31 August 2013

USA: Hagel Praises ‘Unbreakable’ U.S.-Philippine Alliance

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

MANILA, Philippines, Aug. 30, 2013 – On the last stop of what he called a “very productive” trip to four countries in Southeast Asia, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met today with Philippine government and defense leaders and later paid his respects to U.S. troops laid to rest at the Manila American Cemetery.

The secretary left Washington, D.C., Aug. 22 and visited his counterparts in Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei before arriving today in Manila.

In Brunei on Aug. 28 he attended a meeting of defense ministers from 10 countries that belong to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN. The 10 member states are Burma, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Yesterday, he attended the second-ever meeting of the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting-Plus, a group made up of the 10 ASEAN defense ministers and eight dialogue partners: defense ministers from the United States, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, India, New Zealand and Russia.

Today in Manila, after meeting with President Benigno S. Aquino III at the Malacanang Palace, Hagel and National Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin held a press conference there.



BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Thursday 29 Aug 2013 – The Second (2nd) ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus concluded today at the Indera Samudra Grand Hall, Empire Hotel and Country Club, Brunei Darussalam.

The Ministers reaffirmed the strategic importance of the ADMM-Plus and the need to cooperate closer together. The Ministers agreed for relations to be guided by the fundamental principles enshrined in the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, especially the renunciation of the threat or use of force and exercise of self-restraint.

The Ministers re-emphasised their commitment to strengthen defence cooperation in promoting peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region based on the enduring principles of equality, mutual respect, mutual benefit and respect for international law.

In doing so, the Ministers agreed to promote capacity-building through greater engagements and interactions, enhance interoperability through training and joint exercises, and establish mechanisms for effective response. The Ministers also agreed to establish practical measures that reduce vulnerability to miscalculations, and avoid misunderstanding and undesirable incidents at sea.

News Report: How Would US Attack on Syria Affect Washington's Asia Pivot?

Scott Stearns

STATE DEPARTMENT — What does a possible U.S. attack on Syria mean for the Obama administration's pivot to Asia, which Washington is presenting as part of its disengagement from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?  

Preparations for a possible U.S. attack on Syria were part of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's talks with Asian allies in Brunei. 

"I think it was made clear by President Obama, and I have said it on a number of occasions, that if any action would be taken against Syria it would be an international collaboration," he said.

Hagel meeting with Asian defense ministers amid U.S. preparations for attacking Syria is an important sign for the region, according to Asia analyst Patrick Cronin. 

News Story: Japanese Defense Ministry Seeks 3% Budget Hike

Eyeing Marines-like Force, More US Cooperation

TOKYO — Japan’s defense ministry is looking for its biggest budget hike in two decades, partly to create a Marines-like force, it revealed Friday, as neighbors fret about Tokyo’s rising assertiveness.

Military bosses want more than 4.8 trillion yen (US $49 billion) — three percent up on last year — with much of their focus on safeguarding remote islands as a sovereignty row with China refuses to fade.

The move mirrors Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s policy of a more assertive diplomacy and a more active military.

Tokyo and Beijing have repeatedly butted heads over the ownership of the Tokyo-controlled islands called the Senkakus, which Beijing claims as the Diaoyus, with official Chinese ships and aircraft regularly testing Japanese forces.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: Lawmaker - Taiwan Plans To Buy 2 Frigates From US

Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate (Wiki Info - Image: Wiki)

TAIPEI — Taiwan plans to purchase two warships from the United States as part of its efforts to modernize its forces against a perceived military threat from China, a lawmaker said Friday.

The defense ministry has listed Tw $5.6 billion (US $187 million) in its 2014 and 2015 budgets to buy two Perry-class frigates from the US Navy, said lawmaker Lin Yu-fang, citing defense budgets submitted to the parliament.

The ministry aimed to buy two rather than four Perry-class frigates, as previously reported by the media, to replace some of its Knox-class frigates that were retired, Lin said.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: Hagel - Talks Advance on Wider US Military Role in Philippines

MANILA — The United States and the Philippines are moving toward an agreement that will expand the American military’s presence in the Philippines, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Friday during a visit to Manila.

