Home' Air Force News : May 4th 2012 Contents 4
May 4, 2012
CPL Nick Wiseman
WITHDRAWAL from Afghanistan
and the shift of economic weight to
our region are two influences that have
brought forward the development of a
new Defence White Paper.
The paper, originally scheduled
for release in 2014, will be delivered
in the first half of 2013.
The joint announcement by Prime
Minister Julia Gillard and Defence
Minister Stephen Smith on May 3
follows significant developments
both internationally and domestically
since the 2009 White Paper.
"The Gillard Government remains
committed to delivering the core
capabilities identified in the 2009
White Paper and to delivering one
of the most capable defence forces
in our region, with the people and
equipment needed for the task," the
joint statement said.
This commitment included the
amphibious capability, Joint Strike
Fighter and new submarines.
The operational drawdown of
forces in Afghanistan and potentially
East Timor and Solomon Islands will
involve a major readjustment.
The statement indicated the
Government would need to carefully
evaluate what impact this will have
on the ADF and Australia's defence
AUSTRALIAN troops in Solomon
Islands could begin drawing down
as early as next year, according to
Defence Minister Stephen Smith.
After a meeting with Solomon
Islands Prime Minister Gordon
Lilo on Anzac Day, Mr Smith said
the time was right to consider a
drawdown of Regional Assistance
Mission to Solomon Islands
(RAMSI) military elements.
"Noting RAMSI's success to date
and the improving security situation,
we agreed to start the consulta-
tion process on transitioning out of
Solomon Islands the military compo-
nent of RAMSI," Mr Smith said.
"The drawdown process will
involve further consultation with
Solomon Islands, New Zealand and
the Pacific Islands Forum."
He said it was unlikely for any
drawdown to begin before next year
and suggested the police element of
RAMSI would stay on after most mili-
tary forces had left.
"Australia will continue to support
RAMSI, including important ongo-
ing support for the Royal Solomon
Islands Police Force and RAMSI's
multinational Participating Police
Force," he said.
"Over the 10-year period, the
RAMSI component has very much
changed to a law and justice and pub-
lic security emphasis, and that's why
there will be a continuing process of
the substantial police deployment."
Mr Smith said he also discussed
with Mr Lilo the possibility of ongoing
engagement between the ADF and
Solomon Islands through a Defence
Cooperation Program after the RAMSI
Other developments leading to the
new White Paper include:
The strategic change in our
region, including the shift of eco-
The reform program targeting
capability development, procure-
ment and acquisition and budget
The need for Australia to have the
necessary skills and capacity to
support future developments and
The annual updates to the
Defence planning guidance docu-
ment which identifies contingen-
cies Australia may face in the
The Force Structure Review
which started last November.
Ms Gillard and Mr Smith also
released the ADF Posture Review on
The review assessed whether
the ADF was correctly positioned
geographically to meet current and
future strategic challenges.
The review found that while Air
Force bases were well located, many
lacked the capacity to support new air-
craft and some northern bases faced
significant logistical constraints.
It recommended upgrades to
RAAF Bases Edinburgh, Pearce,
Tindal and Townsville and bare bases
Curtin and Learmonth, with Scherger
as a lower priority.
These upgrades would allow
unrestricted operations by KC-30A
Multi-Role Tanker Transport and P-8
Poseidon aircraft -- the future Orion
replacement -- as well as support
future combat aircraft operations.
The findings and considerations
from the ADF Posture Review will
feed directly into the development of
the 2013 White Paper.
The official statement went on to
say while the global financial crisis
was noted in the 2009 White Paper,
the White Paper was completed prior
to the unfolding of events.
"The global financial crisis has
continued to have a significant
impact on the global economy," it
said. "Defence forces of major devel-
oped countries such as the United
States have increased efficiencies
and reduced budgets."
A Ministerial advisory group
has been formed including Dr Allan
Hawke, Mr Ric Smith and Mr Paul
Rizzo to help develop the 2013
White Paper advances
CHANGING PRIORITIES: ADF
personnel disembark from an
Australian Hercules on arrival
at Kandahar Airfield in southern
Afghanistan; above, a KC-30A
Multi-Role Tanker Transport is
prepared for flight.
Photos: LS Andrew Dakin and LACW
Exit from Solomon Islands
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