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ANZUS must be boosted in post cold war era: Downer

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"Australia must do more to promote a widening of ANZUS defence co-operation with the United States as a response to the end of the Cold War."

Speaking Thursday evening at the annual general meeting of the Defence Manufacturers' Association in Melbourne, the Shadow Minister for Defence, Alexander Downer, said that ANZUS co-operation should be boosted.

"There is a need at the highest levels of Government to address what should be done to make the alliance with the United States even more effective in the post Cold War era.

"We in Australia should not leave this process of change to chance.

"In the Asia-Pacific region the US defence posture might best be described as a continuing commitment to regional security but a changing direct military presence with overall force numbers being cut.

"It is up to Australia to encourage the United States to remain substantially forward deployed in the region by extending ANZUS co-operation to make it even more relevant to the post Cold War situation.

"The Coalition will encourage increased co-operation in a range of areas including facilitating Australian participation in anti-ballistic missile research.

"A number of further initiatives will be announced in our forthcoming Defence policy statement", Mr Downer said.

"These proposals will be advanced hand-in-hand with the Coalition's increased commitment to regional security co-operation.

"Indeed the Americans have been far more active than the Labor Government in Australia in developing these ties, and the South East Asians have been more active than Australia in turning changes circumstances to their advantage."

(ends) 3 September 1992 (34)

More Information: Peter Jennings (06) 277 4145


Parliament House, Canberra, A C T 2600 Telephone (06) 277 4145 Facsimile (06) 277 2143 After Hours Telephone: (08) 339 5152 or (06) 286 1504

Speech embargoed until 7.30 pm, 3 September 1992.

T h e A u s t r a l i a n - A m e r i c a n D e f e n c e A l l i a n c e

Alexander Downer, MP

Shadow Minister for Defence

Address to the Annual Dinner of the Defence Manufacturers' Association of Australia.

Melbourne, 3 September 1992

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The end of the Cold Wa r a n d regional security

For forty years the ANZUS Treaty has been the keystone of Australia's security. The end of the Cold W ar and continuing trade disputes with the United States, particularly over US wheat subsidies, has prompted some Australians to question the continuing value of the defence alliance.

I want to argue that both Australia and the United States continue to get great practical benefits from the alliance. However, we need to understand that in future Australia will need to make a greater effort in enhancing our own security and, indeed, the security of the region.

The end of the Cold W ar has forced very many countries to make major revisions to their defence and security policies.

In fact, I think the Australian Labor Government must be almost alone among significant countries in not seeing the need to make a fundamental re-assessment of our national security outlook. Labor still maintains that the 1987 Defence White Paper is the last word on Australian security.

If this were true it would be a marvellous thing, because Labor could claim to have invented a defence policy which never needed revising no matter how fundamental the changes to global and regional security.

Labor's failure to recognise the need to update its major public defence statement has kept Australia lagging at a time when other countries in the region are devoting a good deal of effort to meeting the challenges posed by the end of the Cold War.

Clearly, the country most profoundly affected by the end of the Cold War is the United States itself. The American Defence establishment is still going through a prolonged period of review to determine how it should change to meet the new security situation.

This is going to be a continuing process. Although the Bush Administration has announced the main elements of the proposed size and shape of the future US Defence Forces, the Presidential election and continuing strategic changes could result in further alterations to the US Defence posture.

The obvious question which arises is: what impact will these changes have on the US defence relationship with Australia and, more generally, on Asia-Pacific security as a whole?

Continuing commitment, changing presence

In the Asia-Pacific region the US defence posture might best be described as a continuing commitment to regional security but a changing direct military presence with overall force numbers being cut.

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Current US force planning proposes that the total size of the US military be cut by 25 per cent by 1996. The effect of this will be to see major reductions in troop numbers and equipment.

The greatest reductions of US overseas deployed forces will be from the European theatre. By comparison, the presence of overseas deployed US forces in the Asia-Pacific will be maintained at quite high levels.

There will, however, be cuts. These were outlined in a 1990 US Defence Department report entitled A Strategic Framework for the Asian-PaciGc Rim: Looking Forward to the Twenty-First Century.

This report proposed initial cuts to the overseas-based US military presence in the Asia Pacific of around 14,000 to 15,000 personnel. That amounts to about an eleven per cent reduction from a total in 1990 of 135,000 personnel.

The report foreshadowed that further reductions would take place in two phases over the next ten years. The exact numbers of these reductions were not specified.

The largest concentrations of US overseas-based forces in the Asia-Pacific is in Japan, South Korea and - at the time the report was written - the Philippines.

Since the publication of this report, the United States has suspended the reduction of US forces from South Korea as an expression of concern at North Korea's attempts to develop a nuclear weapons capability.

Also since 1990, the failure of negotiations over US basing in the Philippines - as well as the effects of the volcanic eruption of Mount Pinatubo -- have resulted in a rapid and comprehensive withdrawal of US forces from the Philippines. The US 13th Air Force

left Clark Base months ago, and the US Navy 7th Fleet will have left Subic Bay by the end of 1992.