Hagel and President Benigno Aquino “reaffirmed the progress being made” in talks begun earlier this month to allow a bigger military footprint in the Philippines, the Pentagon chief said.

“This progress is welcome and encouraging. I noted that our negotiating teams are working hard to finish the framework agreement in the near future,” he told reporters.

Hagel’s optimistic comments appeared to open the possibility that the negotiations, which resumed this week in the US capital, could be wrapped up in time for President Barack Obama’s expected visit to Southeast Asia later this year.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News story: Syrian Strikes Would Battle-Test Chinese Radars

JYL-1 3-D long-range surveillance radar


TAIPEI — If the US strikes Syria, China would get to see just how well some of its radars and electronic warfare (EW) emitters perform in combat.

Among the Chinese systems deployed by the Syrian military are the JYL-1 3-D long-range surveillance radar, Type 120 (LLQ120) 2D low-altitude acquisition radar, and JY-27 VHF long-range surveillance radar, according to Richard Fisher, a senior fellow with the US-based International Assessment and Strategy Center.

China would no doubt digest any performance data for use in a potential conflict with the US, which could be sparked by disputes over Taiwan, Senkaku Island or the South China Sea.

But the lessons would flow both ways. The Pentagon would scoop up wartime electronic emissions from the Chinese systems, and moreover, could test its own methods of countering the kind of anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) strategies and technologies that China is developing.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

Editorial: US Intelligence Community - The World’s 4th Largest Military?

By Zachary Keck

The Washington Post has the latest blockbuster report derived from the documents that former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked to media outlets. In a series of articles posted on Thursday, Wapo breaks down the various components of the U.S. “black budget”—that is, the money given to the 16 U.S. spy agencies that make up the intelligence community (IC).
One of the parts of the report that is not classified information is the actual size of the black budget itself. Although the U.S. does not release information on how much funding each agency receives, much less what it goes to, it does publish the aggregate of the 16 spy agencies’ budgets, albeit only after the fiscal year has ended.
For FY 2013 the Obama administration requested US$52.6 billion dollars for the intelligence community. Although Congress might not have approved that much money (we find out September 30), this was actually a decrease from the $53.9 billion the U.S. spent during FY 2012, and the $54.6 billion spent during FY 2011.

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: History the Weak Link in Beijing’s Maritime Claims

By Mohan Malik 

China says historical title supports its maritime claims. But did it really have sovereignty?

Beijing’s claims to nearly all of the South China Sea are now embossed in new Chinese passports and official maps. Chinese leaders and foreign ministry spokespersons insist with increasing truculence that the islands, rocks, and reefs have been China’s “territory since ancient times.” Normally, the overlapping territorial claims to sovereignty and maritime boundaries ought to be resolved through a combination of customary international law, adjudication before the International Court of Justice or the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, or arbitration under Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). While China has ratified UNCLOS, the treaty by and large rejects “historically based” claims, which are precisely the type Beijing periodically asserts. On September 4, 2012, China’s foreign minister, Yang Jiechi, told then U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that there is “plenty of historical and jurisprudence evidence to show that China has sovereignty over the islands in the South China Sea and the adjacent waters.”
As far as the “jurisprudence evidence” is concerned, the vast majority of international legal experts have concluded that China’s claim to historic title over the South China Sea, implying full sovereign authority and consent for other states to transit, is invalid and illegal. The historical evidence, if anything, is even less persuasive. There are several contradictions in China’s use of history to justify its claims to islands and reefs in the South China Sea, not least of which is its polemical assertion of parallels with imperialist expansion by the United States and European powers in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Justifying China’s attempts to expand its maritime frontiers by claiming islands and reefs far from its shores, Jia Qingguo, professor at Beijing University’s School of International Studies, argues that China is merely following the example set by the West. “The United States has Guam in Asia which is very far away from the U.S. and the French have islands in the South Pacific, so it is nothing new,” Jia told AFP recently.

Read the full 4 page story at The Diplomat

30 August 2013

AUS: Missile first for Navy (ASMD test)

HMAS Perth (File Photo)

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) have recently completed the final Operational Acceptance Trial for the Australian-designed Phased Array Radar and Combat Management System upgrades to the ANZAC Class frigate Anti-Ship Missile Defence (ASMD) system.

