House of Representatives Committees

Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade
Committee activities (inquiries and reports)

Australia ’s Defence Relations with the United States

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Canberra 2006

 

© Commonwealth of Australia 2006
ISBN 0 642 78756 5 (printed version)
ISBN 0 642 78757 3 (HTML version)


Contents

Foreword
Membership of the Committee
Membership of the Defence Sub-Committee
Terms of reference
List of abbreviations
List of recommendations

Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 The ANZUS alliance
Chapter 3 Australian force structure, interoperability and intelligence
Chapter 4 Combined defence exercises
Chapter 5 Dialogue with US on Missile Defence
Chapter 6 Australia US relations in Asia Pacific
Chapter 7 Australian defence industry development
Appendix A – List of Submissions
Appendix B – The ANZUS Treaty

Foreword

The Security Treaty between Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America (the ANZUS Treaty) which came into force on 29 April 1952 is a key element supporting Austr alia’s nation al security. The Treaty has operated for more than 50 years and still remains relevant in a strategic environment increasingly ch allenged by terrorism and non-state actors. It is a result of this environment that the Treaty was first invoked following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States (US).

Since World War II, Austr alia and the US have developed strong defence relations. In particular, the last decade has seen a new level of defence relations encompassing Austr alian involvement in the first Gulf War and Austr alian involvement in US led co alitions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The evidence to the committee is overwhelmingly in favour of the alliance and the security that it provides for Australia. There was some discussion about the ongoing relevance of the Treaty and whether there was a need to enhance the Treaty to more broadly reflect contemporary strategic needs. While there was little support for re-negotiating the Treaty, some groups suggested that traditional alliances will need to adjust considerably to defeat the types of asymmetric threats faced by western allies in the 21 st Century. Other groups cautioned that Australia should be more careful in how it manages the alliance to ensure Australia’s interests are not subsumed by those of its larger alliance partner.

The committee through its inquiry has examined how Australia’s alliance with the US impacts on the security of the Asia – Pacific region. Evidence to the inquiry strongly supports US engagement in the Asia – Pacific region and indicates that Australia’s relationship with the US is seen by most countries as a positive influence on regional security. The Committee found that Australia and the US can do more to encourage the development of democratic processes in the security forces of Indonesia and has encouraged the US to lift legislative restrictions on US training assistance to the Indonesian Military. The Committee has also considered the impact on the Australia US Defence relationship of the emergence of a more powerful and assertive China. The Committee found that Australia’s relationship with both the US and China are such that Australia has the potential to act to ease any future tensions that might emerge between these powers.

In undertaking its inquiry the Committee has received significant assistance from both the Australian and US Departments of Defence, including support for a delegation to the US to seek their perspective of the alliance. During this interaction even the most senior US military personnel have consistently reported on the excellence of the performance of the ADF in all training and operational activities. This performance bolsters Australia’s contribution to the alliance and earns great credit for the Australian Defence Force and for Australia.

 

Hon Bruce Scott , MP

Chair

Defence Sub- Committee

Membership of the Committee

Chair

Senator A B Ferguson

 

Deputy Chair

Hon G J Edwards, MP

 

Members

Senator A Bartlett (from 9/12/06)

Hon B G Baird, MP

 

Senator the Hon N Bolkus (until 30/06/05)

Mr P A Barresi, MP

 

Senator G Campbell (until 28/12/05)

Mr M Danby MP

 

Senator the Hon P Cook (until 30/06/05)

Mrs T Draper, MP

 

Senator P M Crossin (from 9/12/05)

Mr S W Gibbons, MP

 

Senator A Eggleston

Mrs J Gash, MP

 

Senator Brian Harradine (until 30/06/05)

Mr B W Haase, MP

 

Senator S Hutchins

Mr M J Hatton, MP

 

Senator D Johnston

Hon D F Jull, MP

 

Senator L J Kirk

Hon J E Moylan, MP

 

Senator K Lundy (until 23/06/05)

Hon G D Prosser, MP

 

Senator J A L Macdonald (until 23/06/05)

Hon B C Scott, MP

 

Senator C M Moore

Mr R C Sercombe, MP

 

Senator M A Payne

Hon W E Snowdon, MP

 

Senator N G Scullion

Dr A J Southcott, MP (from 8/02/06)

 

Senator N Stott Despoja

Mr C P Thompson, MP

 

Senator R Webber

Mr M B Turnball, MP (until 8/02/06)

 

 

Ms M Vamvakinou, MP

 

 

Mr B H Wakelin, MP

 

 

Mr K W Wilkie, MP

 

 

 

Secretary

Dr Margot Kerley

 

Defence Advisor

Lieutenant Colonel Fergus McLachlan

 

Membership of the Defence Sub - Committee

Chair

Hon B C Scott, MP

 

Deputy Chair

Mr M J Hatton, MP

 

