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Minister's Speech to ASPI Lunch, 26 March 2007



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SPEECH The Hon. Bruce Billson, MP Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence Monday, 26 March 2007 Minister’s Speech to ASPI Lunch HUMAN SECURITY Introduction Thank you for that Steve. And welcome to each and every one of you to what I think is a discussion about the issue of our time. I’ll touch more on why I feel that way but first may I extend my welcome to: - the Excellencies, Heads of Missions that have joined us - some dear friends of mine as well. I think of Alan March our Humanitarian Co-ordinator from AusAID, so good to see you here sir and my admiration for you and all the AusAID team is undiminished. It has been some 14 months since we had other things given to us to do. - To Major General Adrian Clunies-Ross, Sir, thankyou for all you’re doing in leadership of the Australian War Memorial, a remarkable national institution, congratulations for your work - Some friends closer to home, RADM Simon Harrington, you might not know that Simon had a very distinguished military career before becoming Repatriation Commissioner for the services in the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and made a phenomenal contribution, it is good to see you here Simon. - And to Bill Rolfe, now our Repatriation Commissioner, - I would also like to mention Henry Urgas who is a fellow traveller on the Defence Industry Policy process, Henry good to see you here, and your wise counsel is always valued - Thankyou Steve for that introduction and thankyou for the support of Unysis is the work that ASPI is doing and this very important discussion. I’d like to locate my remarks in a space that I’ve spent a bit of time working in and it’s around this growing debate around Human Security. I have had the good fortune to work alongside the Federal Police in Tsunami havocked Thailand and the islands of Phuket after that disaster. To see how the military combined with the Tsunami in Banda Aceh, to travel to war zones with our people, to admire the work of AusAID, Department of Foreign Affairs and Defence professionals, the Australian Federal Police and the many committed individuals that are making a very real contribution in this area of Human Security. I seek your indulgence to forgive me for being a little evangelical about all this because I feel very strongly about the importance of this area of work and how it will increasingly occupy not only the minds of all of us in this room but of the nation more generally.

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Firstly, the work of those people that are doing the human security thing day in day out can’t be allowed to go unrecognised. This is difficult work and we see the men and women of the Australian Defence Force as I’ve mentioned, Federal Police, Foreign Affairs and Trade officials, our intelligence people our AusAID team, our many civilians that provide support

and also those right across government that recognise human security needs a comprehensive away game. It is not any one agency’s business, but a collaboration of all the best we have to offer, from those not only serving within government agencies but also of the broader community. We need that kind of commitment though, to make sure that the support we provide those nations facing, grappling with, at risk of failure within their own state or in a time when their capability is not meeting the challenges that their nation faces, we need to give our very best - and there are people doing that every day.

Australia is, at heart, a nation of nation builders. We know that in our own story but we also see that played out every day in the constructive role that our people play and in their challenge in this new complex environment. We face that challenge and I would like to leave you with the thoughts today at the end of my contribution that we are actually leading a lot of that work. Our expertise in this new environment is recognised internationally. Perhaps it is time that we gave it a greater recognition within our own country.

Australia has quite an incredible record in this area. We have achievements and we’ve learned insights that are now being applied more generally.

What is Human Security? The concept of human security is all about a much greater link between individual, national, and international security. The term itself - "human security" - was first officially used in the 1993 United Nations Human Development Report.

According to the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, which is at the forefront of the human security debate - human security is "safety for people from both violent and non-violent threats."

In its broadest interpretation, this definition touches on the right of individuals to live, work and participate - without fear - in the social, political, and economic structures that affect their lives and livelihoods. This places personal security very close to water, food, and shelter on the continuum of basic human needs.

In 2004, the United Nations released the report of the Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change. That report, entitled ‘A more secure world: Our shared responsibility’, highlighted “six clusters of threats with which the world must be concerned, now and in the decades ahead”. Those clusters are:

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• Economic and social threats, including poverty, infectious disease and environmental degradation; • Inter-state conflict; • Internal conflict, including civil war, genocide and other large-scale atrocities; • Nuclear, radiological, chemical and biological weapons; • Terrorism; and • Trans-national organised crime

The Secretary-General’s report suggested that the primary challenge for the United Nations and its members was, and I quote, “to ensure that … those [threats] that are distant do not become imminent and those that are imminent do not actually become destructive. This requires a framework for preventive action which addresses all these threats in all the ways they resonate most in different parts of the world. Most of all, it will require leadership at the domestic and international levels to act early, decisively and collectively against all these threats - from HIV/AIDS to nuclear terrorism - before they have their most devastating effect.”

