Australia-US/East Asia

Chronology from May 2012 to Aug 2012

: Lance Corporal Mervyn McDonald and Private Nathanael Galagher from the Special Operations Task Group die when a US helicopter crashes in Helmand Province.

: Three Australian soldiers are killed and two others wounded following an insider attack by an Afghan Army sergeant in the Baluchi Valley region of Uruzgan.

: Pacific Islands Forum is held in the Cook Islands.

:   DM Smith visits Vietnam to discuss Australia’s growing defense relationship with Vietnam, together with regional security issues.

: Australia is to spend A$1.5 billion to acquire the Growler electronic warfare system for its 24 Super Hornet aircraft, making Australia the only country other than the United States to operating Growler, which jams aircraft and land-based radars and communications.

: Australia announces implementation of sanctions on Iran, including trade in oil, petroleum, gas, financial services and precious metals, following the failure of the Iranian Government to engage constructively with the international community on its nuclear program.

: An inquiry headed by the previous chief of the ADF, Angus Houston, recommends the Labor government restore the “Pacific solution” to stem the wave of asylum seekers arriving in Australian waters by boat. The report calls for the re-opening of offshore processing centers in Nauru and Papua New Guinea and for further work on a people-swap deal with Malaysia. PM Gillard accepts all 22 recommendations and introduces legislation in Parliament the next day.

: Foreign ministers of Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji meet in Sydney and agree to upgrade diplomatic relations by the exchange of ambassadors. Australia and New Zealand are to ease travel restrictions on civilians working for Fiji’s military regime.

: DM Smith completes a visit to Honolulu for talks with senior United States military officials at United States Pacific Command and to observe Australia’s participation in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2012 Exercise.

: Director General of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service Nick Warner gives a speech on the 60-year history and current roles of the overseas spy service, the first ever public presentation by Australia’s spy master.

: The new four-year Defence Capability Plan is released, with a total cost estimate of A$153 billion.

: Australia says it will take a leading role in negotiating a global Arms Trade Treaty – imposing new controls on illicit cross-border dealings in weapons including automatic rifles, hand guns, rocket-propelled grenades, and ammunition.

: In Afghanistan, SAS Sergeant Blaine Flower Diddams is killed during an engagement with insurgents.

: Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono arrives in Darwin for talks with PM Gillard.

: Australia lifts its travel and financial sanctions on Burma, to encourage further democratic reform. As Burma’s second largest bilateral aid donor, Australian aid to Myanmar will more than double to A$100 million a year by 2015. FM Carr makes the announcements after talks with Burma’s Government and Aung San Suu Kyi.

: DM Smith visits China for the inaugural Australia-China Defense Ministers’ Dialogue.

: Australia will assume the leadership of Combined Team-Uruzgan in Afghanistan in late 2012, taking over from the US commander.

: Australia and Malaysia sign a free trade agreement.

: At the NATO-ISAF Summit in Chicago, PM Gillard and Afghanistan’s President Karzai sign a partnership agreement on Australian support beyond the troop withdrawal in 2014.

: An Australia-Japan Information Security Agreement is signed.

: Australia and the US sign joint statements to increase intelligence sharing to combat transnational crime, including terrorism, and to make travel between Australia and the United States easier.

: Final report of the Defence Force Posture Review is released. A new Defence White Paper is to be delivered in the first half of 2013, instead of 2014. Government announces it will provide A$214 million for further detailed studies and analysis to shape the decision on the design of Australia’s next submarine.

Date Range