31 May 2013


PULAU PINANG, MALAYSIA, Wednesday, 29 May 2013 – The 5th ADMM-Plus EWG on Maritime Security Meeting was held today at the Eastin Hotel, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia. Co-chairing the meeting were Ms Suriani Ahmad, Undersecretary, Policy and Strategic Planning Division, Ministry of Defence Malaysia, and Commodore Stuart Mayer, Director General Navy Capability, Plans and Engagement, Department of Defence, Australia. The Head of Delegation from Brunei Darussalam for the Meeting is Lieutenant Colonel (L) Shamsul Bahren Hj Taweh, Commanding Officer KDB Darulehsan, Royal Brunei Navy.

The Meeting was briefed on the progress of the Field Training Exercise (FTX), scheduled to be held at Jervis Bay, Sydney, Australia, on 29 September to 01 October 2013. The Meeting also discussed the development of the ADMM-Plus Maritime Security Community Information Sharing Portal (AMSCIP), as well as the transition of the ADMM-Plus EWG on Maritime Security for the next cycle, starting from 2014 until 2017, which will be co-chaired by Brunei Darussalam and New Zealand.  Future initiatives for EWG on Maritime Security was also discussed as the way forward in keeping the positive momentum of the remarkable progress that has been reached so far by the EWG.

Prior to the Meeting, Malaysia and Australia also Co-Chaired the Mid Planning Conference of ADMM-Plus Maritime Security FTX on 28 May 2013. The meeting discussed on various aspects of the FTX, which include Identification of nations participating in the FTX as well as discussion on publication, references, TORs and documents for FTX

The EWG on Maritime Security is part of the wider framework of cooperation under the ADMM-Plus platform that was created in Hanoi, Vietnam in 2010. In addition to Maritime Security, there are four other EWGs that include fostering practical cooperation in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR), Military Medicine, Counter Terrorism and Peacekeeping Operations.

India: Antony to hold Defence Talks with Singapore, Australia, Thailand

AK Antony (Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)

The Defence Minster Mr. AK Antony will be making a three-nation official visit to Singapore, Australia, and Thailand from 3 to 6 June, 2013. In Singapore,Mr. Antony will be meeting his counterpart Dr. Ng Eng Hen. Dr. Ng had visited India in November last year. The two Defence Minister will be meeting on Monday next and are expected to discuss various bilateral co-operation issues as well as issues concerning the regional global security situations. 

Mr. Antony’s visit to Australia will be the first ever visit by an Indian Defence Minister to that country. He will be stopping over at Perth enroute to Canberra. He will be received by the Australian Defence Minister, Mr. Stephen Smith at Perth where both Ministers will attend a few ceremonial events before proceeding to Canberra. In Canberra, Mr. Antony will be holding detailed bilateral discussions with Mr. Smith and is also expected to call on Prime Minister, Ms. Julia Gillard. Both sides would be discussing measures to enhance exchanges between the defence establishments and armed forces of the two countries. 

Mr. Antony’s visit to Thailand is in response to an invitation from the Thai Defence Minister who had visited India in December, 2012 and would be taking place shortly after the visit of the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to Thailand. During his visit, Mr. Antony will be meeting his counterpart, Air Chief Marshal SukumpolSuwanatat and is also expected to call on Prime Minister, Ms. YingluckShinawatra. Both sides are expected to review on-going exchanges between the armed forces including possible enhancement of on-going Army and Navy exercises and joint patrols along the common maritime boundary between both countries. 

The Defence Minister returns home on Thursday (06 June, 2013).

Kraken Delivers Synthetic Aperture Sonar to DSTO Australia

DSTO’s REMUS 600 AUV fitted with Kraken’s AquaPix® InSAS

ST. JOHN’S, NEWFOUNDLAND – MAY 30, 2013 – Kraken Sonar Systems Inc. announced today that the sea acceptance testing of its AquaPix® Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Sonar (InSAS) with Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) was a success. The AquaPix® system was integrated and tested onboard DSTO’s REMUS 600 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV).

