31 January 2012

News Story: Dassault Rafale wins MMRCA deal beating Eurofighter Typhoon

NEW DELHI: French company Dassault Rafale today bagged India's biggest-ever contract for supplying 126 combat aircraft for the air force, edging out European competitor EADS in the multi-billion dollar deal. 

The French firm was declared as the lowest bidder, according to which it will get the contract under India's defence procurement procedure, sources said. 

Read the full story at THE TIMES OF INDIA

AUS: Defence Minister meets Russian Foreign Minister

Stephen Smith MP

Today in Sydney I met with Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Sergey Lavrov, who is inAustralia for a formal bilateral visit with the Foreign Minister as a guest of the Australian Government.
Australia and Russia enjoy friendly Defence relations. Our official dialogue, the biennial Australia-Russia Political and Military Strategic Dialogue will be held in Australia this year. Minister Lavrov and I discussed enhancing our Defence to Defence discussions and the potential to make Defence discussions annual.
Australia welcomed the entry of Russia, along with the United States, into the expanded East Asia Summit (EAS) last year. Russia and the United States joined with ASEAN countries plus Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea. 
“Presidents and Prime Ministers, Foreign Ministers and Defence Ministers from all key countries in our region now all meet in the expanded EAS format to discuss the full range of issues, from the economy and trade and investment through to peace and security and defence,” Mr Smith said.
“The EAS format for Defence Ministers, the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus), creates an institution in which EAS Defence Ministers can have a conversation about the full range of peace and security matters. Australia and Russia are committed to working cooperatively in this forum. Minister Lavrov and I discussed the potential to enhance our Defence contact in this important piece of regional architecture.”

AUS: 3RAR Arrive in Townsville

Royal Australian Regiment (Wiki Info)

The Third Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (3 RAR) are finally here! 

After years of planning and months of anticipation, the men and women of 3 RAR are, this week, beginning work at their new lines at Lavarack Barracks following their move from Holsworthy Barracks in Sydney. 

They are getting down to business in their state of the art facilities, which are anticipated to be the envy of many units around the country. 

3 RAR’s arrival means the three original Battalions of the Royal Australian Regiment are based in the same location for the first time since 1948. 

The Commanding Officer of 3RAR, Lieutenant Colonel (LTCOL) Trent Scott has said his soldiers are adjusting to Townsville and are looking forward to being officially welcomed by the Council and community on 10 February. 

“We are looking forward to commencing work and meeting with residents at our welcome parade at the Strand next week.” LTCOL Scott said. 

“It will be one of a few occasions that mark our official arrival in Townsville and I know all of us are grateful for the support of the community,” he said. 

The move commenced last November with the majority of the soldiers and their families completing their move early in 2012 for what will be a busy year for the Battalion; as they settle in to their new location they will also be preparing for deployment later in the year. 

Along with the Welcome Parade on 10 February the Battalion is also looking forward to their first Kapyong Day in Townsville on 24 April when they will officially open their new headquarters at Lavarack Barracks. 

The Welcome Parade is at 10am on 10 February at ANZAC Park at the Strand Townsville; all members of the public are invited to attend. 

News Story: (Australia) Defence urged to shift its presence to the north

Hobart class Destroyer (Wiki Info)


THE Australian Defence Force has been urged to build a new naval base at Brisbane as part of a dramatic boost to its presence in northern Australia.

A new report also calls for big upgrades to key northwestern ports and airfields to deter potential aggressors and protect billions of dollars' worth of energy infrastructure.

The recommendations came yesterday in a progress report on the government's Force Posture Review, which is considering how to best configure Australia's defence assets to meet modern needs, particularly the growing strength of China and India.

Read the full story at The Australian

News Story: Australia's navy told to be more visible near resource projects

HMAS Perth ANZAC Frigate

James Grubel

CANBERRA (Reuters) - Defense planners urged Australia's military on Monday to maintain a stronger presence in the country's north and northwest to guard the booming resource industry and be better placed to respond to challenges from Asia and the Indian Ocean.

