Defence Cooperation Program
The Defence Cooperation Program has made a significant contribution to Australia’s international defence engagement since the 1960s. The program:
Syndicate group work during the peacekeeping exercise Pirap Jabiru, held in Thailand in May 2016
- promotes the capacity of our international partners
- improves Australia’s capacity to work with partners in response to common security challenges
- builds strong people-to-people links with regional security partners at the tactical, operational and strategic levels.
The Defence Cooperation Program supports Australia’s strategic interests and its defence relationships with Papua New Guinea (PNG), Indonesia, Timor-Leste, the South-West Pacific, South-East Asia, Pakistan and the Middle East. The objective is to maximise Australia’s security through developing close and enduring links with partners that support their capacity to protect their sovereignty, work effectively with the Australian Defence Force and contribute to regional security.
A key element of the Defence Cooperation Program, and the centrepiece of Australia’s defence engagement in the South Pacific, is the Pacific Patrol Boat Program, and the follow-on Pacific Maritime Security Program, to construct up to 21 replacement patrol vessels in Australia for gifting to Pacific nations from 2018.
Other program highlights in 2015–16 include the following:
- The Timor-Leste Defence Cooperation Program exercise Hari’i Hamutuk was held off Hera in November 2015 and continued to grow as a multilateral engagement activity.
- The PNG Defence Cooperation Program includes a commitment to enhance the ability of the PNG Department of Defence through a three-year partnership plan and the extension of two contracted helicopters to support the PNG Defence Force.
- The Philippines Navy was gifted two refurbished ex-Royal Australian Navy landing craft–heavy, and purchased three additional craft.
- Australia actively participated in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Defence Ministers’ Meeting–Plus framework, co-chairing a working group with Singapore on counter-terrorism that culminated in a successful multilateral maritime counter-terrorism exercise conducted in Brunei and Singapore in May 2016.
- Australia contributed to the success of one of the largest regional multinational peacekeeping training forums, Pirap Jabiru, held in Thailand in May 2016.