DSTO is a national leader in safeguarding Australia by delivering valued scientific advice and innovative technology solutions for the country's defence and national security.

Thanks to the excellent cooperation with DSTO; the InSAS/AUV system integration, dockside testing and sea trials were completed in less than two weeks. Dockside tests were carried out in the shallow waters surrounding the HMAS Waterhen naval base in Sydney harbour, while deeper water tests were conducted from HMAS Creswell in Jervis Bay.

News Story: Army Chief Outlines Worries About Allies, Terrorism, Budgets

Gen. Ray Odierno (Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)


WASHINGTON — While the size and relative buying power of the US may be declining, American allies will depend on the US Army even more in the future than they do now, Army chief Gen. Ray Odierno said Wednesday.

While the question-and-answer session at the Atlantic Council in Washington contained the requisite talk of sequestration and how the mandated cuts will affect the force, Odierno spent the bulk of his time fielding questions about threats that the United States, and the Army, will likely face in the coming years.

Chief among his concerns is the evolving nature of international terrorist organizations and the fact that groups such as Hezbollah — which is very publicly fighting for the Assad regime in the Syrian civil war — are “not held to any accountability in terms of international law because they are not a nation-state. So to me that’s the problem … and that’s why [future conflicts are] so difficult to predict.”

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: Asia-Pacific Defense Leaders Meet in Singapore; Hagel to Attend


SINGAPORE — The UK-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) is set for its biggest Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD) since its inception in 2002.

Scheduled for May 31 to June 2 at the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore, it will involve defense ministers, military chiefs and senior government officials from 31 countries. Known officially as the 12th Asia Security Summit, this SLD will be US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s first, and expectations are high that the Vietnam War veteran will bring a unique perspective.

Hagel’s participation takes place against a backdrop of fiscal battles and furloughs in the Pentagon, an ambiguous Asia Pivot strategy, and unanswered questions over the AirSea Battle strategy that is making some Asia-Pacific allies and friends nervous.

“More than ever this year, there will be ample opportunities to discuss and debate ‘hard security’ concerns, such as the implications of maritime disputes, military modernization programs and missile defense against the backdrop of the contentions in the South China Sea, East China Sea, Korean Peninsula, and over Taiwan,” said Tim Huxley, executive director, IISS-Asia, Singapore.

“We think it is important to provide a dialogue platform where these key security issues of the day can be discussed openly between key representatives of Asia-Pacific states’ defense and security establishments, extra-regional states with major interests in the region’s security, and high-level non-governmental experts,” Huxley said.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: Japan Drafting Laws for a US-style National Security Council


TOKYO — The Japanese government will move as early as next week to propose legislation to establish a National Security Council (NSC) headed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, according to a source familiar with the issue.

“The Abe administration is moving to submit legislation to the [Japanese national] Diet to form the NSC maybe as early as next Friday [June 7], or failing that, in the following week,” the source said.

The move follows the sixth and final meeting on May 28 of a panel of experts called the Advisory Council on the Establishment of a National Security Council. The panel consists of former high-ranking defense officials, academics and representatives from think thanks and was set up by Abe in February to hammer out the structure and position powers of the NSC.

According to the May 28 final report, laws will be drafted to establish two bodies designed to speed up Japan’s ability to respond to security issues, particularly crisis situations, by enhancing the flow of information to an executive body, the NSC, which will be chaired by the prime minister.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: India and China Tackle Border Dispute


NEW DELHI — India and China are devising a mechanism to resolve their decades-old boundary dispute, which brought the two countries into brief combat in 1962.

New Chinese Premier Li Keqiang made India the first country he visited after becoming premier. He discussed the boundary dispute with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during talks May 19, and the issue also was deliberated during delegation-level talks here May 20, said an Indian Ministry of External Affairs official.

