Chapter One > Year in Review > Implementing the White Paper > page 5 of 6

Implementing the White Paper

Initiatives to Enhance Strategic Relationships

Throughout the year, Defence supported an extensive range of strategic relationships through involvement in multilateral arrangements in the Asia Pacific region as well as bilateral defence and security relationships, in particular the alliance with the United States.

In 2003-04, Defence strengthened Australia's international defence relationships through visits, exercises and operations. Notable achievements included:

  • contributing to post-war efforts in Iraq to ensure stability and contribute to the continuing reconstruction, including by training personnel for the new Iraqi armed forces and advising on the development of the new Iraqi Ministry of Defence;
  • contributing to the war against terrorism and to international responses to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction;
  • further developing relationships in the Pacific in support of the ADF's contribution to the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands;
  • strengthening security relationships in the Asia Pacific region, including through the provision of further support to Papua New Guinea Defence Force reform, a revised Closer Defence Relations Statement with New Zealand and peace monitoring operations in Bougainville (ceased 26 August 2003);
  • contributing to UN activities in East Timor and supporting the establishment of the East Timor Defence Force;
  • improving Australia-United States security cooperation through joint commitments to cooperate on missile defence, to enhance interoperability through initiatives such as formal endorsement of a statement of principles on interoperability, agreement to develop collaboratively the Joint Combined Training Centre and efforts to improve cooperation in regional security engagement;
  • continuing development of relationships in the Middle East in support of current ADF deployments and our long-term interests in the region, including the commencement of a bilateral defence relationship with the new Iraqi Government;
  • continuing support for the Five Power Defence Arrangements; and
  • undertaking a range of defence cooperation activities in our region, including the commencement of the Life Extension Program for Pacific-class Patrol Boats.

Updates to the Defence International Engagement Strategic Plan and related plans have continued to improve the provision of integrated and current guidance to Defence on international engagement program objectives.

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Initiatives to Make the Best Use of Science and Technology and Australian Industry

The Government seeks to exploit technological opportunities to enhance ADF capability. To achieve this, Defence relies on its Defence Science and Technology Organisation and a competitive industry base to support a technologically advanced ADF.

In 2003-04, Defence's ability to achieve this goal was enhanced by a range of activities, including:

  • continuing its science and technology program and contributing to the Government's national research priorities, focusing on the 'Safeguarding Australia' priority1;
  • working closely with government research agencies to improve collaboration with universities and industry, especially with a view to enhancing Australia's national science and innovation system2;
  • undertaking high-priority research into transformational defence technologies, network centric warfare, battlespace automation, defence against terrorism, ADF platform analysis and reducing the costs of ownership and operations;
  • continuing the Capability and Technology Demonstrator Program to investigate how new, technology-driven capabilities can be introduced into wider ADF service, with the Government approving eight high technology proposals from industry to enhance communications networking, tactical sensors and data fusion; and
  • embracing the recommendations of the review by Mr Robert Trenberth of the Defence Science and Technology Organisation's 'external engagement and contribution to Australia's wealth', by developing a plan to improve technology access for industry, especially small to medium enterprises, and enhancing existing commercialisation mechanisms for technology transfer in order to build national wealth3.

  1. National research priorities are coordinated by the Department of Education, Science and Training. Additional information is available at: http://www.dest.gov.au.
  2. The mapping of Australia's science and innovation system was coordinated by the Department of Education, Science and Training. Additional information is available at: http://www.dest.gov.au.
  3. Under the direction of the Minister, the Trenberth review investigated the Defence Science and Technology Organisation's external engagement and role in national wealth creation. Additional information is available at: http://www.dsto.defence.gov.au/trenberth.html.

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