Retired-major-general-turned-federal-politician Jim Molan has cast doubt over whether the US military is strong enough to guarantee Australia's security.
Liberal senator-designate Molan will enter parliament next month replacing Fiona Nash who was booted from upper house over her dual citizenship status.
He warns the Australian Defence Force needed greater self-reliance and should address critical vulnerabilities such as fuel and weapons holdings.
"Without doing so, we could be reduced to impotence in less than a week," he wrote in an opinion piece for The Australian.
He said Australia has an expectation, not a right or guarantee, that the US will come to our aid in an extreme scenario.
"There seem to be very strong grounds to question that expectation and to adjust our policy accordingly while remaining the staunchest of US allies," he said.
Under the ANZUS treaty, parties are required to consult and act to meet common danger. But it does not guarantee American military intervention.
Senator-designate Molan said until he was deployed to Iraq with the US military in 2004-05 he made the mistake of assuming US power was infinite.
He detailed shortcomings in the US military.
* Of the 50 Army brigades that make up the combat elements of the 10 US divisions, only three are said to be combat ready.
* The US Navy had 594 ships in 1987 but today it has 278 and needs 355.
* The US Air Force says it needs 1200 fighters but has 923. It's short of 1000 pilots and 3000 maintenance workers. Pilot experience is said to be at historic lows.