Members

Senator A Bartlett

Mrs T Draper, MP

 

Senator P M Crossin

Hon G J Edwards, MP (ex officio)

 

Senator A B Ferguson (ex officio)

Mrs J Gash, MP

 

Senator S Hutchins

Mr S W Gibbons, MP

 

Senator D Johnston

Mr B W Haase, MP

 

Senator M A Payne

Hon W E Snowdon, MP

 

Senator N G Scullion

Mr C P Thompson, MP

 

 

Mr B W Wakelin, MP

 

 

MR K W Wilkie, MP

Committee Secretariat

Secretary

Dr Margot Kerley

Defence Advisor

Lieutenant Colonel Fergus McLachlan

Administrative Officer

Mrs Jessica Butler

 

 

Terms of reference

Since World War Two, Australia and the United States (US) have developed strong defence relations. In particular, the last decade has seen a new level of defence relations encompassing Australian involvement in the first Gulf War, the invoking of the ANZUS Treaty, and Australian involvement in US led coalitions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Defence Update 2003 commented that Australia’s alliance with the US ‘remains a national asset’ and the ‘ United States’ current political, economic, and military dominance adds further weight to the alliance relationship.’

How should the Australian-US alliance be developed to best meet each nation’s security needs both in the Asia Pacific region and globally focusing on but not limited to:

List of abbreviations

ABM

Anti-Ballistic Missile

ADA

Australia Defence Association

ADF

Australian Defence Force

AIC

Australian Intelligence Community

AMTG

Al Muthanna Task Group

ANZUS Treaty

Security Treaty between Australia, New Zealand and the United States

APMLC

Asia Pacific Military Law Centre

ASEAN

Association of Southeast Asian Nations

ASPI

Australian Strategic Policy Institute

AUSMIN

Australian-US Ministerial Consultations

DITR

Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources

DMO

Defence Materiel Organisation

DPRK

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

DSP

Defence Support Program

DSTO

Defence Science and Technology Organisation

FDI

Future Directions International

GDP

Gross Domestic Product

ICTs

Industry Capability Teams

IMET

US International Military Education and Training

ITAR

International Traffic in Arms Regulations

JCTC

Joint and Combined Training Centre

JSF

Joint Strike Fighter

MAPW

Medical Association for Prevention of War, Australia

MBTs

Main Battle Tanks

MOU

Memorandum of Understanding

NATO

North American Treaty Organisation

PACOMD

US Pacific Command

PRC

People’s Republic of China

PSI

Proliferation Security Initiative

RAAF

Royal Australian Air Force

RAMSI

Regional Assistance Mission in the Solomon Islands

RAND

US ‘Think Tank’ (derived from Research and Development)

R&D

Research and Development

RGS

Relay Ground Station

RIMPAC

Rim of the Pacific Exercise

ROE

Rules of Engagement

ROK

Republic of Korea

RSL

Returned and Services League of Australia Limited

SAS

Special Air Service

SBIRS

Space-Based Infra-Red System

SDI

Strategic Defence Initiative

SMEs

Small and Medium Enterprises

SWBTA

Shoal Water Bay Training Area

TAC

Treaty of Amity and Cooperation

UK

United Kingdom

UNAA

United Nations Association of Australia Incorporated

US

United States of America

WILPF

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

WMD

Weapons of Mass Destruction

List of recommendations

The ANZUS alliance

Recommendation 1

The Committee recommends that the ANZUS Alliance be maintained in its current form and that the treaty be viewed not just as a specific set of requirements, rather as a statement of shared values capable of being acted upon in the face of evolving contemporary threats.

Australian force structure, interoperability and intelligence

Recommendation 2

The Committee acknowledges that the free passage of information on the internet is likely to ensure that threat techniques faced by western forces in Iraq and Afghanistan are transmitted to disaffected groups in our region, meaning future regional conflicts may become increasingly violent and lethal. The Committee recommends that force structure decisions must therefore be based on the provision of the best possible protection for Australian Defence personnel.

Recommendation 3

The Committee supports the continuing enhancement of cooperation between Australian and US intelligence agencies; however, sufficient investment must be made in Australian analytical capabilities to ensure Australian analysis of US raw intelligence material is always undertaken.

Combined defence exercises

Recommendation 4

The Committee supports the continuation of joint training between the Australian and US Defence Forces and recommends that the Joint Combined Training Centre (JCTC) concept be codified in a Memorandum of Understanding before Exercise Talisman Sabre 2007.

Recommendation 5

The Committee recommends that the Australian Defence Force continue to apply the most appropriate rules of engagement consistent with the Australian assessment of application of force.

Australian defence industry development

Recommendation 6

The Committee recommends that the Australian Government make every effort to obtain exemption from ITAR from the United States Government in respect of defence goods and services purchased from the United States for Australian Defence Force purposes.

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