Indian Defense Minister A.K. Antony and National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon will visit Beijing in the next two months to develop a method to help resolve the boundary dispute, said a source in the Ministry of External Affairs.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: INS Arihant reactor to be made critical next week

NEW DELHI (PTI): Moving towards completing its nuclear triad, India will activate the atomic reactor on-board the indigenous nuclear submarine INS Arihant next week paving way for its operational deployment by the Navy soon.

"We are gearing up for the sea trials of Arihant," DRDO chief V K Saraswat said on Wednesday at an award function here.

"The nuclear reactor on-board the INS Arihant would be made critical (activated) in first week of June," sources said on the development of the nuclear submarine.

Nuclear triad is the ability to fire nuclear-tipped missiles from land, air and sea. After the nuclear reactor is activated, the agencies concerned can work towards readying the warship for operational deployments soon.

Read the full story at Brahmand

News Story: India and Japan agree to deepen defence ties

TOKYO (PTI): At a time when China is flexing its muscles in the Asia-Pacific region, India and Japan on Wednesday welcomed the expanding bilateral defence ties and agreed to further cooperate on maritime issues to ensure freedom of navigation and unimpeded commerce.

Terming Japan as a partner, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that at a time of global uncertainties, change and challenges, India and Japan are "natural and indispensable partners for advancing prosperity in our two countries and for a peaceful, stable, cooperative and prosperous future for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions".

This was also reflected in the joint statement that was issued after the meeting between Singh and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe.

"The two Prime Ministers reiterated the commitment of India and Japan to the freedom of navigation and unimpeded commerce based on the principles of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)," the statement said.

Read the full story at Brahmand

Editorial: The Unfulfilled Promise of Indonesia-India Defense Ties

By Ristian Atriandi Supriyanto

Despite being Indian Ocean littoral neighbors separated by a mere 80 nautical miles of water, the defense relationship between India and Indonesia is still underdeveloped.

Yet, both share mutual interests, having large Muslim populations, sharing common democratic values, and equally priding themselves as non-aligned countries. These factors should warrant closer cooperation in many areas including defense cooperation. But they seem mired in mutual neglect.

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: India’s Agni-V ICBM to Carry Multiple Nuclear Warheads

Agni-V Ballistic Missile (Wiki Info)
By Zachary Keck

India is reconfiguring its longest-range missile to enable it to carry multiple nuclear warheads, Chennai-based The Hindu reported on Wednesday, citing a senior Indian official.
V.K. Saraswat, Director-General of the Defence Research and Development Organisation, told the newspaper that a team is modifying the Agni-V to give it the ability to carry Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicles (MIRVs).
“Work on that is going on and it is at design stage,” Saraswat told The Hindu.
The Agni-V is a nuclear-capable three-stage, solid-fuel missile with an initial range of 5,000 kilometers that will likely be extended to over 5,5000 kms, making it an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). India first tested the Agni-V last April, and the launch was a success.
The test was widely celebrated among official India and the Indian press where some referred to as the “China killer” owing to the fact that missile puts in range all of China’s major cities for the first time. Saraswat himself called the missile a “game-changer.”

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: Recipe for Disaster - Israel & Pakistan’s Sea-Based Nukes

By Iskander Rehman

Both Israel and Pakistan look to the sea to provide strategic depth. It’s a quest that could undermine stability.