An interim report of Australia's defense posture review said

a more visible military presence could counter perceptions that offshore oil and gas projects could be easy targets.

Read the full story at The Chicago Tribune

News Story: 14 countries to join India in naval exercise

Indian Frigate (File Photo)

NEW DELHI: Aiming to strengthen cooperation among the navies in the region, Indian Navy will host 14 of its counterparts from South East Asia, Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region ( IOR) for the eighth edition of the Milan exercise in Andaman and Nicobar Islands starting Wednesday.

The five-day exercise will see the participation of Seychelles and Mauritius for the first time in the event where nine countries, including India, will field their warships, Navy officials said here.

Read the full story at The Economic Times

India: Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne Chief of Air Staff’s Visit to Malaysia

SU-30 Flanker (File Photo)

Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne, Chief of the Air Staff is on a four day official visit to Malaysia from 30 Jan to 04 Feb 2012. During his stay at Kaula Lampur he will meet the Malaysian Chief of Defence Force General Tan Sri Dato Sri Zulkifeli bin Mohd Zin and Chief of royal Malaysian Air Force, Gen Tan Sri Dato Sri Rodzali bin Daud and discuss a wide range of bilateral issues on Defence Co-operation.
A team of IAF pilots and technicians were in Malaysia in 2008 for a period of 2 years to train the Malaysian Pilots, Weapon System Operators and Maintenance staff for the smooth induction and operation of their newly acquired Su-30 MKM fighter aircraft. They also helped them set up a Systems School for the Su-30 MKM at Gong Kedak Air Base. The Air Chief would be visiting Gong Kedak and Subang Airbases and hold talks on issues including professional exchanges, Su-30 Training, Courses, Maintenance and Logistic issues. 

News Story: Indonesian military aims to modernize its weaponry to boost defence capacities of the country

Sukhoi "Flanker" Fighter

Indonesian military has attempted to modernize its weaponry that will put it a par with neighboring countries and boosted skills of personal as the challenges to be faced in the future.

Indonesia has had ten Sukhoi jet fighters and aimed to receive two others each year by 2014 and several F16 war planes, but many others weaponry had been aging. The government had added the task of the military to deter terrorism along with police. Besides, transnational crimes and separatism in Papua still threatened the country.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has said that the government sought to purchase military equipment from European countries suffering from the economic crisis and may want to trim their weaponry, from which the president expected Indonesia could buy them cheaper.

Read the full story at Army Recognition

News Stroy: Pacific Fleet Mariners to Visit Philippines First in 96 Years

Wiki Info

Pacific Fleet (PF) task unit headed by Capt 1 rank Andrei Saprykin and consisting of large ASW ship Admiral Panteleyev, tanker Boris Butoma, and salvage tug Fotiy Krylov on Jan 31 arrives in Manila, Philippines, PF press secretary Capt 1 rank Roman Martov told Central Navy Portal

Read the full story at RusNavy

News Story: PNG rivals strut stage in theatre of the absurd

Jo Chandler, Port Moresby

With Papua New Guinea's five-yearly general election just four months away, outsiders could be excused for being baffled by the desperate, damaging battle for power now consuming Port Moresby.

Why bother, given that the people - not the courts or the politicians - will soon resolve the Constitutional conundrum of who has the legitimate mandate to govern?

