Australia’s military contribution to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan is deployed under Operation SLIPPER. Australia’s military contribution includes an annual average of 1,550 Australian Defence Force personnel deployed within Afghanistan. These numbers vary depending on operational requirements and shifting seasonal conditions. About 800 personnel provide support from locations within the broader Middle East Area of Operations, including our maritime commitment. In keeping with the ISAF strategy to strengthen civilian engagement in Afghanistan and to better integrate civilian and military efforts, Australia now has about 50 civilians working in Afghanistan, in addition to around ten Defence civilians.
Australia’s substantial military, civilian and development assistance focuses on:
Force Elements Currently Deployed as part of Joint Task Force 633
Command and Control
Headquarters Joint Task Force 633 (HQJTF 633), based in the United Arab Emirates, provides command and control of all ADF elements deployed throughout the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO) as part of Operation SLIPPER. JTF 633 is commanded by Major General Michael Peter Crane DSC, AM.
Headquarters Joint Task Force 633 – Afghanistan (HQJTF 633-A) - Based in Kabul, provides JTF 633’s interface with the ISAF Headquarters and other agencies in Afghanistan. HQJTF 633-A is commanded by Brigadier Peter Short.
Australian Leadership of Combined Team – Uruzgan (CT-U)
CT-U is the name of the ISAF-led multinational effort in Uruzgan province.
CT-U ensures the right command structures, organisational structures, and resources are in place to enable the crucial integration of the civilian and military elements of the campaign, and the achievement of both civilian and military objectives.
CT-U comprises of personnel from the United States, Australia, Singapore and the Slovak Republic.
CT-U works under an ISAF flag.
Australia assumed leadership of Combined Team – Uruzgan in late 2012.
The CTU commander is Australian Colonel Simon Stuart.
US Army Colonel Douglas Cardinale is the Deputy Commander of CT-U.
Australia assuming leadership was a positive step in the transition process.
The new command role should be viewed as a positive part of the transition to Afghan security leadership in Uruzgan province and ensuring Australia, in concert with the Afghan authorities manage that process appropriately.
The current US enablers will remain in support of the Australian led CT-U.
Our leadership of CT-U does not increase ADF numbers in the province, and does not reflect the US significantly reducing its commitment to the CT-U coalition arrangement.
Currently, the Australian component of CT-U is called the Australian Task Force (AusTF) which includes;
Components of the Australian Defence Force deployed to Afghanistan in detail
Element of the Headquarters Combined Team – Uruzgan (HQCT-U)
Approximately 100 ADF personnel work within the HQ CT-U providing support to operations in Uruzgan province. The headquarters commands, administers and coordinates the multinational operations of the CT-U.7 RAR Task Group
Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT)
Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) are teams of civilian and military personnel working together to facilitate the delivery of stability, governance and development activities at the provincial and district level.
In delivering the Commander ISAF’s counterinsurgency strategy of “shape, clear, hold and build,” there are more than 26 Provincial Reconstruction Teams operating in provinces across Afghanistan delivering on the “build” phase of the strategy.
The Uruzgan-based PRT is predominantly focused on governance and development programs. These are civilian areas of expertise and therefore it is appropriate that these efforts are led by a civilian.
Australia has provided the senior civilian coordinator in the Provincial Reconstruction Team who is from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Other Australian Government agencies involved with the PRT include:
Australian Defence Force Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) Support Element
The PRT Support Element provide Force protection to the civilian element of the PRT, a managed works team and the trade training school.
Approximately 65 ADF personnel are deployed to the PRT Support Element to provide force protection transport support.
Provincial Reconstruction Team civilian and military advisers engage directly with the Afghan Government and the community to:
These activities are critical to connecting the Afghan Government with the people in Uruzgan.
The Trade Training School, previously run by the Mentoring Task Force, has been conducting basic plumbing, carpentry, concreting and bricklaying courses since 2006.
An advanced construction workers course has been offered since July 2007, providing a greater depth of training in plumbing, carpentry, concreting and bricklaying as well as developing basic Foreman skills, with the overall aim of building sustainable Afghan trade professions.
Ongoing development projects being conducted by the PRT, supported by the ADF Managed Works Team, are aimed at enhancing health, education and other vital infrastructure within Tarin Kot, with ADF assisted projects having included:
Some of the projects completed by previous Australian Defence Force rotations include:
Australian Defence Force enabling capabilities deployed to Afghanistan
The following enabling units are deployed to Afghanistan in support of CT-U.
Unmanned Aerial System Detachment
Based at the Multinational Base - Tarin Kot, the Unmanned Aerial System Detachment from 20th Surveillance Targeting Acquisition Regiment operates the Shadow 200 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.
The Shadow provides tactical aerial reconnaissance support to land forces in Uruzgan province.
The Shadow UAS commenced operations in Afghanistan in 2012.
The Heron Remotely Piloted Vehicle (RPV) is a much larger aircraft than the Shadow Unmanned Aerial Vehicle and is capable of providing medium altitude reconnaissance, surveillance and mission support.
The Heron detachment includes 28 Australian Defence Force personnel.