The policy of a nation, Napoleon once quipped, can be read in its geography. For much of human history, the verity of such an assertion would have appeared self-evident. After all, what is geostrategy if not a state’s chosen response to a preexisting spatial reality? For many thinkers of the early modern era, a country’s geographical position shaped its strategic behavior, whether in times of peace or war. Maritime powers, some have noted, appear both more democratic and inclined to pursue alliances than their territorially obsessed continental counterparts. Amidst the swirling tides of global geopolitics, geography formed a key fundamental — an enduring physical truth — providing a degree of structure and continuity to otherwise arcane national strategies.
The dawn of the nuclear age, however, greatly eroded the importance attached to the study of maps. Nuclear weapons, with their terrifying and seemingly indiscriminate power for destruction, seemed to render cartographic musings somewhat irrelevant. In an era where the devastating effects of a single bomb could extend over land and sea, casting their radioactive shadow over bustling cities and sleepy hamlets alike; what did it matter whether a nation was urban or rural, maritime or continental?
The assumption that geographical factors play only a minor role in the formulation of nuclear strategy is, however, deeply flawed. Territorial insecurity and the attendant quest for strategic depth are profoundly embedded within the nuclear strategies of small to medium-sized powers. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the evolving naval nuclear postures of two nations, which would seem, at first glance, to have little in common: Pakistan and Israel. Indeed, irrespective of numerous sizable differences — both in terms of institutional history and strategic culture — the nuclear force structures adopted by both countries’ small navies are disturbingly similar. In both cases, the perceived pressures of geography have played an enormous role in the conceptualization of naval nuclear deterrence.

Read the full story at The Diplomat

30 May 2013

AUS: Minister for Defence attends the 12th Shangri-La Dialogue

Stephen Smith: Minister for Defence

Tomorrow, I (Stephen Smith: Minister for Defence) depart Australia for Singapore for the 12th International Institute for Strategic Studies Asia Security Dialogue: The Shangri-La Dialogue.

This is my fourth visit to Singapore as Defence Minister, and the third time I have attended the Shangri-La Dialogue, maintaining Australian Defence Ministers’ record of attending every Shangri-La Dialogue since its inception in 2002.

I will be joined at the Dialogue by the Chief of the Defence Force, General David Hurley.

I look forward to participating in the Shangri-La Dialogue and the plenary session discussion on Military Modernisation and Strategic Transparency.

In addition to participating in the Dialogue, I also look forward to holding bilateral talks with my Defence Ministerial counterparts on a range of defence and security issues of mutual interest.

I look forward to holding the inaugural Australia, East Timor, Indonesia Trilateral Defence Ministers’ Dialogue and the second Australia, Japan, United States Trilateral Defence Ministers’ Dialogue.

The (Shangri-La) Dialogue is attended by Defence Ministers from across the Indo-Pacific and is an opportunity to strengthen Australia’s bilateral defence relationships, progress defence cooperation initiatives and enhance regional security mechanisms.

AUS: Release of Social and Economic Assessments of Rotations of 1100 United States Marines to Northern Australia

Today Defence releases the outcomes of the Social and Economic Assessments of the impacts associated with the six-month rotations of 1100 United States Marines in northern Australia proposed to start in 2014. 

The assessments found that most impacts resulting from a rotation of 1100 Marines were expected to be positive or neutral, and that the economic impact would be modest and positive.   

The Social Assessment noted that there is limited scope for a rotation of 1100 Marines to have a major social impact.   

While there is potential for some negative social impacts, these were not judged to be large enough to cause concern to the great majority of people consulted. 

The Social Assessment acknowledged concerns raised by some members of the community about these rotations, including aircraft noise, air traffic safety, sexual assault and the adequacy of legal arrangements governing the presence of United States military personnel in Australia.   

These issues will form part of Government’s consideration as it determines the detailed arrangements for future United States Marine Corps rotations.  A decision on the 2014 rotation is expected in the near future. 

AUS: Inaugural Australia-Korea Foreign and Defence Ministers’ (“2+2”) Meeting

Foreign Minister Bob Carr and Defence Minister Stephen Smith will visit Seoul for the first Australia-Korea Foreign and Defence Ministers’ (“2+2”) Meeting on 4 July.

The Australia-Republic of Korea 2+2 Dialogue was agreed during Prime Minister Gillard’s visit to Korea in April 2011 and will provide an opportunity for discussions with Minister of Foreign Affairs Yun Byung-se and Minister for National Defense Kim Kwan-jin on security issues, including Korean peninsula developments.

Senator Carr said this will be his first official meeting with his Korean counterpart since Mr Yun was appointed Foreign Minister in February.