Read the full story at SMH

News Story: Russia Pulls Out of S.Korea Fighter Tender

RIA NovostiRussia's main military aircraft maker has decided not to take part in South Korea’s largest-ever arms tender, for a new fighter aircraftRussia Pulls Out of S.Korea Fighter Tender
15:10 30/01/2012 Russia's main military aircraft maker has decided not to take part in South Korea’s largest-ever arms tender, for a new fighter aircraft, The Korea Times said on Monday citing the country’s military procurement authorities.> Read the full story HERE <

30 January 2012

AUS: Defence Force Posture Review Release of Progress Report

Minister for Defence Stephen Smith today released a progress report from the expert panel preparing the Defence Force Posture Review. 
The Force Posture Review is addressing the range of present and emerging global, regional and national strategic and security factors which require careful consideration for the future.  It is being undertaken by the Department of Defence and overseen by an expert panel comprising two of Australia’s leading national security experts, Dr Allan Hawke and Mr Ric Smith, both former Secretaries of the Department of Defence.
These strategic and security factors include:
  • the rise of the Asia-Pacific as a region of global strategic significance;
  • the rise of theIndian Ocean rim as a region of global strategic significance;
  • the growth of military power projection capabilities of countries in the Asia Pacific;
  • the growing need for the provision of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief following extreme events in the Asia Pacific region; and
  • energy security and security issues associated with expanding offshore resource exploitation in our North West and Northern approaches.
The Force Posture Review report will feed into the 2014 Defence White Paper.
“It is essential that the Australian Defence Force (ADF) is appropriately positioned for the future”, Mr Smith said.
“The progress report offers a range of thoughts and options on how the ADF could be better geographically positioned to respond in a timely way to Australia’s strategic and security demands,” said Mr Smith.
The progress report points to the Asia Pacific Century as reinforcing the need for a force posture that can support operations in Australia’s Northern and Western approaches, as well as operations with our partners in the wider Asia Pacific region and the Indian Ocean Rim. 
The Review Panel identifies Defence’s international engagement as a significant strategic asset.
Dr Hawke and Mr Smith point to expanding maritime capabilities as significantly influencing Australia’s future force posture. Joint amphibious capability is envisaged as having a transformational effect on Navy, Army and the ADF generally, driving force posture considerations.
The Review Panel examines possible basing options in the North and North West of Australia and the possibility of arrangements that enhance access to commercial ports.
The Review Panel also highlights the potential for greater wharf capacity and support facilities at HMAS Stirling (Fleet Base West) to support major surface combatant capability and operations.
Dr Hawke and Mr Smith also consider the potential for Air Force to upgrade some of its bases to optimise the operational capability of new platforms and for Army to ensure that basing allocations best match our strategic objectives.
These initiatives, like many others discussed in the progress report, are longer term options for consideration.  No decisions have been made about individual proposals. Many of these options, including development of any new bases, involve substantial additional investment. No decisions on such options will be made until they have been considered as part of the 2014 White Paper process.
More broadly, the Review is also examining logistics support requirements, training areas for large-scale and joint training exercises, demographic and economic factors, public communications strategies, and engagement with industry, particularly the minerals and petroleum resources industries in Australia’s North and West.
The Review’s final report will be submitted to the Government at the end of March this year.
“The Government will then closely examine the Force Posture Review, which will form part of the security and strategic considerations for the 2014 White Paper”, said Mr Smith.
The progress report is available HERE.

AUS: Farewell parade for Army members departing to Timor Leste

The Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, Senator David Feeney, farewelled 171 members of the Timor Leste Task Group 4 preparing for deployment to Timor Leste on Operation Astute at a parade on Sunday.

The farewell parade, which was held at the RAAF Williams in Laverton, Victoria, was well attended by the friends and families of the soldiers.

Senator Feeney said the parade was an opportunity for family, friends and the wider community to formally farewell the deploying troops.

“The soldiers will be deploying in February and will complete an eight-month operation,” Senator Feeney said.

“This parade is an opportunity to show them our appreciation.”

The soldiers are drawn from Army reserve units across the 2nd Division but primarily from the 4th Brigade.  The task group also draws on Regular Army units from the 7th Brigade.

Operation Astute is the Australian Defence Force’s contribution to the Australian Government’s response to a request from the Government of Timor Leste to assist in restoring peace and stability to their country.

