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Department of Defence
Media Release


02/11/2010 MECC 510/10



Chief of the Defence Force Conference - Counterinsurgency and Stabilisation in the 21st Century



The Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston has held the inaugural Chief of the Defence Force Conference at the Australian Defence College in Canberra.


The conference entitled Beyond Asymmetry: Counterinsurgency and Stabilisation in the 21st Century focuses on one of the most challenging issues facing Australia at the regional and international levels.


Air Chief Marshal Houston said the two-day conference would enable the regional security community to come together to analyse the complexity of the modern strategic security environment.


“Stabilisation interventions have occurred in our immediate region, in Timor-Leste in 1999 and 2006 and the Solomon Islands in 2003. These nation-building missions remain ongoing for both the ADF and our various regional partners and other Government agency colleagues,” Air Chief Marshal Houston said. 


“Beyond our region, we continue to contribute to military contingencies in areas such as the Middle East and Africa to uphold global security through missions that embrace peace operations, maritime security and counter-piracy.


“In Afghanistan, our aim is to prevent that nation from again being used by terrorists to plan, prepare and train to undertake attacks against Australians. We face a determined, skilled and very well supported insurgent group.


“Broadly, General Petraeus’ comprehensive counterinsurgency strategy uses all means available to us to target the insurgency’s support structures and destroying its ability to disrupt security, development and governance. 


“Importantly, the effort is across governments, agencies, military and civilian areas of expertise.


“The ultimate aim for military commanders in any counterinsurgency and stabilisation mission is to ‘shape, clear, hold, build’ against insurgent adversaries and then to transfer the bulk of responsibility for security from the intervention forces to the indigenous forces.


“We must view the building of stability in fragile states as a process in which military assets, political timelines and development benchmarks are sequenced to allow a progressive handover to sustainable governments.”


The biennial conference allows military, civilian and academic professionals who work in the security environment to exchange ideas and learn from field experience and academic analysis. 


The conference has been internationally supported with presenters from India, Pakistan, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as several special representatives from Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. 


Media note:


Still imagery is available at


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Defence Media Liaison: 02 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664



Issued by Ministerial and Executive Coordination and Communication,
Department of Defence,
Canberra, ACT
Phone: 02 6127 1999 Fax: 02 6265 6946
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