“Australia has a natural partnership with the Republic of Korea,” Senator Carr said.

“It is our third largest export market, bringing in $25 billion in 2011.

“The Republic of Korea is described in the Asian Century White Paper as one of our five principal relationships.

AUS: Helicopter Aircrew Training System for Army and Navy Pilots Tender Short-Listing

Australian Army (NH-90) MRH-90 (File Photo)

Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Dr Mike Kelly today announced that three Tenderers have been selected to progress Project Air 9000 Phase 7 which will provide a new helicopter aircrew training system to meet the future rotary wing training needs of the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

AIR 9000 Phase 7 is an important project which will deliver a new joint helicopter aircrew training system for Army and Navy to be based at Nowra, New South Wales.

This new joint training system will overcome the broadening gap in training systems required for the advanced operational helicopters to be operated by the future ADF, including 22 Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters, 47 MRH90 Multi-role helicopters, 24 Seahawk Romeo maritime combat helicopters, and 7 CH-47 (F) Chinook medium lift helicopters.

The new joint training system will allow the retirement of 40 Kiowa helicopters operated by Army and 13 Squirrel helicopters operated by Navy. The new training system will comprise a combination of light twin-engine helicopters, with options for basic and advanced avionic systems; a mix of Synthetic Training Devices (Simulators and Part-Task Trainers); new Training, Administration and Warehousing facilities; and Integrated Through Life Support. An Aviation Training Vessel will also be supplied as a component of the new training system through existing Defence Maritime Support arrangements

Seahawk Romeo (File Photo)
The three short-listed Tenderers are the teams led by Australian Aerospace Ltd, Boeing Defence Australia Ltd and Raytheon Australia Pty Ltd.

The Request for Tender was issued in early 2012. The three short-listed Tenderers will now enter the second phase of the evaluation, which will include the development and evaluation of final proposals.

A decision on the successful tenderer is expected by mid-2014, with training on the new (system) expected to commence in 2016/17.

The total project value is up to $1 billion.

AUS: Thales Delivers Hawkei Prototype Vehicles

Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Dr Mike Kelly today welcomed Thales Australia’s on-time delivery of six Hawkei prototypes and one trailer prototype under the latest stage of Project LAND 121 Phase 4.

The prototypes delivered under Stage 2 of Project LAND 121 Phase 4 are designed to combine speed with safety for Australian soldiers on the battlefield.

Project LAND 121 Phase 4 is a $1.5 billion project that seeks to provide up to 1300 protected and unprotected light vehicles.

In December 2011, the Government announced that Thales Australia’s Hawkei had been selected as the preferred vehicle for development and testing under the Manufactured and Supported in Australia option of LAND 121 Phase 4.

In June 2012, the Government further announced that just over $38 million had been allocated for further development and testing of the Hawkei.

India: Final Operational Clearance for LCA TEJAS Next Year - Antony

Tejas (LCA) Light Combat Aircraft (File Photo)

The Defence Minister Shri AK Antony today expressed optimism that the country’s indigenously developed fighter aircraft- LCA TEJAS- will get Final Operational Clearance of the Indian Air Force by the end of next year. Speaking at the Annual Awards Functions of DRDO here, he said, all stakeholders including the DRDO, IAF and HAL must put their energy together in a focused manner to achieve this objective. 

Shri Antony said countries that depend on imported arsenals cannot become great nation. Shri Antony said we continue to be the largest importer of Defence equipment. The share of indigenous content in Defence procurement is low. “Our experience has been that foreign vendors are reluctant to part with critical technologies. There are delays in the supply of essential spares. There are exorbitant price increases. The Services too realize that we cannot be eternally dependent on foreign equipment and platforms”, he said. 

Referring to the expansions of domestic defence industry, Shri Antony said this has to be achieved through public and private sector initiatives. He said there is ample scope for joint ventures also. “All the stakeholders in the defence sector- DRDO, Armed Forces and the industry must work in tandem and develop trust and confidence in each other’s capabilities.” Cautioning against time and cost over runs in projects Shri Antony said Indian Companies must compete with global players in developing state- of- the art technologies of acceptable commercial parameters and must meet customer satisfaction. 

