In an interview with ABC Radio's The Signal, Ashley Townshend, Director of Foreign Policy and Defence at the US Studies Centre, weighed in on the Australian government's recently announced $270 billion defence strategy.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison outlined the plan at a media conference in Canberra, warning that Australia needs to prepare for a post-pandemic world that is "poorer, more dangerous and more disorderly".
Mr Townshend says the plan is a "step change rather than an intensification".
"To date, we have had the Indo-Pacific as just one focus amongst multiple in terms of where we invest our strategic attention and defence resources," Mr Townshend explained.
"For the best part of the past 20 years, the Australian military has predominantly deployed in the Middle East in support of counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency alongside our coalition partners.
This hasn’t been investing in our neighbourhood," Mr Townshend told listeners.
"What this document calls for is a sharp and focused prioritisation of our strategic neighbourhood, not one of the other side of the world."