Weapons Intelligence Team (WIT)
A key component of the Counter Improvised Explosive Device (IED) battle is the Weapons Intelligence Team (WIT). The small unit analyses IED components used by insurgents so the Australian Defence Force can determine the best methods of countering the IED threat, through informing tactics, techniques and procedures, as well as equipment design and development.
Counter - Rocket Artillery and Mortar (C-RAM) system
The Australian Defence Force has responsibility for early detection against rocket, artillery and mortar attacks at Multi-National Base Tarin Kot in Uruzgan province, Afghanistan.
A C-RAM ‘sense and warn’ capability has been operating effectively at MNB-TK since late December 2010 and consists of two GAMB 740 radars, a number of Lightweight Counter Mortar Radars and associated Command and Control and warning equipment.
Other Australian Defence Force Elements in support
Special Operations Task Group (SOTG)
The Australian Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) is deployed to Southern Afghanistan to conduct population-centric, security and counter-network operations. At around 300 personnel, the SOTG is one of the largest, most potent Special Forces units in Afghanistan.
The SOTG is primarily based in Multi-National Base Tarin Kot but has command and liaison elements in Kandahar and Kabul.
It consists of approximately 300 personnel from the 1st and 2nd Commando Regiments, the Special Air Service Regiment, the Special Operations Engineer Regiment, the Special Operations Logistic Squadron, and various other services, units and commands around Australia.
The SOTG trains, mentors and partners with Afghan National Police officers from the Uruzgan Provincial Response Company (PRC) and other branches of the Afghan National Security Forces, in order to build their capacity and capability to establish and maintain security and stability in the region.
SOTG operations are Afghan Police led in order to build confidence in the ANSF and improve the connection between the local people and the Afghan Government.
The Task Group also works closely with the co-located CT-U providing Special Forces support to operations in Uruzgan province.
The identity of SOTG soldiers are protected.
Counter Improvised Explosive Device Task Force (CIED TF)
In February 2006 the Chief of Defence Force directed the establishment of a dedicated Task Force to coordinate and monitor the Australian Defence Force’s response to the IED threat – the ADF Counter Improvised Explosive Device Task Force (CIED TF).
The Australian Defence Force’s approach to combating the IED threat is heavily reliant on robust and adaptable tactics, techniques and procedures (TPPs).
Defence, in parallel with its ISAF partners, is constantly exploring technology–based opportunities to strengthen its counter IED capabilities. The Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) performs a critical role in this area.
The CIED TF has strong links to our ISAF partners and has personnel deployed to support operations in Afghanistan as well as the United States at the Joint IED Defeat Organisation.
The Multi National Base –Tarin Kot
The Multi National Base –Tarin Kot has a Commanding Officer who is responsible for coordinating logistics resupply, aviation, medical and base support functions.
The Commanding Officer position rotates between the troop contributing nations that share the base. Currently the Commanding Officer is a RAAF Wing Commander.Multi National Base – Tarin Kot Security Force Element
In October, Australia assumed responsibility for ground defence and security at Multi National Base – Tarin Kot.
Multi National Base – Tarin Kot Security Force Element will work directly to the Australian Multi National Base Commander who is responsible for the continued functioning of the base and associated airfield.
RAAF ground defence and security personnel are well trained to provide security and access control to large fixed installations such as Multinational Base – Tarin Kot as they are normally employed to protect and secure airfields.
The ADF Security Force Element comprises Ground Defence Officers, Airfield Defence Guards and Security Police from 395 Expeditionary Combat Support Wing headquartered at RAAF Base Amberley, Queensland.
Role 2 Medical Facility
Located at Multi National Base –Tarin Kot, the US led Role 2 Medical Facility provides primary surgery for casualties and emergency.
The ADF provides approximately three personnel in support to the facility.
Joint Movements Coordination Centre
Movements and transport are fundamental enablers to operations. Movement control and coordination involves the planning, routing, scheduling and control of personnel and cargo movements to and from Australia, and throughout the MEAO.
A Joint Movements Coordination Centre (JMCC) deployed across the MEAO provides effective and efficient movements support to the deployed forces. The JMCC undertakes the movement planning, control, coordination and execution of this support in accordance with the force’s requirements and priorities.
ADF operations in the MEAO are geographically dispersed and supported by dedicated military transport assets, contracted and commercial air assets, and where required, Royal Australian Navy ships, coalition and commercial road transport assets.
Force Support Unit
The Force Support Unit (FSU) is a joint unit providing logistic support, camp maintenance and theatre induction training for ADF elements in the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO).
The current Force Support Unit Seven (FSU-7) is primarily comprised of Army personnel with numerous Navy and Air Force members drawn from various units and bases across Australia.
The tasks of the FSU include the management and distribution of supplies and equipment necessary for the conduct of operations, the provision of postal support throughout the MEAO and base maintenance support in Tarin Kot and Kandahar.
The FSU is also responsible for the provision of MEAO induction training for all personnel entering the Middle East. This training provides acclimatisation and final preparation for personnel before they move forward to their Task Groups. The training consists of operational briefings, equipment issues, weapons handling testing, live firing, and combat first aid training.