The trial included a number of successful Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) firings from HMAS Perth at the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) in Hawaii. During the trials, the ASMD system was challenged by a number of demanding firing scenarios. These included successful missile engagements against multiple sea-skimming targets including, for the first time in the RAN, an engagement by an ESSM against one of the world’s most advanced supersonic targets.

Perth’s Commanding Officer, Captain Lee Goddard, said the firing clearly demonstrated the effectiveness of the upgraded ASMD system.

CEA Phased Array Radar (File Photo)
“The targets were detected by the Australian designed and built CEA Phased Array Radar and the missiles were successfully launched and controlled in flight by the ship’s ASMD systems, resulting in the destruction of the targets,” Captain Goddard said.

“This proves the accuracy and precision of the upgraded systems to guide the weapon in a complex warfighting scenario.”

Perth is the first of eight ANZAC Frigates to enter the ASMD upgrade to improve her weapons systems and sensor arrays.

The Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, said “The ASMD upgrade provides the ANZAC class with a significantly enhanced level of self and local area defence against modern anti-ship missiles. The complexity of the firing scenarios is unsurpassed in the RAN’s history, particularly the successful firings against supersonic targets. The results from this activity are a ringing endorsement of the capability flowing from the ASMD program.”

The RAN and DMO acknowledge that the success of the program has largely been due to the outstanding efforts and collaboration by Navy, the DMO, Canberra-based CEA Technologies, SAAB Systems and the Defence Science and Technology Organisation.

Imagery of the firing is available HERE

USA: Defense Ministers End Brunei Meeting with Joint Declaration

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei, Aug. 29, 2013 – Eighteen defense ministers from nations throughout the Asia-Pacific region sat together after their meeting here today, each in turn signing a joint declaration that reaffirms their commitment to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and to working together peacefully and cooperatively for a better future.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was among them, having traveled here as part of an Asian trip -- his second in three months -- that also includes stops in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Yesterday, Hagel attended a meeting here of defense ministers from the 10 ASEAN member states of Burma, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. He also held bilateral meetings with counterparts from several other nations.

This morning, he attended the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting-Plus, made up of the 10 ASEAN defense ministers and eight dialogue partners: defense ministers from the United States, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, India, New Zealand and Russia.

This year, Russia’s deputy defense minister, Anatoly Antonov, participated in the ADMM-Plus meeting.

Industry: Australian Army MRH90 full-flight and mission simulator accepted for training

Inside the MRH-90 (NH-90) Simulator (File Photo)

Sydney, Australia, August 29, 2013 - (NYSE: CAE; TSX: CAE) - CAE today announced that the Commonwealth of Australia has accepted into service the first MRH90 full-flight and mission simulator (FFMS) located at the Army Aviation Training Centre Oakey in Queensland. 

CAE also announced the MRH90 FFMS has been certified by the Australian Defence Force Airworthiness Authority to Level D under the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and Joint Aviation Requirements (JAR) standards based on an evaluation conducted by an independent authority. This certification is equivalent to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration's Level D, the highest qualification for flight simulators.

This is the world's first NH90 helicopter simulator to be formally certified to Level D by a defence force and an independent aviation regulatory agency, and is considered the highest fidelity NH90 simulator in operation today. 

Commandant of the Australian Army's Aviation Training Centre, Colonel David Burke, said the MRH90 simulator is the best he has ever flown.

News Report: Hagel Concerned About Possible South China Sea Conflict

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says he is concerned about the possibility of further conflicts resulting from rising tensions in disputed Asian waters.

Hagel's comments appeared in the prepared remarks of a speech given Thursday to a gathering of Asian defense ministers at a Brunei resort overlooking the South China Sea, where several ASEAN members have overlapping claims with China.

The Pentagon chief said actions at sea "to advance territorial claims" are not effective, and "increase the risk of confrontation, undermine regional stability and dim the prospects for diplomacy."

Several ASEAN nations have accused China and its rapidly advancing military of using increasingly aggressive tactics in defending its claims to the energy-rich, strategic area.