Of course, no government - or collection of governments at any level - can guarantee complete safety and freedom from fear. Natural disasters have occurred regularly and tragically in this region in recent years. These can be deeply destabilising and can greatly undermine the security of individuals, regions and states.

What governments can do, though, is to remove or mitigate - as quickly as possible - those circumstances that frustrate the expectation that individuals ought to be in reasonable control of their own destinies.

The Responsibility to Protect Coupled with the emerging concept of “Human Security” is the notion of “The Responsibility to Protect”. That Commission was co-chaired by Former Australia Foreign Minister Gareth Evans.

The “Responsibility to Protect” concept was first raised by the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, in December 2001. The concept aims to provide a legal and ethical basis for humanitarian intervention in a state that is unwilling or unable to fight genocide, massive killings and other massive human rights violations.

I should state, at the outset, that this “Responsibility to Protect” concept places responsibility -first and foremost - on each individual state to protect its own citizens from avoidable catastrophe.

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However, where a population is suffering serious harm, and the state in question is unwilling or unable to halt or avert it, the international community bears a responsibility to take appropriate diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful action, or, as a last resort, through the use of military force.

The “Responsibility to Protect” concept has gained growing support amongst the international community. It has been endorsed by the UN High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change; by the UN Secretary-General in his “In Larger Freedom” report, and most recently by leaders through inclusion of a robust statement in the 2005 Summit outcomes document.

How well is the world meeting the challenge of human security? The 2006 Human Security Brief, an update to the Human Security Report 2005, found both positive and negative aspects of the world’s attention to human security.

On the positive side of the ledger, the report noted a number of encouraging statistics:

“Notwithstanding the escalating violence in Iraq and the widening war in Darfur, from the beginning of 2002 to the end of 2005, the number of armed conflicts being waged around the world shrank 15% from 66 to 56. By far the greatest decline was in sub-Saharan Africa.

Battle-death tolls declined worldwide by almost 40% between 2002 and 2005. (Battle-death statistics are prone to considerable error, however, so these findings should be treated with appropriate caution).

The steep post-Cold War decline in genocides and other mass slaughters of civilians has continued. In 2005 there was just one ongoing genocide - in Darfur. In 1989 there were 10.

Growing numbers of wars are ending in negotiated settlements instead of being fought to the bitter end - a trend that reflects the increased commitment of the international community to peacemaking. In the Cold War era more wars were decided on the battlefield than ended in negotiation.

The estimated number of displaced people around the world - refugees and internally displaced persons—fell from 34.2 million to 32.1 million between 2003 and 2005, a net decline of 6%.

The number of military coups and attempted coups fell from 10 in 2004 to just 3 in 2005, continuing an uneven decline from the 1963 high point of 25.’

However, on the negative side of the ledger, the report also noted that:

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Sub-Saharan Africa was the only region in the world to see a decline in armed conflicts. In four other regions of the world the number of armed conflicts increased between 2002 and 2005.

International terrorist incidents increased threefold worldwide between 2002 and 2005, and the number of fatalities increased five-fold. Most of the increases were associated with the war in Iraq.

Disturbingly, campaigns of organized violence against civilians have also increased by 56% since 1989. Fortunately most of these have resulted in the deaths of relatively few people; this figure supports the popular belief that civilians are increasingly being victimized in the

post-Cold War era by the perpetrators of politically motivated violence.

The fact that more wars now end in negotiated settlements rather than military victories is encouraging news for peacemakers. It turns out that wars that end in negotiated settlements last three times longer than those that end in military victories but are nearly twice as likely to restart within five years.

What does the world look like when you have Human Security? We do not have to look far. Young Australians may not be aware that a generation ago we lived in a region of fragile and failing states. Some of us still talk of an arc of instability, I would prefer to characterise it as an arc of opportunity.