Thales Australia: Hawkei vehicles delivered on schedule

Thales Australia has delivered a further two Hawkei vehicles to the Defence Materiel Organisation on schedule.

The handover of the two Reconnaissance variants under Stage 2 of the Manufactured and Supported in Australia option of Land 121 Phase 4 means that all six vehicles are now with the Department of Defence for testing. All vehicle delivery milestones have been met on schedule.

The six vehicles comprise two Command variants, two Utility variants and two Reconnaissance variants, plus a trailer.

The majority of the evaluation process is being undertaken by the Commonwealth at Monegeetta in Victoria, and includes survivability testing, communications system integration testing, electro-magnetic interference/compatibility testing, reliability growth trials and user assessments.

News Story: Taiwan To Open New Cyberwar Unit

TAIPEI — Taiwan is preparing to launch a fourth cyberwar unit, a local newspaper reported Wednesday, in response to what it claims is a growing security threat from Chinese hackers.

The new unit is scheduled to open July 1 and will work to counter cyber attacks on government websites, said the Taipei-based newspaper United Evening News.

It will bring to four the number of Taiwanese military units assigned to cyberwar and information-related tasks, added the paper.

The defense ministry declined to comment on the report.

Taiwanese government websites have frequently come under cyber attack from China, usually during disputes between the two sides, military authorities say.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

Editorial: Canada Needs a Strategic Rethink

By Robert Farley

Canada’s military budget is not small; in 2012 it spent US$22.5 billion on defense (PDF), about 3.2  percent of the American budget but nevertheless good for 14th in the world, and seventh in the Pacific (well ahead of Malaysia, Indonesia, and Taiwan).
Canada’s strategic position does not demand this level of expenditure; Mexico, on the other side of the United States, devotes a mere 0.5 percent of its GDP to defense, as compared to 1.3 percent for Canada. Canadian membership in NATO and its history of support for the transatlantic partnership between London and Washington explain its much more significant defense profile.  Generations of Canadian leaders have determined that the best way to maximize Canadian security and influence is to work closely with the United States and Great Britain, contributing when possible while avoiding the most questionable adventures, such as Vietnam and Iraq.
But the relevance of the London-Washington axis to Canadian security is in decline. The transatlantic relationship may or may not have withered, but its relevance to Canada’s current strategic problems is unclear. The Canadian Forces have traditionally been oriented towards the Atlantic, but Canada’s economic interests in Asia continue to grow.  Nonetheless, Canada’s interest in making a significant military commitment to the Pacific is an open question  as the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) remains an Atlantic force, despite some additional attention to the Pacific.

Read the full story at The Diplomat

29 May 2013

AUS: Australia, Japan and US participate in inaugural Exercise Southern Jackaroo

Australia, Japan and the United States have concluded Exercise Southern Jackaroo, the first ground exercise involving the three nations held in Australia. The inaugural exercise took place from 18 to 26 May 2013.

An important step forward in trilateral defence cooperation between the nations, Exercise Southern Jackaroo saw Australian Army, Japan Ground Self Defense Force and US Army personnel participate in skills-based live-fire training and adventurous training, at Puckapunyal and Melbourne.

During the exercise, 14 personnel from each of the three nations participated in live-firing activities focused on advanced marksmanship skills within urban terrain, as well as adventurous training including abseiling from buildings in the Melbourne CBD.

Over the last year, trilateral ground cooperation between Australia, Japan and the US has strengthened, with the Chief of the Australian Army attending the Senior Level Seminar between the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force, US Army Pacific and US Marines Forces Pacific. Earlier this month, Japan and the US participated in the Australian Army’s Skill at Arms Meeting held at Puckapunyal, Victoria.

