Australia-US/East Asia

Chronology from Oct 2010 to Aug 2011

: In Afghanistan, Pvt. Matthew Lambert, 2nd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, dies as a result of wounds from an improvised explosive device.

: Australia’s Attorney General issues a certificate under the Defence (Visiting Forces) Act to cover a US Navy officer involved in a collision in Willowbank, Queensland, on July 24, when a cyclist was killed. Queensland police on Aug. 11 had charged the officer with dangerous driving causing death. The officer will be investigated under US military law.

: Assistant Secretary of State Campbell leads the US delegation to attend the 19th annual Australian-American Leadership Dialogue in Perth.

: Secretary of the Defence Department Ian Watt is appointed secretary of the Prime Minister’s Department. Prime Minister’s National Security Adviser Duncan Lewis becomes secretary of the Defence Department.

: Australia and Malaysia sign an agreement aimed to stop people-smuggling boats sailing into Australian waters. Australia is to send 800 asylum seekers of such boats to Malaysia.

: DM Smith arrives in the US to meet Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Secretary Clinton to discuss Afghanistan, the US Global Force Posture Review, and the September AUSMIN.

: DM Smith announces a review of maintenance and sustainment of Australia’s six Collins-Class submarines, saying problems with the submarines are long standing, deeply entrenched and technically complex.

: US Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs, Andrew Shapiro, visits Canberra.

: DM Smith visits Honiara to discuss the future of the Regional Assistance Mission (RAMSI) to Solomon Islands.

: In Queensland, about 14,000 US and 8,500 Australian personnel start sea, land, and air exercises. The biennial Talisman Sabre is the most complex bilateral exercise Australia conducts with the US.

:   In Afghanistan, Sgt. Todd Langley, 2nd Commando Regiment, is killed during an engagement with insurgents.

: The Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Toowoomba starts patrols in the Middle East as part of the international campaign for maritime security. The deployment is the 26th rotation by an Australian Navy ship to the Middle East area since 2001.

: Australian and New Zealand defense chiefs formalize a plan to use the ANZAC Ready Response Force (RFF) to exercise for joint emergency responses in the region.

: DM Smith announces Australia will undertake a force posture review to assess whether the Australian Defence Force (ADF) is correctly positioned geographically to meet Australia’s strategic and security challenges.

: Australia announces the purchase of 24 MH-60R Seahawk Romeo naval combat helicopters at a cost of more than $3 billion. Canberra says a significant advantage would be interoperability with the US Navy, which operates about 100 of the Romeos.

:   A Senior Officials Meeting of the Trilateral Strategic Dialogue is held in Washington, involving Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, Australian Foreign Affairs Deputy Secretary Paul Grigson, and Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Koro Bessho.

: At a NATO/ISAF Meeting in Brussels, DM Smith, says that following the transition to Afghan-led responsibility for security in 2014 Australia expects to remain in Afghanistan in some form, such as Special Forces operations and security over-watch.

: In a speech on the decade since 9/11, Attorney General Robert McClelland says that since 2000 there have been four major terrorist plots in Australia that had been disrupted by authorities. To date, 38 individuals have been prosecuted as a result of counterterrorism operations and 23 have been convicted; 37 of the 38 people prosecuted are Australian citizens and 21 of the 38 were born in Australia.

: DM Smith visits Brussels for the NATO/ISAF Ministers meeting on Afghanistan.

: In Afghanistan, Sapper Rowan Robinson, Incident Response Regiment, dies as a result of gunshot wounds sustained in an engagement with insurgents.

:   Lt. Gen. David Hurley is announced as new CDF. Air Marshal Mark Binskin will be vice CDF, Rear Adm. Ray Griggs will be chief of Navy, Maj. Gen. David Morrison will be chief of Army, and Air Vice Marshal Geoff Brown will be chief of Air Force.

: In Afghanistan, Lance Cpl. Andrew Jones, 9th Force Support Battalion, while on guard duty, is shot dead by an Afghan National Army soldier who was also manning the guard tower; Lt. Marcus Case, 6th Aviation Regiment, dies of wounds sustained in the crash of an Australian Chinook helicopter.

: Australia agrees to fund a new scholarship for an outstanding American professor to work with scientists from Australia. The new position, the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Advanced Science and Technology, is created by the Defence Science and Technology Organisation and the Australian American Fulbright Commission.

:   In Afghanistan, Sgt. Brett Wood, 2nd Commando Regiment, is killed by an improvised explosive device during a patrol.

:   In Washington, Secretary of State Clinton meets FM Kevin Rudd.

: PM Gillard issues a statement on the US operation in Abbottabad, Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden, describing it as a “great blow against terrorism.”