NZ - AUS: Australian and New Zealand Defence Ministers launch new Defence Relationship Framework

Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith today met with New Zealand’s newly appointed Minister of Defence Dr Jonathan Coleman for the Ministers’ first formal bilateral meeting.

The meeting was held in Melbourne in conjunction with the annual Australia-New Zealand Leaders’ Meeting between Prime Ministers and senior Cabinet Ministers today.

The Ministers announced a new Australia-New Zealand Defence Relationship Framework, which builds on the ANZAC tradition and the longstanding comprehensive defence relationship between Australia and New Zealand.

The Framework follows a Review designed to shape future strategic cooperation and set priorities for ANZAC engagement.

The Defence Relationship Framework includes closer cooperation on capability development and procurement and more efficient burden sharing in our region.

The Framework introduces regular strategic discussions between senior civilian and military personnel, so that policy settings, military capabilities, and defence activities between our two countries will be considered in a more orderly, rigorous and comprehensive way.

The new Framework will facilitate innovative and more cost-efficient cooperation, including through the development of complementary military capabilities and sharing experiences of defence reform.

Minister Smith said “The improved senior dialogue framework and the new 1.5 track Security Dialogue will enhance understanding of the mutual security challenges facing Australia and New Zealand, particularly in our immediate region.”

Minister Coleman added that “In a more complex and expensive strategic operating environment, New Zealand and Australia have to find ways of working more closely together, so that we complement each other’s effectiveness.”

Ministers Smith and Coleman also signed a new Memorandum of Arrangement on cooperation in the fields of defence research and development. This will advance the relationship between Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Organisation and New Zealand’s Defence Technology Agency.

The research and development Arrangement will assist the development of new technologies to better deliver defence services, support our activities in the field, and protect our defence personnel. It includes collaborative research in future naval helicopters and counter improvised explosive device measures.

Ministers Smith and Coleman also discussed the range of strategic issues of mutual interest, including combined stabilisation operations currently serving in the Solomon Islands and East Timor, as well as respective commitments to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

Minister Smith said “Australia and New Zealand continue our close cooperation in the Pacific, including recent joint efforts to remove World War II remnants of war from communities in Rabaul, Papua New Guinea. This demonstrates our ongoing commitment to jointly address concerns in our immediate neighbourhood,” said Minister Smith.

The Ministers also discussed strategic developments in the Asia-Pacific and reaffirmed their commitment to the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus. Ministers agreed it was important for Australia and New Zealand to cooperate closely as regional architecture continues to evolve.

The Ministers agreed to work closely together to advance common security objectives, provide guidance to officials on the implementation of the Defence Relationship Framework and to pursue opportunities for new defence cooperation initiatives.

NZ: Joint Statement - Prime Minister Key, Prime Minister Gillard

Prime Ministers Julia Gillard and John Key met for the annual Australia-New Zealand Leaders’ meeting in Melbourne on 29 January. Their meeting was followed by the second Joint Meeting of Australian and New Zealand Cabinet Ministers.