The U.S. has said it does not take sides in the disputes, but has strengthened military cooperation with several nations there, most notably Vietnam and the Philippines.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told the ASEAN meeting Thursday that the South China Sea is "stable," and that there should be no concern about freedom of navigation in the area, an issue that has been repeatedly raised by Washington.

News Story: Taiwan To Spend $100M To Build Warship Dock at Spratlys

Taiping Island (Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)
TAIPEI — Taiwan plans to spend more than $100 million to build a dock big enough for warships in the disputed Spratly islands, a legislator said Thursday, as other claimants strengthen their regional military presence.

The plan submitted to parliament Thursday by the coast guard would cost Tw $3.4 billion (US $112.4 million). Sources said the spending is expected to be approved.

The dock will be an upgrade on the existing pier at the Taiwan-controlled island of Taiping, the biggest island in the Spratlys. It is scheduled to become operational in 2016.

“National security authorities have decided to expedite the project as the other countries in the region have been increasing their naval and air force deployment in the past few years, further complicating the issue,” legislator Lin Yu-fang said in a statement.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: India Issues Global Tender for Maritime Recon Planes


NEW DELHI — India is on a global hunt to procure nine medium range maritime reconnaissance (MRMR) aircraft equipped with anti-ship missiles.

The tender, worth more than $2 billion, was sent to overseas defense majors Alenia of Italy; US-based Boeing and Lockheed Martin; Saab of Sweden; Germany’s EADS, France-based Dassault; Embraer of Brazil and Bombardier of Canada.

The latest global tender is a rebid of tender floated in 2008 to buy six MRMR aircraft. That was withdrawn later because none of the vendors could meet the qualitative requirements of the tender.

In the latest tender, the nine MRMR aircraft will replace the Indian Navy’s Islanders (BN-21A) surveillance aircraft, which were used for coastal surveillance for many decades. The Islander aircraft, bought in 1976, will be given to the Coast Guard or could even be gifted to foreign countries,said an Indian Defence Ministry source. India has already donated two Islander aircraft to Myanmar.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: Indian MoD, Contractor Faulted in Guided-missile Purchases

Konkurs ATGM (Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)


NEW DELHI — India’s Defence Ministry has been severely criticized for buying 10,000 Konkurs-M anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) from Russia despite having a licensed production facility for the missiles at state-owned Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL).

The latest report of the comptroller and auditor general of India (CAG), placed in the Indian Parliament recently, said, “Failure of BDL to supply the missiles intended by the Indian Army resulted in conclusion of a contract for import of 10,000 missiles at a cost of $188 million defeating the very objective of avoiding dependence on foreign supplier for the ammunition.”

A source in BDL said the Russians failed to transfer the technology to India, which kept BDL from absorbing the information on time and led to production delays. However, a Russian diplomat here said all promised technologies for the advanced Konkus-M missile have been transferred to BDL.

However, the CAG report said BDL was slow in enhancing the production base for the Konkurs-M missiles.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: India to receive six MiG-29Ks in 2013

MOSCOW (BNS): India will take delivery of six Russian MiG-29K Fulcrum 'generation 4++' fighters this year, MiG CEO Sergei Korotkov said at the ongoing MAKS-2013 international air show.

Russia will deliver the fighter jets to India as part of a $1.5 billion contract signed in 2010 for 29 planes, a RIA Novosti report quoting Korotkov said.

Under the contract MiG is to deliver 29 MiG-29Ks before 2015. Russia delivered one MiG-29K this year and four aircraft in 2012, he added. 

Read the full story at Brahmand

Editorial: China Moves to Isolate Philippines, Japan

By Zachary Keck

The Philippines and Japan’s charm offensives towards China appear to have failed as Beijing seeks to isolate both powers within the region.
In recent weeks both the Philippines and Japan have made a number of overtures to China aimed at mending strained bilateral ties. Just this week, for instance, the chief of staff of the Philippine military, Emmanuel Bautista, pledged that his country would continue its no-confrontation doctrine in the South China Sea, while also saying that it would consider allowing Chinese naval ships to use the Subic port.
"Many foreign ships visit our ports and we welcome them, that is part of military diplomacy," Bautista toldThe South China Morning Post, referring to the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).
Equally notable, Filipino President Benigno Aquino III announced earlier this month that he was accepting an invitation from China to attend a one day business expo in Nanning. He was expected to be received by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during the September 3 trip.
Japan has been even bolder in its overtures to China, with numerous Japanese officials and former officials quietly visiting China on a number of occasions throughout the summer. Although few specific details were revealed about the trips, there was little doubt that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was sending the envoys to try and improve ties with China, which have been strained since Japan nationalized some of the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands last September.

