Assistant Minister for Defence, Stuart Robert, tomorrow (Sunday 5 October 2014) departs for Hawaii to attend the Australian-American Leadership Dialogue, before visiting New Zealand to meet with New Zealand’s Vice Chief of the Defence Force, Air Vice-Marshal Kevin Short and other senior and military personnel.
The Australian-American Leadership Dialogue brings together leading Australian and American representatives from government, enterprise, media, education and the community to discuss the Australia?United States bilateral relationship. The Dialogue has been held annually since 2008 with a focus on defence, security, energy and climate issues.
“Australia’s Alliance with the United States remains the cornerstone of our strategic and security architecture. Our Alliance continues to be an anchor of stability in the Asia?Pacific and beyond, and our close cooperation on defence and security issues remains vital to both countries’ national interests,” Mr Robert said.
“Australia supports the United States’ diplomatic, economic and military rebalance to the Asia-Pacific and sees increased US engagement as essential to its continued peace, security and prosperity.”
He said the force posture initiatives in northern Australia – involving the rotational deployments of US Marines and, over time, enhanced aircraft cooperation – are a practical demonstration of Australia’s support for the rebalance and our shared commitment to regional stability.
“The initiatives also provide opportunities for greater collaboration with regional defence partners to build regional cooperation and capacity.”
Hawaii is home to the US Pacific Command (PACOM). PACOM is integral to the US rebalance and is responsible for the Asia-Pacific, a region which covers over half of the Earth’s surface, including Australia’s immediate neighborhood.
“Australia greatly values the deep and constructive relationship we share with PACOM,” Mr Robert said.
“As economic, political and military influence shift toward the Asia-Pacific, Australia will continue its close collaboration with PACOM as a means of upholding the stability from which all countries in the region have prospered.”
Following his visit to Hawaii, Mr Robert will travel to New Zealand to meet with the New Zealand Vice Chief of the Defence Force, Air Vice-Marshal Kevin Short and other senior military personnel and officials.
While in New Zealand, Mr Robert will discuss key organisational challenges and research priorities of the Defence Technology Agency (DTA) as well as collaboration with Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Organisation. Sharing information on personnel issues is also a priority.
“I look forward to exchanging views on a range of personnel issues including management of cultural change and the benefits of a more diverse workforce in our Defence organisations,” Mr Robert said.
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