Do Not Weep For Jim Molan

Do Not Weep For Jim Molan

by David Archibald

27 November 2018


Jim Molan had a long and distinguished military career. In retirement he decided to continue serving his country by seeking to be elected as a Liberal senator for NSW. He was put fourth on the Liberal ticket in the 2016 election as a bit of window dressing, but not expected to get up. Then Fiona Nash was disqualifed due to dual citizenship and Jim Molan entered parliament just under a year ago.

High expectations were held for Senator Molan. This was a bloke who once ran the entire Allied war effort in Iraq. If anybody knew where the bodies were buried, it would be him. But he has been as silent as the grave.

Nothing on the travesty that is the F-35. The latest on that is that the foreign buyers — that includes us — are being stuck for a last job lot of aircraft while the US Department of Defense takes a fraction of its supposed long term share of production. A historical precedent is the F-104, in which the foreign buyers, in part bribed by Lockheed, took the bulk of production. Like the F-35 the F-104 had poor handling characteristics, which made it a poor fighter.

Nothing either on the French submarines. The RAN is persisting in building them with lead acid batteries, a technology from the 19th century. Now South Korea has announced lithium-ion battery power stacks are being developed to increase the underwater endurance of its Chang Bogo-class submarines by “two to three times, offering four to five times the power density of the Type 209’s current lead-acid batteries and as much as twice the power density of Type 214’s BZM 120 fuel cells”.

Japanese and now South Korean submarines will be able to spend three times as long without surfacing as the ‘regionally superior’ submarines that Australia will be launching a couple of decades from now. The Japanese and South Koreans must be thinking that we have lost our minds. That is true in part, but it is more that the people running the country don’t know and don’t care.

Australia’s military procurement efforts are run so stupidly that they are beyond laughable. They are an existential risk. Yet Senator Molan has made no detectable effort to turn this situation around. We do not have high expectations of the other military men that the Liberals have put into parliament, Andrew Hastie and David Fawcett, and neither have exceeded those low expectations. But Jim Molan rose to the rank of major general. Now he will be replaced by a Photios drone.

Weep for Australia, not Jim Molan.


David Archibald is the author of American Gripen: The Solution to the F-35 Nightmare.