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: India Eyes Drone-Launched Smart Bombs

By Zachary Keck

India will soon be equipping its drones with precision-guided munitions (PGMs), according to the head of the country’s defense technology agency.
According to The Hindu, on Monday Avinash Chander, the new Director-General of India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) said that “in a couple of months” his organization would begin testing PGMs that are small enough to fit onto Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).
The newspaper paraphrased Chander as saying that along with miniaturization, the “major thrust” of DRDO’s effort in the short term are on “bridging vital gaps in developing advanced seekers, sensors and actuators.” In the future, Chander said his agency would focus on the “development of navigation and telemetry on chip and that of loitering weapons with 80 percent explosives and 20 percent avionics.”
Speaking at the same conference as Chander, G. Satheesh Reddy, the head of Research Centre Imarat (RCI)—a missile research laboratory that is helping to develop India’s PGMs—said his company was working on extending the range of the PGMs to 100 km, up from 30 km currently.

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: What South Korea Can Learn from South Asia’s Nuclear Experience

By Timothy Westmyer and Yogesh Joshi

Those calling for South Korea to go nuclear should look at the India-Pakistan experience.

India and Pakistan are again at loggerheads, with five Indian soldiers and two Pakistani soldiers were killed on the Line of Control (LOC) in the disputed Kashmir region earlier this month. Since then, the LOC has seen a rapid escalation in cross border exchanges of fire, bringing the sustainability of the 2003 cease fire agreement between the two neighbors into doubt. Earlier, in January, India had accused Pakistani Special Forces of killing two Indian soldiers, claiming one of them was beheaded. These provocations come as progress is stalled in the prosecution of the alleged Pakistan-based masterminds of the 2008 attacks in Mumbai. New Delhi remains unable to influence Islamabad’s policy on state-sponsored terrorism, despite the presence of nuclear arsenals in South Asia since the 1990s.
Something similar is visible on the Korean Peninsula. North Korean provocations have persisted since its first nuclear weapon test in 2006. Seoul, like New Delhi, has vacillated between diplomacy and military threats to no avail. South Korea’s current state of strategic frustration has convinced some leaders in Seoul that their country needs an indigenous nuclear capability. In the lead-up to President Park Geun-Hye’s inauguration, members of her own Saenuri Party encouraged a nuclear build-up. Rep. Shim Jae-Cheol argued the “only way to defend our survival would be to maintain a balance of terror that confronts nuclear with nuclear.” In June 2012, former Saenuri Party chairman and presidential candidate Chung Mong-Joon called for a (PDF) “comprehensive re-examination of our security policy” that should give Seoul “the capability to possess” a nuclear arsenal. At a conference earlier this year in Washington (PDF), DC Chung leaned heavily on the U.S.-Soviet model: “The only thing that kept the Cold War cold was the mutual deterrence afforded by nuclear weapons…The lesson of the Cold War is that against nuclear weapons, only nuclear weapons can hold the peace.”
These proliferation optimists cite the U.S.-Soviet Cold War model of nuclear deterrence to claim that a South Korean nuclear arsenal would prevent future aggression. The experience of new nuclear weapon states in South Asia, however, suggests that South Korean nuclear weapons will not prove tremendously helpful to this end.