Exercise Southern Jackaroo reflects the shared commitments of Australia, Japan and the US to strengthening defence and security cooperation, and working closely together to promote regional stability, peace and prosperity.

The three nations share several common security interests. Practical cooperation, through exercises such as Southern Jackaroo, is a central part of our trilateral defence relationship.

The importance of trilateral defence cooperation was demonstrated in the response to the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, when the Australian Defence Force, Japanese Self Defense Forces and US Forces Japan worked together to provide rapid humanitarian and disaster relief assistance.

Imagery is available HERE.

USA: U.S., Indonesian Navy Ships Get Underway for CARAT Sea Phase

From Commander Task Group 73 Public Affairs

<< USS Tortuga (LSD 46), right, steams in formation with Indonesian navy ships KRI Oswald Siahaan (CVT 354), left, and KRI Sultan Iskandar Muda (FFG 367), during a live-fire exercise in the Java Sea May 25 as part of CARAT Indonesia. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jay C. Pugh)

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Three U.S. Navy ships assigned to Task Group 73.1 and two TNI-AL (Indonesian Navy) ships got underway from Jakarta May 24th to participate in the at sea phase of the 19th annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Indonesia exercise.

During the at sea phase, the dock landing ship USS Tortuga (LSD 46) and the guided missile destroyer USS Momsen (DDG 92) will conduct a series of maritime training events with the guided missile frigate, KRI Oswald Siahann, and the corvette, KRI Sultan Iskandar Muda. The diving and salvage ship, USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50), is also underway conducting a salvage exercise and explosive ordnance disposal subject matter expert exchange with embarked U.S. Navy divers, EOD technicians and TNI-AL diving units.

CARAT Indonesia began May 21 and continues through May 29, and consists of shore and sea phases. The shore phase features medical training, military operations symposia, U.S. 7th Fleet band concerts and joint community service projects at local schools. The at-sea phase focuses on enhancing cooperation and interoperability across a broad range of naval capabilities from maritime security operations to combined operations at sea. Throughout both phases of CARAT Indonesia, Marines are conducting jungle training with their ground force counterparts, while Seabees are conducting an engineering exchange featuring concrete cloth construction.

USA: Nimitz Strike Group Visits Thailand

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Nathan R. McDonald

<< The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) transits through the Indian Ocean May 26 while making its way to Thailand for a port visit. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Devin Wray)

PHUKET, Thailand - The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68), along with embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 23 and Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 11 escorted by guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59) arrived in Phuket, Thailand May 28 for a port visit.

The visit allows the Nimitz Strike Group the opportunity to experience the local culture and customs, enjoy a variety of recreational activities and participate in community service events (COMSERVs).

"I am excited for the opportunity our Sailors and Marines will have to take in all of the wonderful things Phuket has to offer," said Capt. Jeff Ruth, Nimitz commanding officer. "This is a great way for them to be good ambassadors of the United States while meeting the warm and friendly people of Thailand."

In addition to the COMSERVS, the ship's Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) program have set up a number of tours, hotel stays and activities while in port.

"MWR started the 'experience the culture of Thailand' campaign," explained Chief Operations Specialist Travis Lovegrove, MWR leading chief petty officer. "We're offering 17 different tours including private boat charters, elephant rides, temple tours, countryside tours and diving trips for every day we're in port. We've also offered discounted hotel rooms at approximately 15 different hotels so Sailors and Marines can go out and experience Phuket, Thailand to the fullest."

Port visits play an important role in the overall mission of the United States Navy and strengthen relationships with regional partners.

"Thailand has a rich cultural and historical heritage and I am proud of the strong relationship our two nations share," said Ruth. "Thailand and the United States have a friendship that spans more than 100 years, and it's a privilege to be able to contribute to its continuation."

The Nimitz Strike Group is currently deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations and supporting theater security cooperation efforts.