The Prime Ministers re-affirmed their strong commitment to the closest possible relations between Australia and New Zealand, including through an annual Leaders’ meeting. They agreed to conduct further joint meetings of Cabinet Ministers on a regular basis and at least once in the term of each government.
Towards 30 Years of Closer Economic Relations
2013 marks the 30th anniversary of the Closer Economic Relations (CER) agreement. CER and the Single Economic Market (SEM) agenda have brought down barriers to trade, reduced costs for business, encouraged investment and created jobs and economic growth for both Australia and New Zealand.
The Prime Ministers agreed the Productivity Commissions of each country would conduct a joint scoping study [details attached] to identify options for further reforms which might boost productivity, increase competitiveness and drive deeper economic integration. The Commissions will report by 1 December 2012 for consideration by Leaders in 2013.
Stronger Defence and National Security Cooperation
The Prime Ministers welcomed the outcome of the Review of the Australia-New Zealand Defence Relationship, which has been launched today by Defence Ministers. The review outlines a new defence relationship framework that will make it easier for Australia and New Zealand to work together in our region and cooperate on capability development and procurement.
The Prime Ministers announced further steps to deepen cooperation on national security and emergency management cooperation. They agreed:
· to strengthen cooperation against the shared and growing challenge of cyber security through a regular Australia New Zealand Cyber Dialogue;
· that New Zealand would move from observer status to membership of the National Counter-Terrorism Committee, to ensure the closest possible coordination on counter-terrorism policy;
· that New Zealand would move from observer status to membership of the National Emergency Management Committee, in recognition of the strong collaboration between the two countries on disaster management.
The Prime Ministers agreed to continue to work closely together in the lead-up to the Centenary of the ANZAC landings in 2015, and other important WWI centennial commemorations.
Criminal History Sharing
The Prime Ministers agreed to enhance the reciprocal sharing of criminal history information for employment vetting purposes and plan an initial six month trial with Queensland to test how consistent and systematic requests for criminal history checks for employment purposes can be facilitated between Australia and New Zealand. They also directed officials to accelerate the work under way on reciprocal information sharing to support border control and law enforcement, consistent with free movement of people across the Tasman.
Continuing Trans-Tasman Cooperation
Following their agreement in June to establish a joint Australia New Zealand Therapeutic Products Agency (ANZTPA), the Prime Ministers were pleased with progress towards the phased introduction of ANZTPA, and welcomed the inaugural meeting of the ANZTPA Ministerial Council, which will oversee the implementation of ANZTPA.
The Prime Ministers also welcomed progress in streamlining trans-Tasman travel, especially through the SmartGate trial. They welcomed lowering of age eligibility for Smartgate from 18 to 16.
The Prime Ministers underlined their commitment to strong tobacco control measures and undertook to cooperate closely in their efforts to reduce tobacco use domestically. New Zealand will closely follow progress in implementation of Australia’s plain packaging legislation and the countries will look to ensure that no branded tobacco is able to be re-exported from New Zealand to Australia.
In the run up to the site selection decision, the Prime Ministers agreed to continue to promote vigorously the merits of the joint Australia-New Zealand bid to host the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). The SKA will be the most powerful radio telescope ever built and will revolutionise our understanding of the universe.
Climate Change
The Prime Ministers re-affirmed their commitment to pricing carbon as the most environmentally effective and economically efficient way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They welcomed work towards linking the Australian and New Zealand emissions trading schemes, including agreement by Climate Change Ministers in December to Terms of Reference which will guide the work of the Australia New Zealand Carbon Pricing Officials Group.
2015 Cricket World Cup
Prime Minister Gillard congratulated New Zealand on its successful hosting of the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Recognising both countries’ passion for sport, the Prime Ministers looked forward to Australia and New Zealand co-hosting the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2015 and welcomed the opportunities this would present for both countries.
Regional and Global Issues
The Prime Ministers confirmed their commitment to see an end to all whaling in the Southern Ocean, welcoming New Zealand’s intervention in Australia’s international legal case against whaling in the Southern Ocean.
Recalling the strong outcomes of the first meeting of the expanded East Asia Summit (EAS) in Bali in November, the Prime Ministers reiterated the importance of enhanced regional cooperation through the EAS, APEC and the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF).
Prime Minister Gillard congratulated Prime Minister Key on New Zealand’s successful hosting of the PIF and committed to support New Zealand in its year as Forum chair. The two Prime Ministers reinforced their commitment to work closely together in the Pacific, particularly on progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, and welcomed agreement to a joint funding arrangement for education assistance to Nauru. The Prime Ministers agreed to expand cooperation on their respective seasonal worker programs in the region.
