Friday, April 10, 2009

Australia-U.S. Ministerial Consultations Highlight Strong Military Partnership

The Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense met with their Australian counterparts, Minister for Foreign Affairs Stephen Smith, and Minister for Defence Joel Fitzgibbon, in Washington D.C. April 9 to further the alliance and discuss issues of common concern.

Adm. Timothy J. Keating, U.S. Pacific Command’s commander, took part in the talks, which marked the 24th anniversary of the Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) and 58 years of strategic partnership under the ANZUS alliance.

The discussions addressed a wide range of issues in strategic, security, military, and foreign policy fields

During the talks, the U.S. and Australia noted the efforts made by U.S. Pacific Command and the Australian Defence Force to better align their doctrine and procedures for responding to humanitarian and disaster relief operations, and welcomed the ongoing examination of options to hasten joint responses to these catastrophic disasters in the Asia Pacific region.

The value of interoperability between the two countries’ military forces was also acknowledged, as was the conclusion of the Joint Combined Training Capability Memorandum of Understanding, which will increase the value and reduce the cost of combined exercises, and be put to good use during combined Exercise Talisman Saber 2009, which will be held later this year in Australia.

Based on the recommendations of a joint study team, the U.S. and Australia agreed on principles that will guide greater cooperation on intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. The two countries noted efforts to advance their military satellite communications partnership and discussed proposals to improve mutual capabilities in support of U.S. and Australian deployed forces. They also agreed on principles for enhancing intelligence collaboration and cyber security cooperation.

Australia stands as one of America’s closest allies and partners, and the two enjoy a strong and robust military-to-military relationship that continues to expand.

For a complete 2009 AUSMIN overview, see the Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations 2009 Joint Communiqué.

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