In 1990 just under 15,000 US military personnel were based in the Philippines. This number has been very substantially reduced. The US forces based in the Philippines have been redeployed to a number of sites including Guam, Hawaii and Alaska.

Implications o f the reduced direct US military presence

It is no exaggeration to say that the reductions of forward deployed US personnel has caused some concern in the Asia-Pacific region about the long-term prospects for a continuing US direct military presence in the region.

These concerns really need to be kept in perspective, the Us is not about tp pack up its tent and go away — not even liberal democrats!

It is important to note that the United States will still maintain a significant direct military presence in the Asia-Pacific even after the current force reduction measures are taken into account.

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A US Navy carrier battle group remains forward deployed at Yokuska in Japan. US Pacific Command in Hawaii has the capacity to project substantial forces into the region with very little notice. This capability is added to by US forces stationed in Guam, Okinawa, as well as carrier battle group, marine and other force elements based on the

West coast of the continental United States.

There may be some concern about the additional transit time involved in order to get these forces to specific trouble spots.

However, in terms of operational activities; port visits, exercises, training exchanges and so on, the United States will maintain a high level of these activities in the Asia-Pacific.

It will be necessary for the United States to continue to do this in order to reassure the countries of the region that the US commitment remains high.

In addition the United States has been extending its security relations with other Asia- Pacific countries. Indeed the Americans have been far more active than Australia in developing these ties, and the South East Asians have been more active than Australia in turning changes circumstances to their advantage.

Growing regional co-operation with the US

Singapore has recently concluded an arrangement with the United States to host the Seventh Fleet Logistics Support Force, and to undertake further co-operation with the United States Air Force.

Both Malaysia and Indonesia are maintaining a dialogue with the United States on security matters and are exploring the possibilities of providing access for US forces to some maintenance facilities.

These are very encouraging developments and signal an ASEAN willingness to openly acknowledge the importance of maintaining a strong US presence in South East Asia.

The United States and India have also significantly boosted their defence ties by recently conducting naval exercises. India will host the next US Pacific Armies Management Seminar which will bring together representatives from several dozen Asia-Pacific countries.

All of these developments are very positive indications of the extent to which the United States remains committed to the region and is looking for new ways to demonstrate and sustain that commitment.

It is encouraging also to see that the countries of the Asia-Pacific are also willing to take tangible steps to further develop defence co-operation with the United States in ways which encourage the maintenance of a forward-based US military presence.

There is a clear regional hope that, even after the end of the Cold War, Asia-Pacific security can be underwritten by the maintenance of a US military presence.

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That presence is now and will be a powerful factor in containing the escalation into open conflict of a number of regional trouble spots.

Some Asia-Pacific countries will continue to worry, however, about US domestic politics taking a turn towards greater isolationism in foreign affairs matters.

This is certainly not the intention of the Bush administration. The President as well as his Secretary for Defence and Secretary for State have continued to stress that America is not about to reduce its security commitment to the Asia-Pacific region.

However, both on present US plans and foreseeable US Defence budget projections, the continuing US security commitment to the Asia-Pacific will be set within a declining direct US military presence.

How should Australia's respond to this situation?

ANZUS in the post Cold Wa r er a

Over the years there has been a rather banal debate in Australia about the extent to which ANZUS guaranteed that the US would provide direct combat support in the event of a "high level contingency."

Since the Second World War, that question has not been put to the test, but I always have, and still do, believe that the United States would prove to be a reliable and invaluable ally in such circumstances.

ANZUS, however, gives Australia much more than a likely guarantee of assistance in the event of Australia's security being threatened.

It gives us what the Defence establishment calls a massive "force multiplier". Through ANZUS, Australia has access to high technology defence equipment. This access is a key element in allowing Australia to maintain forces with a leading edge in defence capability.

Australia's limited resources means that we do not have the US capacity to develop a wide range of defence technology to that level.

ANZUS also gives Australia access to a logistic support network which we could not hope to duplicate locally.

ANZUS has provided the framework for a great variety of combined exercises, training programs and defence personnel exchanges which help to maintain our forces at their high level of proficiency.

Finally, ANZUS gives Australia access to intelligence which we could not gather ourselves.

It needs to be said that ANZUS is not a one-way street. The United States derives significant benefit from the relationship by being able to train and operate with

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Australian forces, make use of Australian facilities and regional expertise.

The former US Secretary of State, James Baker, has described the US approach to Asia- Pacific security in terms of "a fan spread wide, with its base in North America and radiating west across the Pacific."

The central 'supports' for the fan are the bilateral alliance commitments which the United States has with Japan, South Korea, Thailand the Philippines and, of course, Australia, which Baker described as "an important, staunch economic, political and security partner."1

It remains in Australia's direct security interest to promote the solidity and durability of the ANZUS alliance relationship.