Today, it is the region to our north that gives us a view of what success might look like. Economic growth for the region as a whole has been impressive, and there have been significant reductions in the levels of poverty. Democratic forms have taken root and are prospering.

States which were once aid recipients, such as Thailand, are now becoming aid donors. We have seen a marked decline in armed conflict, and a move towards increased regional cooperation and the enlargement of regional associations.

Australia played a constructive role in these developments, though a range of collaborative military, economic and political activities with these states. It is a major reason that we are, for the most part, surrounded by partners and friends, not rivals and enemies. But we cannot be complacent.

What does it look like when you don’t have it? For a vision of the alternative, we need look no further than those states in which the ADF is currently facing extraordinary challenges with great compassion and professionalism.

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Afghanistan prior to 2002 shows us a ready example of the harm possible when a failed state provides harbour to terrorists. The Taliban regime’s alliance with Al Qaeda allowed the resources of the state to support Al Qaeda’s objectives. Afghanistan provided sanctuary, resources and facilities for training, directly contributing to Al Qaeda’s capability to launch attacks in Africa, the Middle East and the United States.

In Iraq we faced the prospect of a state with a record of aggression towards its citizens and neighbours providing the resources necessary for the development of weapons of mass destruction and the conditions conducive to terrorism in its most virulent forms.

Our critics will say we were wrong to take part in a coalition of some 30 like-minded countries, persuaded to think the worst by a corrupt and duplicitous regime of odious intent. But I hope that they would at least acknowledge that in the nearly ten percent of Iraq where Australians operate, we have a tantalising glimpse of what success in Iraq might look like, and why we should stay until we are no longer needed.

Australia and Human Security The first duty of the Australian Government is to provide for the security and defence of Australia and Australian interests.

Notably, in Defence Update 2005, the Government reconfirmed the fundamental principle that Australia cannot be secure in an insecure region. It is for that very reason that Australia is a strong supporter of the concepts of human security and the responsibility to protect.

Quoting from Defence Update 2005:

‘threats to national and international security and increasingly related. Failure to deal with a particular threat, such as terrorism or WMD proliferation, can create a cascade of adverse effects out of proportion to the original problem.

Defence Update 2005 also noted the strategic consequences of state fragility and failure on the stability of the region. The Update highlighted that insecurity can be more easily transported beyond the borders of fragile and failing states. The Update stressed that, within the context of whole-of-Government activities and responses, Defence’s efforts focus on effective governance, the rule of law and economic development at national, regional and international levels.

The development and aid community which AusAID represents has also devoted considerable time and resources to counter-terrorism and nation-building activities that promote ‘environments conducive to good governance, economic growth and poverty

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reduction and that seek to reduce the fragility of communities/nations and minimise the potential for terrorist networks to develop’.

Let me be more frank about it. Kids don’t go to school when they are not safe, commerce can’t fl0ourish when basic law and order is not present, we can’t support a health clinic when supplies are raided, we can’t keep the people of a nation active in the development of that nation if they fear for their own safety. These are not difficult concepts. These are understandable concepts we see played out around us.

Increasingly, operations involving both security and developmental activities within fragile and failing states - such as the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands - result in a ‘dual concurrence’ issue - the ADF and other agencies such as the AFP and AusAID find themselves bound together in their ‘on-the-ground presence’.

This results in the need for multi-dimensional, interagency operations in which complementary approaches between civil and military response forces are required.

Management of these types of operations has typically been based on ad hoc interagency coordination and planning processes and inadequate outreach to non-government organisations. An integrated interagency planning process allows for more effective and efficient responses to these circumstances.

Defence’s doctrine for such operations, built around the concepts of Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC), looks towards the coordination of activities across the different levels of command and between agencies.

Against the six clusters of threats identified in the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, discussed above, the Australian Government has committed considerable resources over the course of the last ten years. From a Defence perspective, the Australian Defence Force has been engaged in many aspects of the Government’s initiatives. For example:

The Australian Defence Force has been involved in a diverse range of humanitarian, disaster relief and intervention operations in support of vulnerable populations throughout the region.

Australia’s commitment to Afghanistan and Iraq demonstrate a resolve to combat terrorist forces and support evolving democracies that are threatened by insurgency and terrorism.

