Australia hosted a regional Proliferation Security Initiative exercise—Pacific Protector—in Cairns, Queensland from 6–9 September 2017. The exercise built networks, tools and capabilities to counter the illicit trade in weapons of mass destruction worldwide and showcased Australia’s counter-proliferation commitment and engagement in the region. It involved approximately 450 delegates from 21 countries.
Pacific Protector comprised academic sessions, a table top exercise, a subject-matter exchange training program between Australia, the United States, the Philippines, and Thailand, live exercises and demonstrations. Highlights included hosting delegates on HMAS Toowoomba, two low fly-overs by a Japanese AP-3C Orion aircraft and live boarding party demonstrations conducted by the Royal Australian Navy, the Korean Coast Guard and the United States Coast Guard.
Personnel from the ADF’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear team, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, the Australian Border Force and experts from the United States and Philippines armies conducted a simulated search, seizure, and decontamination display.
These exercises enhance capability and coordination across the region on counter-proliferation. They test scenarios for sharing intelligence, establishing quick national decision-making processes, and deploying capabilities and assets to conduct interdictions of illicit material. They also demonstrate to proliferators that the participating countries are capable of monitoring and responding to proliferation activities and are prepared to take action to stop them.