Force Support Unit is in three locations throughout the MEAO including the headquarters at Al Minhad Air Base, Tarin Kot and Kandahar.
Force Communications Unit
The Force Communications Unit (FCU) is a joint unit responsible for the provision of national command and welfare communications and information systems to Joint Task Force 633, supporting National Command and Control across the MEAO. The FCU has elements at every location the ADF is deployed to in the MEAO.
Locations range from Headquarters JTF633 in the UAE through to forward operating bases and patrol bases in Uruzgan, Afghanistan. Currently FCU-8 is drawn form the 7th Combat Signal Regiment based in Brisbane, with contingents from the RAAF and Navy.
Rotary Wing Group
First deployed to Afghanistan in 2006, Australia’s Rotary Wing Group (RWG) from the Townsville-based 5th Aviation Regiment operates two CH-47D Medium Lift Helicopters from Kandahar Airfield in support of ISAF helicopter operations.
The CH-47D, a tandem rotor cargo helicopter with a maximum all up weight of 50,000lbs (22,727kg), provides significant lift capability in high density-altitude conditions, making it well suited to operations within Afghanistan’s harsh environment.
Australian CH-47Ds are currently embedded with the United States Army’s 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, known as Task Force Wings. RWG performs combat service support, combat support and air mobile missions.
Approximately 65 ADF personnel serve with the RWG and are deployed to support operations from February to October each year.
Role 3 medical Specialists – Kandahar Air Field
During 2012, two rotations of eight medical specialists will deploy to the Kandahar ISAF Role 3 Medical Facility each for a period of four months, to work alongside US teams providing specialist medical support.
Personnel from all three Services have been selected based on their specialist skill sets which include General Surgeons, Anaesthetists, Orthopaedic Surgeons, Perioperative Nurses and Intensive Care Nurses.
The majority of personnel deployed in this function are Reservists who bring highly sought after clinical skills to the operational area.
Joint Task Force 633 Air Component Headquarters
The JTF633 Air Component provides coordination and tasking support to HQ JTF633 for all aircraft and air combat support elements assigned to Operation SLIPPER.
Air Mobility Task Unit (AM TU)
The AM TU fly and maintains two C-130J aircraft which provide intra-theatre air movement for Australian and Coalition forces throughout the MEAO and Afghanistan. An additional C-130J aircraft is force assigned when required during planned surge periods.
C-17 aircraft from 36 Squadron, based at Amberley in South east Queensland, provide routine strategic lift support to Australian forces in the MEAO including Afghanistan.
Combat Support Unit (CSU)
The CSU is comprised of maintenance and support personnel who manage the ADF’s administrative and support functions at Al Minhad Air Base (AMAB), including management of Air Load Teams in Afghanistan and support personnel for the Coalition Air Operations Centre Detachment.
Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) Detachment
A small ADF element is co-located with the MEAO CAOC. This detachment provides important information and liaison duties to enable ADF air operations throughout the MEAO.
Since the commencement of Operation SLIPPER in 2001, Australia has maintained a maritime contribution to operations in the MEAO.
Currently this consists of a Major Fleet Unit, the Anzac Class Frigate, HMAS Toowoomba, which is flexibly cross tasked between US-led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) Combined Task Forces focused on counter-terrorism, counter-piracy and providing maritime security in the Arabian Gulf.
Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) is an international naval partnership which exists to promote security, stability and prosperity across 2.5 million square miles of international waters in and around the Middle East and along the Somali coastline in Africa, encompassing some of the world’s most important shipping lanes.
CMF has three principle task forces: Combined Task Force 150 (maritime security and counter-terrorism), Combined Task Force 151 (counter-piracy) and Combined Task Force 152 (Arabian Gulf security and cooperation).
CMF counters violent extremism and terrorist networks in maritime areas of responsibility; works with regional and other partners to improve overall security and stability; helps strengthen regional nations’ maritime capabilities and, when requested, responds to environmental and humanitarian crises.
HMAS Toowoomba is conducting maritime security operations across the Combined Maritime Forces’ area of operations. HMAS Toowoomba entered the MEAO in January 2013.
ADF personnel embedded with Coalition Headquarters
Australian Defence Force members are also embedded across a number of Coalition headquarters throughout the MEAO providing critical, specialist staff effort in support of operations.
Other ADF elements deployed in AfghanistanANA Officer Training
The ANA School of Artillery is progressing towards autonomous operation; this is due to occur on 01 April 2013. At this time Australia’s commitment to the ANA School of Artillery will conclude.205 Corps Coalition Advisory Team
A number of ADF personnel are embedded with ANA 205th Corps Headquarters in Kandahar province.
205th Coalition Advisory Team provides mentorship, advice, training and assistance to the regional headquarters staff of the Afghan National Army at Camp Hero in Kandahar province.
The Coalition Advisory Team is made up of 20 Australians and 4 Americans, whose mission is to support independent operations by the Afghan National Security Forces.
The Afghan National Army’s 205th Hero Corps assumed responsibility for security in southern Afghanistan on 1 July 2012.Operation PALATE II - Two ADF officers are attached to the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan to maintain contact and liaison with all military forces throughout Afghanistan.