Australia’s deployed forces in both the Solomon Islands and East Timor are helping those regional states in difficulty.

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And the Defence Cooperation Program continues to fund programs in the South West Pacific aimed at assisting those states in building their own security.

The Australian Defence Force have also assisted the Australian community building roads and infrastructure in remote parts of the country, and responding to natural disaster, such as Cyclone Larry, here in Australia.

Whether deployed overseas or in Australia, the ADF has proven to be a highly professional organisation: capable, resolute and even-handed, helping and assisting where possible, acting with restraint and measure when required.

At the heart of this is an integrated team of professionals: the men and women of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), the Australian Army and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), ably supported by the Department of Defence.

In the diverse range of operations that the ADF has been engaged in, our personnel have proven to be (taken from the publication Winning in War, Winning in Peace) effective, dedicated, constructive, and compassionate.

Effective because at the core of the ADF’s activities are professional, well-trained, well-equipped forces that can effectively respond to any credible threat. Through our successful operations in East Timor, our ongoing efforts in the war on terror and involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, and our contributions to wider whole-of-Government and domestic security activities, the ADF has cemented a reputation for effective military operations.

Dedication to duty has been a hallmark of ADF service since the earliest days of our military history. This dedication has been tested time and again on the anvil of modern military affairs. Despite the complexity and uncertainty of many of the environments in which it has operated, the ADF has not shirked its responsibilities to Australia.

Beyond its warfighting role, the ADF provides highly constructive and crucial support to other nations and peoples in their development of national capacity and capability. Whether as part of the Regional Assistance Mission in the Solomon Islands, the international security force in East Timor, or helping indigenous communities here in Australia, the ADF strives to play a helpful and encouraging role within communities.

And finally, compassionate. Over recent years, tragedy and horror have been visited upon the world in larger measure than for at least a generation. The graphic imagery of September 2001 and October 2002, have added new depth to the misery and suffering seen in Rwanda, Somalia, the Balkans, Ethiopia/Eritrea, and Sierra Leone. Periodically, nature has also created its own tragedies through cyclone, flood or earthquake. The ADF has gone into

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many of these areas of death and destruction, providing medical aid and assistance, humanitarian relief, succour and comfort. I have often said that to be a modern day military person, to be on the ground in some of these areas is as much a test of their humanity as it is their soldiering. I admire constantly the way our people step forward and carry themselves and work very effectively with local people in these circumstances. But we need to make sure we’re positioned for the future because I think we will have more of this work, not less of it.

Defence - Positioned for future success The Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston has outlined his vision for the ADF as: a balanced, networked, and deployable force, staffed by dedicated and professional people, excelling at joint, interagency and coalition operations.

At the heart of that vision is the recognition that responding to the challenges of human security requires an holistic approach, employing all the capabilities of Government, as well as Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) and industry. The Government shares that vision, and continues to put in place both the capabilities and the resources to turn that vision into reality. There are four key elements to this:

• The right capability • The right people • The right leadership and doctrine • The right budget

Defence capability is one of the most potent of the range of instruments Australia has to promote and support its security interests. The decisions we make on Defence capability must necessarily be made with an eye to the more complex warfighting roles in the defence of Australia that only the ADF can do.

We have asked our defence forces to develop and retain the capability to provide response options across the range of potential domestic, regional and global strategic scenarios. As such we do look for capabilities that give us the greatest flexibility and versatility across a range of human security scenarios. For example:

• The two additional light infantry battalions announced by the Prime Minister in the latter half of last year, provide additional capacity to conduct stabilisation operations - such as those in East Timor and the Solomon Islands.

• The 4 C-17 aircraft recently acquired have the capability to assist in the medical evacuation of casualties from human and natural disasters, and can carry a field hospital and other medical facilities into affected zones.

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• The Bushmaster vehicles have become the mainstay of our protected mobility and provide substantial protection for both ADF and AFP personnel who put themselves in harms way to restore law and order and security within strife torn environments.