The Prime Ministers agreed on the importance of strengthening the region's response to the shared challenge of irregular migration. Recognising the efforts of regional partners and international organisations to examine opportunities to better cooperate under the auspices of the Bali Process, Australia and New Zealand agreed to consult on targeted refugee resettlement, within respective quotas, to enhance the region's response to irregular migration. Both countries will engage with the UNHCR to ensure that this approach complements global priorities.
The Prime Ministers agreed to further strengthen maritime surveillance efforts in the Pacific, with a focus on fisheries surveillance, and to work closely together and in partnership with Pacific Island countries to coordinate efforts.
The Prime Ministers welcomed the close cooperation between Australia and New Zealand in supporting Pacific Island countries to respond to and recover from natural disasters, most recently in relation to the 2011 drought in Tuvalu and current flooding in Fiji.
The Prime Ministers welcomed the close cooperation between Australia and New Zealand, together with the Solomon Islands and regional partners, in the Regional Assistance Mission in the Solomon Islands (RAMSI). Both leaders noted RAMSI’s progress on transition, building on the strong leadership and commitment of the Solomon Islands Government to ensure lasting benefits for the people of the Solomon Islands.
Prime Ministers noted also their close ties with Papua New Guinea and PNG’s importance as a neighbour and regional partner. They looked forward to the smooth conduct of elections in PNG and Timor Leste in coming months.
Both countries remained concerned about the continuing deterioration in Fiji’s political and economic situation and its impact on Fiji’s people, and agreed to maintain close consultation on developments, including with other international partners. They reaffirmed the need for Fiji to return to democracy and the rule of law as soon as possible.
The Prime Ministers reaffirmed both countries’ commitment to free and open trade in the face of global economic uncertaintyThey called for protectionism to be resisted. The Prime Ministers said all countries must work together to secure global recovery and restore job growth. European Union countries must fully implement commitments to stabilise economies at risk, prevent contagion and, in the medium-term, reduce debt levels and implement necessary structural reforms. The Prime Ministers remained strongly committed to the goal of eliminating tariffs and other barriers to regional trade and investment, including through negotiation of the Trans‑Pacific Partnership.
Strengthening economic relations between Australia and New Zealand
Impacts and Benefits of Further Economic Integration of the Australian and New Zealand Economies - Joint Scoping Study by the Productivity Commissions of Australia and New Zealand
Purpose of the study:
The Governments of Australia and New Zealand are firmly committed to strong economic relations between Australia and New Zealand, including boosting productivity through reducing the regulatory burden on business, increasing competition and encouraging closer economic cooperation, and to strengthening those relations further. The two countries have a long history of working together through the Australia New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement which first came into effect on 1 January 1983 and has involved successive rounds of integration of the Australia and New Zealand economies. This has been highly beneficial to both countries.
At their annual leaders meeting, the Prime Ministers of Australia and New Zealand agreed that, to promote further reform and economic integration, the Productivity Commissions of each country would conduct a joint study on the options for further reforms that would enhance increased economic integration and improve economic outcomes. The Commissions’ final report should be completed by 1 December 2012 in order to inform the next meeting of leaders, expected to take place in early 2013.
With 2013 marking 30 years of the operation of the Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement, the Commissions’ report will help advise the Australian and New Zealand Governments on next steps in economic integration.
The report should identify specific areas for further potential reform, the ways in which they might be best achieved, the likely impacts of potential reforms, any significant transition and adjustment costs that could be incurred and the time scale over which impacts are likely to accrue.
Scope of report
The Commissions’ report to leaders should provide analysis on:
· potential areas of further economic reform and integration, including identification of the areas of reform where benefits are likely to be most significant, with particular focus on critical issues for business like investment and productivity;
· the economic impacts and benefits of reform;
· any significant transition and adjustment costs that could be incurred;
· identification of reform where joint net benefits are highest;
· the means by which they might be best actioned; and
· the likely time paths over which benefits are expected to accrue.
The Commissions should provide an explanation of the methodology and assumptions used in its analysis. The Commissions should also provide guidance concerning the sensitivity of results to the assumptions used and bring to leaders’ attention any limitations or weaknesses in approaches to reform evaluation.
Consultation and timing
In the course of preparing the report, the Commissions should consult and hold public hearings as appropriate. While these consultations would inform the Commissions’ assessment, responsibility for the final report would rest with the two Productivity Commissions.
The Commissions should produce both a draft and a final report. The Commissions’ final report should be submitted to leaders, through the Treasurer of Australia and the Minister of Finance of New Zealand, by 1 December 2012. The reports will be published.