USA: USS Pearl Harbor Underway for First Pacific Partnership Mission Port

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Samantha J. Webb

<< A Sailor handles lines as USS Pearl Harbor (LSD-52) prepares to depart from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, May 25. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Johans Chavarro)

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii - The amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) departed its namesake May 25 for Samoa, the first mission port of Pacific Partnership 2013.

Conducted annually since 2006, Pacific Partnership is the largest disaster preparedness response mission in the Indo-Asia-Pacific Region. The mission was born after U.S. military responded to the needs of people in Southeast Asia following the devastating tsunami in 2004.

Samoa is scheduled to be the first of many mission ports including Tonga, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, and the Solomon Islands.

After a visit to the ship on Friday, Adm. Cecil D. Haney, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, said he was impressed by the enthusiasm displayed for Pacific Partnership 2013, an important deployment that both builds relationships and improves the multilateral approach needed to successfully respond in the eventuality of a regional crisis or disaster.

"It builds trust, enhances cooperation and opens dialogues between leaders," Haney said of the mission's multilateral approach, "That benefits all Pacific nations including the United States."

This year's mission will partner the U.S. Navy with non-governmental organizations and regional partners including Australia, Canada, France, Japan, Malaysia and New Zealand to improve maritime security, conduct humanitarian assistance and strengthen regional disaster response preparedness. Partner nations will lead individual phases for the first time in the history of the mission.

USA: Hagel to Visit Singapore, Brussels on Upcoming Overseas Trip

USS Freedom LCS-1 (File Photo)

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 28, 2013 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will travel to Hawaii, Singapore and Brussels beginning this week, senior defense officials announced today.

Hagel will deliver the opening keynote address at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, officials told Pentagon reporters during a background briefing.

The annual conference draws defense and security experts from across the Asia-Pacific region. One official noted Hagel will attend the dialogue for the first time this year as defense secretary, but that as a senator, he helped to found the event in 2002.

“He’s spoken a number of times at the forum, and he’s really looking forward to going back now,” an official said. This will be Hagel’s first trip to Asia as secretary, the official said, but his father served in the Pacific theater in World War II, and both Hagel and one of his brothers served together in Vietnam.

“He has a personal commitment to the security of Asia,” the official added.

There will be “a lot of focus on follow-through” at this year’s event, one official said. He noted that last year, then-Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta gave a speech outlining initiatives accompanying the U.S. strategic rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region. Two of those steps -- moving a littoral combat ship to Singapore and deploying Marines to Darwin, Australia -- have taken place in the intervening year, the official said, and Hagel will discuss those and other issues with counterparts from the region. The secretary also will tour the USS Freedom, the first littoral combat ship in the region.

Officials said Hagel’s schedule in Singapore includes a number of bilateral meetings and two trilateral meetings: one with South Korean and Japanese ministers, and another with Australian and Japanese counterparts.

En route to Singapore, the secretary will visit U.S. troops and military leaders during a stop in Hawaii, the official said. Hagel’s travel will wrap up with a gathering of defense ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels, the official said.


BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Tuesday 28 May 2013 – In less than a month time, Brunei Darussalam will be hosting the Inaugural ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus) Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief and Military Medicine Exercise (HADR & MM Ex) that is scheduled from the 17th June until the 20th June 2013. This combined exercise will bring together more than 2,000 military personnel from the 10 ASEAN countries as well as the 8 Plus countries which include Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea and the United States. The exercise participants will arrive as early as the 1st June 2013.

Last week, the Commander of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces, Major General Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin visited all of the relevant sites to finalise preparations for the upcoming exercise. Also joining the visit was the Joint Force Commander, First Admiral Dato Seri Pahlawan Abdul Aziz bin Haji Mohd Tamit, the Chairman of the ADMM Plus HADR & MM Ex.

The inaugural ADMM-Plus HADR & MM Exercise will be held back-to-back with the 2nd  ASEAN Militaries’ Humanitarian and Disaster Relief Exercise that is scheduled for 16 June 2013. Both exercises are the major deliverables during Brunei Darussalam’s ADMM and ADMM-Plus Chairmanship this year.