Chapter Two > Outcome One: Command of Operations > Performance Summary

Outcome One: Command of Operations

Performance Summary

During 2003-04, the ADF sustained a major commitment to the Australian whole-of-government effort to assist in the rehabilitation of Iraq under Operation Catalyst, following the completion of Operation Falconer in July 2003. The volatility of the Middle East Area of Operations required a flexible and innovative approach to the conduct of operations. The ADF has maintained ground forces in Iraq in command and protective roles, including military staff officers embedded in coalition headquarters and, more recently, forces undertaking training tasks to support the establishment of Iraqi military forces.

The ADF has maintained a frigate on duty in the Arabian Gulf and P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft and C-130 Hercules aircraft and support crews in the Middle East Area of Operations. The ADF has maintained concurrently a small commitment under Operation Slipper to contribute to the international coalition against terrorism, including both the frigate and the P-3 Orion aircraft being assigned to Operations Catalyst and Slipper. A modest deployment under Operation Palate supported the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan from April 2003 to June 2004.

Operations Mazurka, Paladin and Pomelo continued as the ADF contribution to other UN peacekeeping commitments beyond our immediate region. Operation Osier, the deployment of ADF personnel as part of the Stabilisation Force in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia, and the Kosovo Force in Kosovo, was completed in February 2004.

In Australia's immediate region, the overall ADF commitment was reduced during 2003-04. Operation Bel Isi II was successfully completed in August 2003 with the withdrawal of all ADF assets from Bougainville. Operation Citadel in East Timor continued, with force reductions in line with the drawdown and changes in the UN mandate. In May 2004, Operation Citadel was subsumed by Operation Spire, a smaller multinational force of which the ADF provides about 25 per cent of the military component, primarily in support roles.

Operation Anode commenced in July 2003 as an ADF-led multinational regional force commitment to assist the Government of the Solomon Islands. Operation Anode was a major ADF commitment to support the coalition police forces in restoring the rule of law in the Solomon Islands. The ADF combined with forces from New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Tonga to provide a secure and stable environment and robust logistic support. This allowed the Australian Federal Police and the regional police forces to assist with redeveloping the Royal Solomon Islands Police and restoring public confidence.

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The improved security situation has allowed the phased withdrawal of military forces and the transition to contracted administrative and logistic support for the Australian Federal Police. A smaller combined ADF and regional military force remains in the Solomon Islands in support of the ongoing police-led activities.

The ADF continued to contribute to peacetime national tasks as directed by the Government. This contribution was made predominantly through Operation Relex II: the conduct of air and surface patrols across Australia's northern approaches to deter unauthorised boat arrivals. The ADF's contribution to the civil surveillance program, in cooperation with Coastwatch, was provided through Operations Relex II and Cranberry. Support to the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs to manage any increase in unauthorised boat arrivals through Operation Gaberdine ended in June 2004. Customs-led surface patrols of the Southern Ocean were supported through Operation Mistral.

Surveillance tasks conducted previously under Operations Burbage, Osteal and Mellin were subsumed into Operation Cranberry. Other surveillance operations that were conducted when resources were available included Operations Estes and Solania.

The other operations and activities undertaken by the ADF during the year were:

  • Operation Gemsbok: support to Coastwatch and the Australian Fisheries Management Authority in apprehending a foreign vessel that was fishing illegally in the Heard Island - McDonald Island Exclusive Economic Zone;
  • Operation Scrummage: ceremonial, protocol and security support during the Rugby World Cup;
  • Operation Miata: security support during the visit to Australia by the President of the United States of America;
  • Operation Fluent: security support during the visit to Australia by the President of the People's Republic of China;
  • Operation Iran Assist: disaster relief following a major earthquake in Iran;
  • Operation Niue Assist: deployment of an ADF medical team to assist in disaster relief following the impact of Cyclone Heta;
  • Operation Nauru Assist: providing an explosive ordnance demolition team to dispose of World War II-era unexploded ordnance;
  • Operation Vanuatu Assist: assisting in disaster relief following Cyclone Ivy; and
  • Operation Mistral: providing support to Australian Customs civil surface patrols of the Southern Ocean.


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