News Story: INTERVIEW/ Admiral Robert F. Willard: Japan-U.S. alliance to rise in prominence as U.S. shifts strategy

Robert F. Willard (Wiki Info)
By YOICHI KATO/ National Security Correspondent

HONOLULU--The Japan-U.S. alliance will rise in prominence as Washington shifts its strategic focus to the Asia-Pacific region, Adm. Robert F. Willard, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, said in a recent interview with a delegation of Japan National Press Club in Honolulu.
He described the buildup of China's military capabilities as "impressive to watch" and stressed the importance of developing technologies and TTPs (tactics, techniques and procedures) to overcome challenges to freedom of actions in the global commons.
He also warned that "North Korea is the most urgent threat in the Asia-Pacific region," and pointed out that the United States continues to be prepared for "any untoward events that could occur in the future."
The opening statement by Adm. Willard and excerpts of the interview follow.

Read the full story at The Asahi Shimbun

News Story: China calls for calm after Philippine offer to US

BEIJING — China on Sunday called for greater efforts towards "peace and stability" in the region, after the Philippines offered to allow more US troops on its territory.
Manila said Friday it planned to hold more joint exercises and to let more US troops rotate through the Southeast Asian country -- an offer welcomed by the United States as it seeks to expand its military power in Asia.
Read the full story at Google News

News Story: Indian army to hold wargames with top powers

NEW DELHI (PTI): Top global powers, including US, Russia, France and some of the friendly neighbours such as Bangladesh, will engage in wargames with the Indian army to learn from its over five decades of experience of counter terrorism and urban warfare operations.

The army will hold around 15 exercises this year with friendly foreign countries including the who's who in the global arena, army officials told PTI here. 

Read the full story at Brahmand

News Story: DND, Armed Forces eye Italian weapon


A JOINT team from the Department of National Defense and the Armed Forces will be in Italy this week to scout for assets that will strengthen the defense capability of the military.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the team will look for aircraft, vessels and even armored vehicles that could be acquired by the military for both of its external defense and internal security operations.

Over the weekend, Gazmin said the department will be acquiring weapons and assets for the Armed Forces amounting to P70 billion.

Read the full story at the Business Mirror

Editorial: Indonesia Police Target Teens?

By Mong Palatino

Indonesians are shocked and angered by reports that children accused of petty crimes have been arrested and beaten by the police.

In Soe City in eastern Indonesia, a 16-year-old boy was arrested and charged with stealing and selling eight pink adeniums from a private garden. In the Central Sulawesi capital of Palu, a 15-year-old boy identified as only A.A.L. was beaten by the police and faced a possible five-year jail sentence after he was accused of stealing a pair of used sandals owned by a policeman. In Bali, a teenager was convicted for stealing a wallet containing 1,000 rupiah (11 cents). In Cilacap, Central Java, two men were charged with stealing 15 banana bunches. Deli Suhandi, a 14-year-old boy accused of stealing a phone card worth 10,000 rupiah ($1.12) that he found lying in the street, could face a seven-year prison term.

Read the full story at The Diplomat

29 January 2012

News Story: Fourth Chinese Navy Type 071 LPD launched at Shanghai Shipyard

Wiki Info
According to Chinese newspaper "Huantsyu shibao", Hudong-Zhonghua Shipyard in Shanghai (part of the Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding Group Corporation, a state owned corporation) held a launch for the fourth Type 071 class LPD. The launch was timed to happen on the Chinese New Year (January 23rd).

