06/09/2002MSPA 462/02




  • Australia's military contribution to the international coalition against terrorism, called Operation Slipper, is an important component of the Australian Government's commitment to working together with the international community to help prevent acts of terrorism around the world.

  • The Prime Minister announced last October that the Australian Defence Force contribution to coalition operations against terrorism would involve about 1500 Australian Defence Force personnel, comprising an Australian Special Forces detachment, two Air Force Boeing 707 tanker aircraft and support crew for air-to-air refuelling operations, a Naval Task group comprising of an amphibious landing ship and two frigates, four F/A-18 fighter aircraft and support crew for air defence support, and two P3 Orion long range maritime patrol aircraft for reconnaissance tasks.

  • The only capability that has not deployed so far is the P3 Orion aircraft. The Minister for Defence agreed on 13 March 2002 to a deferral of Australia’s offer of P3C Orion aircraft to the coalition against terrorism due to a requirement to proceed with a planned avionics upgrade program.

  • The Australian Defence Force is currently providing between 850 and 1300 people at any one time to support the international coalition's military efforts to combat terrorism.

The Australian contingent has included:

  • The Australian National Command Element, which is forward deployed to the Middle East providing command and control for deployed forces.

  • Representatives at US Central Command (CENTCOM).

  • Two frigates supporting Multinational Interception Force (MIF) operations enforcing United Nations sanctions against Iraq in the Persian Gulf.

  • An amphibious landing ship supporting MIF operations in the Persian Gulf, which has since returned to Australia.

  • A detachment from 16 Air Defence Regiment, which provided an air-defence capability for the amphibious landing ship. The detachment has since returned to Australia with the amphibious landing ship.

  • A deployed tactical command element for Multinational Interception Operations, a position which is shared on a rotational basis with other coalition forces.

  • The leadership position of Operations Group Commander at Manas in Kyrgyzstan.

  • Two B707 air-to-air refuelling aircraft to Manas, Kyrgyzstan

  • Australian Special Operations Forces (SOF) in Afghanistan performing the full spectrum of SOF missions.

  • Royal Australian Air Force C-130 transport aircraft, which have been assisting with transportation of Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel into the area of operations.

  • Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18 fighter aircraft, which conducted air defence operations at Diego Garcia. They have since returned to Australia.


  • The 2001-02 additional estimates provided an extra $330 million to support the Operation Slipper deployments

  • The 2002-03 budget provided an extra $194 million for the international coalition against terrorism until December 2002. For any further contribution after December 2002, or should the operational tempo increase, extra supplementation to the budget will need to be reconsidered by Government.

  • Australia has suffered one fatality in Afghanistan, on February 16, 2002. SGT Andrew Russell was killed in action as the result of a land mine explosion.



  • The Defence Attache for Islamabad returned to Pakistan in Nov 2001.

  • The Defence Attache for Riyadh started in Saudi Arabia this year in May 2002.



Coordinated National Security Response

  • The attacks in the US last September have increased Australia’s focus on the need to address threats such as terrorism, both at home and abroad.

  • The Attorney General’s Department coordinates Commonwealth and State Government agencies’ national response to any potential terrorist threat in Australia.

  • Defence has a part to play with world class capabilities and is very willing and able to address any terrorist threat that may arise.

  • In the last Defence budget, the Government also approved the establishment of a second counter-terrorist Tactical Assault Group located on the East Coast, as well as the formation of an Incident Response Regiment.

  • These coordinated national responses are exercised regularly and are based on the successful plans implemented for the Olympics and the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

Incident Response Regiment and Second Tactical Assault Group

  • Australia’s domestic security arrangements have been strengthened with the establishment of a second counter terrorist tactical assault group located on the East Coast and the strengthening of the Incident Response Unit (IRU) to form the Incident Response Regiment.

  • The formation of the Incident Response Regiment and the Second Tactical Assault Group were announced on 5 Sep 02.

  • These two units form part of the Government’s broader commitment to ensure that Australia has all the capabilities necessary to combat terrorism and other threats to national security.

  • The Incident Response Regiment has its origins in the Joint Incident Response Unit established to provide a response to the chemical, biological, radiological and explosive threat during the Olympics and CHOGM.

  • The second Tactical Assault Group has been formed to provide a response on the East Coast of Australia and is based on the 4th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (Commando).

  • The budget included $219.4 million over four years for the establishment of the second Terrorist Tactical Assault Group and $121million over four years for the establishment of an Incident Response Regiment.



  • Defence joins other Government agencies in regular national counter terrorist exercises.

  • For instance, a National Counter Terrorist Exercise (NATEX) was held in Melbourne from 24-27 June 2002. It was called Exercise New Dawn and involved a number of Commonwealth and State Government agencies practicing national arrangements for the response required against any potential terrorist threats.

  • The NATEX allows the ADF to test the procedures and legislation that allow for ADF support to civilian authorities in the event of a terrorist attack.

  • Participants in the exercise were units from Victoria Police, the State Government, State Emergency Services, the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department, the Australian Defence Force, the Australian Federal Police, other Commonwealth agencies and police units from Tasmania, South Australia and New South Wales.

  • The IRU and the Counter Terrorist Tactical Assault Group participated in the exercise.



  • The first Annual Strategic Review of the strategic settings contained in the Defence 2000 White Paper is currently being undertaken by Defence and is expected to be finalised by September / October 2002.

  • The outcomes of the ASR will inform the development of a revised Defence Capability Plan that aims to meet the requirements of the current and emerging strategic environment. It is intended that the Defence Management and Finance Plan 2003-13 together with the revised Defence Capability Plan will be presented to the Cabinet in October 2002.



  • Australia and the region generally are becoming increasingly more focused on terrorism and how to combat terrorist threats.

  • The current level of commitment presents an opportunity to make multilateral progress on enhancing responses to regional security.

  • Australia is committed to enhancing regional security. In February 2002, Australia signed a MOU with Indonesia on combating international terrorism.

  • Australia will also further our bilateral cooperative efforts to combat terrorism through a similar MOU with Malaysia, signed on 2 August 2002.

  • A MOU on combating international terrorism is also being negotiated with Thailand.

  • Australia welcomes the signing of a trilateral anti-terrorism agreement between Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines as a measure to increase regional cooperation on Counter Terrorism, and encourages further similar arrangements between regional countries.

  • Australia also welcomes the US-ASEAN Joint Declaration for Cooperation to Combat Terrorism, signed in Brunei on 1 August 2002.

  • Australia supports the ARF as a vehicle for counter terrorism cooperation in the region, and is encouraged by the wide participation from regional countries at ARF seminars dealing with aspects of terrorism.

  • Australia co-hosted a seminar with Thailand in Bangkok from 17-19 April 2002 on ‘The Prevention of Terrorism’. It was run by DFAT and comprised largely police, customs, border control and security/intelligence types – Defence was not represented.

  • Malaysia and the United States co-hosted a seminar in Honolulu from 24-26 March 2002 on the financial aspects of terrorism.

  • Senator Hill participated in the Shangri La dialogue in Singapore, the first meeting bringing together regional Defence Ministers to discuss security issues including terrorism.

  • Australia co-hosted the ARF workshop with Thailand.








Issued by Ministerial Services and Public Affairs, Department of Defence, Canberra, ACT, 2600
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