The ANZUS alliance has served Australian and American security interests well. One of the great values of the alliance has been its flexibility and capacity to change in order to maintain its relevance to the prevailing security environment.

I have no doubt that ANZUS will be able to change to meet the more difficult security demands of the post Cold War world.

However, we in Australia should not leave this process of change to chance.

There is a need at the highest levels of Government to address what should be done to make the alliance with the United States even more effective in the post Cold War era.

Opportunities for further co-operation

I believe that there is scope to increase defence and security co-operation with the United States across a variety of areas.

Co-operation could be increased in Defence science, and in particular with regard to US research on ballistic missile defences known as GPALS which stands for Global Protection Against Limited (ballistic missile) Strikes.

GPALS is the offspring of the Strategic Defence Initiative, already some ten countries outside of the United States have participated in the research efforts to develop anti- ballistic missile technologies. There is considerable scope for Australian defence science to do the same. The Coalition will facilitate such participation.

There are also considerable opportunities for Australian defence industry to become more involved in joint venture work with the United States. Some US companies have already realised the potential which Australia offers as a means of developing closer ties with Asian countries.

James A Baker, III, "America in Asia: Emerging Architecture for a Pacific Community" Foreign Affairs. Winter 1991-92. pp. 1-19. p. 4.

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The scope for greater collaborative ventures between Australian and United States defence industries is certainly there.

Beyond these initiatives, however, I think Australia can do a lot more to broaden the scope of ANZUS co-operation.

Because of the withdrawal from the Philippines, the United States has had to develop new ways of maintaining a presence in South East Asia.

This has led to the Singapore logistics agreement and continuing negotiations with Malaysia and Indonesia.

The requirement for the United States to maintain a greater presence in the Middle East has also had an impact on things like deployment patters and transit requirements through the Pacific.

I believe that Australia is in a position to co-operate further with the United States in ways which will aid and strengthen the US intention to maintain strong ties in our region.

In this regard I support the project to develop the Delamere Air Combat Manoeuvre Range in the Northern Territory.

A substantial part of the equipment for the range has recently been delivered to Delamere on a hire-basis from the United States.

Maintenance of the range will provide an essential training facility for the RAAF, but it will also be of great use to the United States in maintaining training and operational experience in a very different set of conditions to those which prevail at the US Air

Combat Manoeuvre Range in Alaska.

Delamere should also be offered (on a cost recovery basis) as a training facility for regional Air Forces as well.

The development of the range is therefore of significant importance not only for its training value but also because it provides a focus for increased US defence activity in this part of the world.

The Coalition has identified a number of other areas where we will be able to increase defence and security co-operation with the United States.

These will be announced as part of our soon to be released defence policy statement.

The aim of these initiatives will be to broaden the defence association with the United States by offering forms of co-operation beneficial to both parties.

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Greater regional co-operation

It is not simply good enough constantly to call on the United States to maintain its effort in the Asia-Pacific.

As a close defence partner of many years standing, Australia needs to make sure that the benefits of the ANZUS relationship acts as a positive inducement to the United States to remain an active regional participant.

It is obvious that the end of the Cold War has placed a greater obligation on the countries of the Asia Pacific to do more to promote their own as well as regional security.

Japan, for example, has increased the financial underwriting of the US military presence on its soil, South Korea is preparing to take on the leading role in maintaining defence preparedness against the North, the ASEAN states are taking positive steps to address regional security problems.

In this context, Australia too needs to take appropriate steps to boost its contribution to regional security.

We can, inter alia, do this through increased activities with the United States, which will help to provide an appropriate focus for a sustained US regional presence.

This approach is perfectly in keeping with the Coalition's proposal to boost our defence ties with friends and allies in the region.

Senator Evans, among others in the Labor Government has made the fatuous claim that a policy calling for closer co-operation with the region can only be implemented at the expense of the US alliance.

What nonsense! The United States is itself becoming more directly involved with the ASEAN states in defence and security activities, and therefore a Coalition policy which intends to do the same is entirely compatible with the promotion of even closer ANZUS links.


At a time when there is little predicability or certainty in strategic matters, one thing which is certain is that ANZUS is a valuable security alliance not only for Australia and the United States but also for the wider region as well.

The United States is developing new security ties in South East Asia while the nature and number of its forces in the Asia Pacific undergo substantial changes.

Australia cannot afford passively to watch these developments in the way that the current Labor Government has done.

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We must seek simultaneously to develop new defence links with the region at the same time as we build new levels of co-operation between the ANZUS partners.

Far from being mutually exclusive, these two goals are, in fact, very closely linked. Improved co-operation in either area will help to move along the process of enhancing regional security.

The Coalition Government will therefore give emphasis to building up co-operation both in the region and within ANZUS.

ANZUS, along with the US treaties with Japan, South Korea, Thailand and the Philippines, has been an integral part of regional security.

Through expanding its regional defence co-operation links as well as building on existing ANZUS ties, Australia will do its utmost to encourage the United States to continue playing this role.