soviet Union confronted each other with arsenals of an indescribable power. I knew the entire time I was president, that twenty-six minutes after we detected the launching of an intercontinental ballistic missile, ...
4. Our first obligation
In truth, Des Ball does not look much like one of the world’s leading strategic thinkers. In a world dominated by sharply pressed creases (military planners) and the precision that comes with scientific equations — think overpressure, single shot kill capability, circular error probability, and other detailed calculations — Des is, well, “rumpled”. ...
5. Shining a light on the world’s eavesdroppers
There are assorted ways to describe the writings of Desmond Ball with respect to signals intelligence. One is to note the volume or types of publications. Even without including working papers, many of which became the basis for articles or book chapters, an examination of Ball’s vita yields evidence of over thirty books, monographs, articles, ...
6. Controlling nuclear war
Desmond Ball made his name as an internationally recognised scholar with an impressive body of work on aspects of American nuclear strategy. This had its origins in his graduate studies at the Australian National University (ANU) in the late 1960s and early 1970s. ...
7. Avoiding Armageddon
I first met Des Ball in 1975, at the Australian National University in Canberra. We have been comfortable friends ever since. Our careers diverged and we lost contact several times, sometimes for years, but it was the sort of friendship that never had to be restarted, it was always there. ...
8. Challenging the establishment
Australia’s success has and will continue to depend at least in part on the strength of its intellectual and academic life. That may be fairly obvious in the fields of science and medicine but less so in political science. Yet political scientists play a central role in not just teaching but in generating debate based on evidence based research. ...
9. Rumblings in regional security architecture
One of the many reasons why Des loved his mother Dot was that she had a knack for capturing complexity in a few sharp words and, even when it was unpopular or controversial, speaking her mind. Certainly the local lads in the dressing room of the Timboon football club could verify the latter, especially if they were losing the game to another country town. ...
10. Constructive criticism and Track 2 diplomacy
With the end of the Cold War — a period during which he had established himself as a preeminent and prolific scholar of international reputation on the primary security concerns of that era (strategic nuclear weapons, signals intelligence, missile defence) as well as on Australia’s military defence — Desmond Ball’s attention shifted towards the Asia-Pacific, ...
11. Gazing down at the breakers
Maritime security, writ large, is a broad canvas enmeshing everything from high-intensity naval warfare and territorial disputes to low-end criminal acts and matters of navigational safety. Non-state and transnational issues, such as piracy, maritime terrorism and trafficking at sea, have featured prominently in the definition for much of the post-Cold War period. ...
12. A regional arms race?
I first knew Des Ball at the very start of the 1980s, when I was a doctoral student in the Australian National University’s Department of International Relations that then, as now, enjoyed close relations with the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre (SDSC), where Des was a Fellow. In those days the SDSC was a much smaller set-up than now, being effectively a subset of the International Relations Department: ...
13. Securing a new frontier in mainland Southeast Asia
After devoting the first half of his academic career to the specifics of missiles, antennae and targeting protocols Professor Des Ball shifted his research in what might appear an unlikely direction. Inspired by many years as a regular traveller to Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, and with a growing stable of Southeast Asia-focussed students, Des began a momentous pivot to this region. ...
14. “Big Brain” on the border
I first came across Des Ball’s name in 2001 while interviewing Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) soldiers at a sniper camp in eastern Burma. It seemed like an unlikely setting to bump up against an esteemed academic — the hot jungle clearing was a long way from the Australian National University professor’s book-lined office in Canberra. ...
Australian Strategic and Defence Policy
15. A national asset
In 1986 when I was Defence Minister, I wrote to the Australian National University and said, “To appoint Dr. Ball to this position as a Special Professor at the Australian National University would do the nation a substantial service.” At that point of time, Des Ball’s research output would have constituted a lifetime’s work for most academicians. ...
16. The defence of Australia
Desmond Ball’s interest in the challenges of planning for the defence of Australia was triggered by the unusual circumstances of the early 1970s. Australian and American forces were completing their withdrawal from Vietnam, Washington was abandoning its military presence elsewhere in Southeast Asia and the principles of the Guam Doctrine ...
17. American bases in Australia revisited
Desmond Ball’s labours through four decades to elucidate the character of United States defence and intelligence facilities in Australia, to document the evidence, test the balance of benefits and dangers to both national security and human security, and then tell the story to his fellow Australians is unparalleled in Australian intellectual and political life, ...
18. Cyber security and the online challenge
I first met Des Ball in 1986 when I was on the Directing Staff of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Staff College and he delivered several lectures on strategic and defence topics. That relationship continued for a couple of years but was substantially reinforced in 1990 when I became the RAAF’s first visiting fellow to the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre (SDSC), ...
19. Pressing the issue
Sir Arthur Tange was a figure inspiring terror at the Department of Defence in his time as its secretary. As he set about incorporating three separate service ministries and sundry defence supply agencies into Defence, the leaks and outraged newspaper articles by newly retired military brass came in a steady stream. ...
Page Count: 244
Publication Year: 2012
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