Read the full 3 page story at The Diplomat

29 August 2013

Think Tank: The pivot and the red line - the Syrian Civil War and US credibility in the Asia–Pacific

By Andrew Kwon
<< National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice briefs President Barack Obama during his Presidential Daily Briefing in Chilmark, Mass., Aug. 12, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) 

Called a ‘War Speech’ by the Washington Post’s Max Fisher, Secretary of State John Kerry dispelled all doubt at his Monday evening press conference over the Obama administration’s consideration of military action against Syria’s Bashar Al-Assad regime. Almost a year to the day since President Obama made his ‘red line’ comment regarding the use of chemical weapons in Syria, its most recent (and visible) use on the outskirts of the Syrian Capital of Damascus has forced the President and his administration into the awkward position of preparing for another Middle Eastern conflict at a time they’d promised to be thinking about the Asia-Pacific.

Despite the words of key administration officials and even its unveiling as the Administration’s foreign policy blueprint by President Obama before the Australian Parliament in 2011, doubt over the US ‘Rebalance to Asia’ formed unsurprisingly quickly. At the core of these doubts, even prior to current issues related to sequestration, stood the tall order of US disengagement from combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Due in part to the considerable investment of the Administration’s early energy into reducing the visible presence of the US in the Middle East, it seemed inevitable to some that the region would reemerge as the primary focus of the Administration as unaddressed issues would build critical mass and become too large to ignore.

USA: USS Bonhomme Richard Arrives in Darwin for Exercise, Visit

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jerome D. Johnson

<< Seaman Dustin Johnson throws a messenger line to the pier as USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) arrives in Darwin, Aug. 28. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Edward Guttierrez III)

DARWIN, Australia - The forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) and embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) arrived in Darwin, Australia Aug. 28, for a scheduled port visit.

While in port Bonhomme Richard and the 31st MEU will participate in Exercise Koolendong 2013 (EK 13), a bilateral exercise taking place at the Bradshaw Field Training Area (BFTA) in Australia's Northern Territory.

During the visit Bonhomme Richard Sailors and Marines will also participate in various community service projects, sporting events, as well as enjoy the sites and hospitality of this city of one hundred thousand people located in Australia's Northern Territory.

"We are looking forward to continuing training with one of our closest allies in the region during EK 13," said USS Bonhomme Richard Commanding Officer Capt. Daniel Dusek. "This visit not only demonstrates the United States commitment to the region, but also provides a great opportunity to enjoy the hospitality of the people of Darwin."

The Bonhomme Richard ARG is commanded by Capt. Cathal O'Connor, commodore, Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 11 and reports to the Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, Rear Adm. Jeffrey A. Harley, headquartered in White Beach, Okinawa, Japan.

USA: Hagel Meets with ASEAN Defense Ministers in Brunei

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei, Aug. 28, 2013 – On the first day of Southeast Asia’s most important annual defense ministerial conference, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met here with his counterparts from the 10 nations that make up the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

On the sidelines, the secretary also took time for bilateral talks on the region and broader topics with his counterparts from Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Brunei, Burma and China.

The ASEAN member states are Burma, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. During lunch today and a meeting afterward, Hagel and the members discussed the need to advance practical cooperation to build trust and lower tensions throughout the region.

When Hagel was in Singapore in June attending the Shangri-La Dialogue meeting, he invited the ASEAN defense ministers to Hawaii in 2014 for an informal meeting -- their first in the United States. During the luncheon, all 10 ministers accepted his invitation.


By Normasitirena Suhaini

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Wednesday 28 August 2013 – On the sideline of the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Retreat (ADMM Retreat) and the 2nd ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM Plus), the Chairman of the ADMM Retreat/ 2nd ADMM Plus, Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Retd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Awang Haji Mohammad Yasmin bin Haji Umar, Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister’s Office, Brunei Darussalam, held separate bilateral meetings with Defence Ministers and representatives to the 2nd ADMM-Plus.

Yesterday, the Chairman of the 2nd ADMM Plus held separate bilateral meetings with the Defence Ministers of Malaysia, Union of Myanmar and Republic of Indonesia and the United States Secretary of Defense at the Main Atrium Building, Empire Hotel and Country Club.

Today, the Chairman of the 2nd ADMM-Plus continued to hold separate bilateral meetings with the Defence Ministers of Japan, Republic of India, Republic of Korea, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, New Zealand, People’s Republic of China, and Republic of Singapore. The Chairman is also expected to hold separate bilateral meeting with Australian Defence Minister and Russian Deputy Minister of Defence tomorrow.