The name and hull number of the new ship are not known yet. 

Read the full story at Navy Recognition

Editorial: Why Beijing-Seoul Ties So Fraught

By Gilbert Rozman

North Korea looms over ties between China and South Korea. Indeed, the future of the North Korean regime goes to the very heart of longstanding tensions.

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the normalization of relations, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak visited China earlier this month. One theme at the talks was China’s longstanding request to open negotiations on a free trade agreement, boosting commerce beyond the current level of $207 billion and increasing the huge impact of China’s economy on a country with a GNP of roughly $1 trillion. A second issue was management of fishing in South Korean waters after recent violent clashes with emboldened Chinese crews.

Read the full story at The Diplomat

28 January 2012

USA: Odierno - Army seeks increased partnerships in Asia

By C. Todd Lopez

 WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Jan. 25, 2012) -- The Army is looking for increased opportunities to partner with allies in Asia, including both Korea and Japan.

Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno recently returned from a trip to the Pacific region, including Korea and Japan, as well as other parts of Pacific Command to include Hawaii and Alaska.

Odierno spoke Jan. 25 at a breakfast hosted by the Association of the United States Army's Institute of Land Warfare in Arlington, Va.

In Japan, the general met with the Japanese minister of defense and the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force commander.

"Both expressed their optimism and were excited about increased opportunities to work together with the Army, which they see as critical to the future of the Asian region," Odierno said.

While in Korea, he met with the country's minister of defense and army chief of staff.

"Both leaders were extremely appreciative of our Army's continued commitment and dedication to security in Northeast Asia," Odierno said.

Odierno expects development of a trilateral relationship between South Korea, Japan and the United States for security cooperation, something he said "is an important step as we continue to expand our relationships in Northeast Asia."

The general said the trip to Asia was productive, adding that it's "clear that our partners and allies in Asia/Pacific desire increased engagement with our great Army -- especially as we continue to maneuver our way through these complex and uncertain times we have," Odierno explained.

The general said he has three "principal and interconnected" goals for the Army: prevent, shape and win.

He explained that the Army can prevent conflict by maintaining the Army's own credibility, adding that the service's capacity, readiness and modernization can "avert miscalculation by potential adversaries." He also said the Army must not lose the ability to conduct missions across any operational environment, including regular and irregular warfare, civilian operations, counter insurgency and humanitarian assistance.

The Army can also shape the international environment "with strong military relationships with allies and by building partner capacity," he added.

Such relationships, Odierno said, are already strong in Asia, and will continue to grow.

"We will strengthen our presence in the region," he said. "We have five of our seven mutual defense treaties in this region and we continue to conduct longstanding exercises with Korea, Japan, Thailand and the Philippines. The Army will actively seek new opportunities for expanding and existing training and engaging with new partners."

In Europe, Africa and South America, Odierno expects similar partnerships. Even with a reduced footprint in Europe, for instance, the Army maintains its commitment there to NATO allies, Odierno said, and will have increased training opportunities with its European partners. 

The Army must also be "ready to win," dominantly and decisively. "The cost of indecision and cost of entering the fight without a dominant capability, enabled by superior technology and unmatched leadership, is the unnecessary loss of American lives," Odierno said. "We must and will retain an Army with the capacity and capability to win decisively on any battlefield, should the terms fail."

Odierno touched on the recently released National Defense Authorization Act, which he said reflects Army modernization priorities, and includes the Army network, an infantry fighting vehicle that can accommodate an entire infantry squad, and the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle.

With force reductions looming, Odierno said the Army will reduce "incrementally" over time, and he expects a "great deal" of force reductions can happen through natural attrition -- and that the Army "will reduce in a manner that preserves our readiness while avoiding any type of hollow force."