ASPI suggests (Amelia Long, David Lang, The Strategist)

Clinton and Trump went toe-to-toe this week for the first Presidential debate. 30 minutes in, it looked like Trump was pulling off ‘The Haranguing at Hofstra’, but Clinton soon stepped forward to slay an increasingly unhinged DJT with her studied wonkery, serene expression and even a shimmy. If you’re reading this you’ve likely imbibed a lot of debate analysis already, so we’ll just present our favourite piece (not to be ‘braggadocious’): Frank Bruni’s Sympathy for the Donald. (Break here for an effective post-Trump treatment, captured at the infamous Altamont ‘69 concert. We have no word on whether the Hells Angels will take on crowd control duties at the second debate…)

Replacing the Rhino (Malcolm Davis, The Strategist)

The 2016 Defence White Paper (DWP16) signals that ‘options to replace the Super Hornets in the late 2020s will be considered in the early 2020s in the light of developments in technology and the strategic environment and will be informed by our experience in operating the Joint Strike Fighters’. As Andrew Davies and I previously argued, rather than rushing such a decision, Australia should pause to consider exploiting the revolutionary potential offered by Unmanned Combat Air Systems (UCAS). In this regard, it’s worth looking at the USAF’s Air Superiority 2030 (AS-2030) Flight Plan, which is the latest American perspective on the future of air power.

US strategic policy and public opinion (Rod Lyon, The Strategist)

In the wake of the first presidential debate, we’ve settled into the political trivia season: did Trump have the sniffles? But there are much larger questions at stake. For example, are we about to see a prolonged period when ‘America First’ dominates US strategic policy, regardless of who wins on 8 November? I’m trying not to use the i-word here, because America First needn’t actually mean ‘isolationism’. But I’m concerned that the positions Trump’s retailing reflect a longer-term and more substantial shift in the US electorate’s thinking about America’s role in the world.