During the bilateral meetings, the Chairman of the 2nd ADMM-Plus expressed his appreciation for the support rendered throughout Brunei Darussalam’s chairmanship of the ASEAN Defence Meetings.

Also attending the bilateral meetings were Commander of Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF), Major General Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin, and the Permanent Secretary (Defence Policy and Development), Colonel (Retd) Pengiran Dato Paduka Haji Azmansham bin Pengiran Haji Mohamad.


By Normasitirena Suhaini

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Wednesday 28 August 2013 – Arrivals of Defence Ministers and representatives attending the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Retreat (ADMM Retreat) and the 2nd ASEAN Defence Ministers’ were welcomed by senior officials of the Ministry of Defence of the host country at the Brunei International Airport and the Rimba Airbase today.

The list of Defence Ministers and representatives that have arrived in the country for the 2nd ADMM Plus includes:

  1. The Honourable Stephen Smith MP – Minister of Defence, Australia
  2. His Excellency General Tea Banh - Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defence, Kingdom of Cambodia
  3. His Excellency General Chang Wanquan – State Councilor and Minister of National Defence, The People’s Republic of China
  4. The Honourable Mr Jitendra Singh – Minister of State for Defence, Republic of India
  5. His Excellency Prof. Dr. Ir. Purnomo Yusgiantoro - Minister of Defence, Republic of Indonesia
  6. His Excellency Mr Itsunori Onodera – Minister of Defence, Japan
  7. His Excellency Kim Kwan-Jin – Minister of National Defence, Ministry of Defence, Republic of Korea
  8. His Excellency Lieutenant General Douangchay Phichith – Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defence, Lao People’s Democratic Republic
  9. The Honourable Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein – Minister of Defence, Malaysia
  10. His Excellency Lieutenant General Wai Lwin -  Minister of Defence, Republic of The Union of Myanmar
  11. The Honourable Jonathan Coleman - Minister of Defence, New Zeland
  12. His Excellency Voltaire T.Gazmin, Secretary of Department of National Defense, Republic of the Philippines
  13. His Excellency Mr. A. I. Antonov – Deputy Minister of Defence, Russia
  14. His Excellency Dr Ng Eng Hen, Minister for Defence, Republic of Singapore
  15. His Excellency General Yuthasak Sasiprapha – Deputy Minister of Defence, Kingdom of Thailand
  16. The Honorable Chuck Hagel – Secretary of Defense, United States of America
  17. His Excellency General Phung Quang Thanh - Minister of National Defence, Socialist Republic of Vietnam

  18. His Excellency Nyan Lynn – Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN

Industry: Northrop Grumman Australia Agrees to Acquire Qantas Group's Defence Services Business

FALLS CHURCH, Va. – Aug. 28, 2013 – Northrop Grumman Australia Pty Limited, a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC), announced that it has signed a definitive agreement with Qantas Airways Limited (ASX:QAN) to acquire Australia-based Qantas Defence Services Pty Limited (QDS). QDS provides integrated logistics, sustainment and modernization support to Australian government and military customers. The acquisition is subject to various conditions and is expected to close in 2014. Terms of the transactions were not disclosed.

"QDS complements our current integrated logistics and modernization efforts and advances our international strategy. We expect QDS will provide an important platform for international growth in our key focus areas of unmanned, C4ISR, cyber, and logistics and modernization," said Wes Bush, Northrop Grumman chairman, chief executive officer and president.

"Northrop Grumman's in-country revenue and footprint are significantly enhanced by the QDS acquisition, underscoring our commitment to the Australian and regional defence markets," said Ian Irving, Northrop Grumman chief executive for Australia.

With more than 300 employees in facilities throughout Australia, QDS provides through life support for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Multi Role Tanker Transport fleet, turn-key operational logistics services for the Australian Government's VIP aircraft, and engine overhaul services for the Orion P-3 and Hawk Lead-in Fighter. In addition, Indonesia recently awarded QDS a contract to refurbish C-130H aircraft. QDS also provides engineering consultancy services to the Royal Australian Navy and other maritime customers.

NOTE: The Qantas Defence ServicesLink in the above was added by PacificSentinel for clarity & context.