Australia — Counterinsurgency and Stabilisation in the 21st Century

Chief of the Defence Force Con­fer­ence
The Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Mar­shal Angus Hous­ton has held the inau­gur­al Chief of the Defence Force Con­fer­ence at the Aus­tralian Defence Col­lege in Can­ber­ra.

The con­fer­ence enti­tled Beyond Asym­me­try: Coun­terin­sur­gency and Sta­bil­i­sa­tion in the 21st Cen­tu­ry focus­es on one of the most chal­leng­ing issues fac­ing Aus­tralia at the region­al and inter­na­tion­al levels. 

Air Chief Mar­shal Hous­ton said the two-day con­fer­ence would enable the region­al secu­ri­ty com­mu­ni­ty to come togeth­er to analyse the com­plex­i­ty of the mod­ern strate­gic secu­ri­ty environment. 

“Sta­bil­i­sa­tion inter­ven­tions have occurred in our imme­di­ate region, in Tim­or-Leste in 1999 and 2006 and the Solomon Islands in 2003. These nation-build­ing mis­sions remain ongo­ing for both the ADF and our var­i­ous region­al part­ners and oth­er Gov­ern­ment agency col­leagues,” Air Chief Mar­shal Hous­ton said. 

“Beyond our region, we con­tin­ue to con­tribute to mil­i­tary con­tin­gen­cies in areas such as the Mid­dle East and Africa to uphold glob­al secu­ri­ty through mis­sions that embrace peace oper­a­tions, mar­itime secu­ri­ty and counter-piracy. 

“In Afghanistan, our aim is to pre­vent that nation from again being used by ter­ror­ists to plan, pre­pare and train to under­take attacks against Aus­tralians. We face a deter­mined, skilled and very well sup­port­ed insur­gent group.

“Broad­ly, Gen­er­al Petraeus’ com­pre­hen­sive coun­terin­sur­gency strat­e­gy uses all means avail­able to us to tar­get the insurgency’s sup­port struc­tures and destroy­ing its abil­i­ty to dis­rupt secu­ri­ty, devel­op­ment and governance. 

“Impor­tant­ly, the effort is across gov­ern­ments, agen­cies, mil­i­tary and civil­ian areas of expertise. 

“The ulti­mate aim for mil­i­tary com­man­ders in any coun­terin­sur­gency and sta­bil­i­sa­tion mis­sion is to ‘shape, clear, hold, build’ against insur­gent adver­saries and then to trans­fer the bulk of respon­si­bil­i­ty for secu­ri­ty from the inter­ven­tion forces to the indige­nous forces. 

“We must view the build­ing of sta­bil­i­ty in frag­ile states as a process in which mil­i­tary assets, polit­i­cal time­lines and devel­op­ment bench­marks are sequenced to allow a pro­gres­sive han­dover to sus­tain­able governments.” 

The bien­ni­al con­fer­ence allows mil­i­tary, civil­ian and aca­d­e­m­ic pro­fes­sion­als who work in the secu­ri­ty envi­ron­ment to exchange ideas and learn from field expe­ri­ence and aca­d­e­m­ic analysis. 

The con­fer­ence has been inter­na­tion­al­ly sup­port­ed with pre­sen­ters from India, Pak­istan, Sin­ga­pore, the Unit­ed King­dom and the Unit­ed States, as well as sev­er­al spe­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Malaysia, the Philip­pines, Sin­ga­pore and Thailand. 

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Australia 

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