Opinion – Ross Eastgate – 21January 2017
By the time you read this President Donald Trump will have been sworn in as the 45th US president.
He will also be US military commander-in-chief, by some assessments the most powerful position in the world.
Before those of you so inclined start frantically digging bunkers in your back yards, the sun will have risen as normal and there will not have been a rosy glow on the distant, northern horizon.
For the ADF and the US military apparatus it will be business as usual, at least for the foreseeable future.
Standing arrangements for sharing intelligence, joint training and interoperability will continue as they have done for the last several decades.
There will be changes.
The future of the F35 Joint Strike Fighter project in which the RAAF has a considerable interest has been challenged by Trump over its escalating costs, not to mention dubious performance of the platform.
Trump has signalled closer ties with Russia and also that the US will confront Chinese strategic manoeuvring in the western Pacific.
Trump’s selection of retired US Marine General James “Mad Dog” Mattis as defence secretary is a clear indication this administration will take an entirely different position on military strategy and tactics.
Mattis is a complex mix of intellectual historian and experience warfighter who believes in both intimidation and the use of force to achieve strategic outcomes