: DM Smith and Chief of Defense Forces Angus Houston arrive in Afghanistan to visit Australian forces.

: PM Gillard begins visit to Japan, South Korea, and China, her first bilateral visit as leader to Northeast Asia.

: In Dili, DM Smith has talks on East Timor’s defense and security and meets Australian soldiers deployed in the International Stabilization Force.

: To address the problem of no amphibious ships being serviceable, Australia buys a British Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Largs Bay, which will be commissioned as HMAS Choules.

: PM Gillard, Opposition Leader Abbott, and Governor-General Quentin Bryce, attend New Zealand’s National Memorial Service in Christchurch to commemorate the 65 lives lost in the Christchurch earthquake on Feb. 22.

: PM Gillard becomes the fourth Australian leader to address the US Congress.

: PM Gillard meets Secretary of State Clinton at the State Department.

: In Washington, PM Gillard meets President Barack Obama at the White House.

: Malaysia’s Prime Minister, Najib Razak, visits Canberra.

: Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell visits Canberra for talks with FM Rudd and DM Smith.

:   US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano begins a visit to New Zealand and Australia.

: In Afghanistan, Sapper Jamie Larcombe, 1st Combat Engineer Regiment, is killed during a battle with insurgents.  An Afghan interpreter is also killed.

: PM Gillard pays her first visit as leader to New Zealand and addresses Parliament in Wellington.

: DM Smith announces an inquiry into why the Australian Navy has no amphibious lift ships available because HMAS Manoora, HMAS Kanimbla and HMAS Tobruk are all out of action at the same time. Smith said the Navy’s “can do and make do” culture allowed problems with the ships to build up over a decade.

: In Washington, the first meeting of the steering committee of the Joint Commission on Science and Technology.

: New Zealand DM Wayne Mapp meets DM Smith in Wellington. They task their departments to produce a joint report by July to improve bilateral engagement, strengthen strategic bilateral exchanges and look at complementary military capabilities.

: In Afghanistan, an Australian soldier serving with Mentoring Task Force -2, Cpl. Richard Atkinson, 1st Combat Engineer Regiment, is killed by an improvised explosive device.

:   Australia-United Kingdom Ministerial talks announce “a comprehensive cyber partnership,” coordinating diplomatic, defense, and security efforts on cyberspace.

: Three men are found guilty of planning a terrorist attack on an Army base near Sydney allegedly in response to Australia’s military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq and by the jailing of other Muslim men on terrorism charges. Prosecutors say the men sought a religious decree from radical sheiks in Somalia to allow them to launch the attack.

: Australia and the US bring into force a new agreement for cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear material and technology. The agreement extends rules governing the bilateral transfer and use of nuclear material, and for safeguards to prevent proliferation.

: The Australian Federal Police (AFP) states that the publishing of US embassy cables containing classified information on the WikiLeaks website is not in breach of Australian law: “The AFP has completed its evaluation of the material available and has not established the existence of any criminal offences where Australia would have jurisdiction.”

: In Perth, DM Smith meets Adm. Robert Willard, commander of the US Pacific Command.

: Final flights by the Royal Australian Air Force F-111s after four decades of service.

: PM Gillard and DM Smith attend the NATO Summit in Lisbon to agree to the 2014 timeline for handing over control to the Afghan national security forces.

: Leaders of the nine Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries (Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, US, and Vietnam) meet on the margins of the APEC meeting, to discuss “a regional trade deal and resolved to seek to conclude the ambitious agreement as swiftly as possible.”

: The 18th APEC Leaders Meeting is held in Yokohama, Japan.

: Foreign Minister (FM) Kevin Rudd and Defense Minister (DM) Stephen Smith, host the annual Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates in Melbourne.

: PM Gillard visits Indonesia; meets President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

: PM Gillard visits Kuala Lumpur; meets Malaysian government ministers.

: The fifth EAS is held in Vietnam; invites the US and Russia to join the EAS.

: PM Gillard makes a statement on the Australian military role in Afghanistan, initiating a full Parliamentary debate.

: Australia joins the maritime exercise Eastern Endeavour 2010, part of the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), hosted by South Korea in Busan.

: The inaugural ASEAN-Plus Defense Ministers Meeting (ADMM+) in Hanoi, involving all members of the East Asia Summit (EAS), together with the US and Russia, agrees to establish expert working groups for counterterrorism, humanitarian and disaster relief, maritime security, and peacekeeping.  Australia and Vietnam sign a Memorandum of Understanding on Defense Cooperation.

: Asia Europe (ASEM) Summit is held in Brussels. Australia attends for the first time, with Prime Minister (PM) Julia Gillard making her first overseas trip as leader.

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