• The Government has also announced, through Defence Update 2005, its intentions to extend the reach and force protection of the ADF at sea and in the air through the acquisition of Air Warfare Destroyers and new Amphibious Ships. These Amphibious Ships will be equally useful in humanitarian disasters, as in complex warfighting, as HMA Ships Kanimbla and Manoora have well and truly demonstrated over the last three to four years.

• And many other capability choices, from enhanced communications systems to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to desalination equipment and logistics stores, have provided both the ADF and other Government agencies a better ability to conduct the essential task of human security throughout the world.

People are what make Defence the outstanding organisation that it is. As noted earlier, the ADF has proven to be a highly professional organisation: capable, resolute and even-handed, helping and assisting where possible, acting with restraint and measure when required.

Defence’s personnel and workforce strategies can justly claim to be the reason that is so. ADF personnel are highly trained, with continuous learning practices instilled from the tactical to the strategic level to make sure that they are doing things right and more so that they are doing the right things.

Defence is an organisation that uses introspection and operational analysis to good effect. Learning the lessons of our operational experience, both during and after the event, helps Defence to continuously improve its performance. It is sometimes astounding to other agencies to learn that Defence has scientists in East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan conducting operational research and analysis and designing better ways to conduct operations. The processes by which this Operations Analysis is quickly turned into new Tactics, Techniques and Procedures and used by troops is something Defence does very well.

Moreover, Defence seems adept at producing ‘warrior scholars’ - deep thinkers who understand the challenges of tactics, operations and strategy and can apply the lessons of history to the battlefields of today. This should come as no surprise, men like Monash, Blamey, and their ilk seem to regularly appear in our military ranks when the need is there.

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At this point, I wanted to highlight a good example of what we increasingly need from our people by noting the work of Lt Colonel Tony “Changi” Rawlins, on the ground in Tallil, Iraq. In a recent article by Ian McPhedran in the Daily Telegraph, Mr McPhedran describes how “the locals have grown to trust the Australians and Colonel Rawlins” who he describes as a “natural diplomat from Narrabri”.

As the next step in supporting the local population, Colonel Rawlins is advocating an influx of military reservists with civil qualifications such as lawyers, agriculture experts, engineers and doctors. That sounds a lot like a nation building force that reflects our whole-of-government thinking on human security.

Good leadership and good doctrine underpin the professionalism of our military forces. Defence’s doctrine development is some of the best in the world.

To work effectively together in pursuit of human security objectives, agencies need to have a common understanding of the challenges we face, and a shared vision of the ways in which these challenges can be met.

In practice, this means developing habits of communicating and sharing information at all levels - strategic, operational and tactical.

At a very practical level, the interoperability between the capabilities of the agencies that deliver these outcomes is fundamental. Elements that can’t operate in the same battlespace, communicate with each other over the same systems, share information over classified means, or present a ‘common operating picture’ make the business of delivering response options that much more difficult. Defence does a lot of work in the development of doctrine in both peace and wartime environments. One area of doctrine development that is the subject of discuss right now involves institutionalising interoperable skills for stabilisation operations, involving Defence and the Australian Federal Police.

Defence is also an important of the interagency group, chaired by AusAID that is researching new ways of pursuing state-building in the Pacific - as part of a whole-of-Government tool kit of responses to state fragility. This is part of the interagency approach to the “Implementation Framework on Security Sector Reform” developed by the OECD Development Assistance Committee.

The right budget is also important to success in operations. The rising cost of personnel, of technology and of operating supplies (such as fuel) means that the cost of defence activities is rising.

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In a constrained budgetary environment, constrained military operations will occur. History is replete with examples of operational failure occasioned by devoting too few resources to get the job done.

This does not mean extravagance or wastefulness. Both the Government and the Australian people expect that the national treasure that we allocate to Defence to be spend wisely and with an eye towards frugality.

But at the same time we are not willing to place our troops into harms way without providing them with the best and most capable equipment and the means to use it that we can.

The unpredictability of the current environment means that we all need to develop flexible and adaptable approaches that go beyond the traditional disciplines of security planning.

Speed and responsiveness are the key - bureaucratic inertia or command and control delays associated with hierarchical structures will not serve us well.

Developing such agility and flexibility is more than a structural issue, it requires a change in our mindsets and our cultures to nurture a more risk-accepting environment in which failure is not always a bad thing. We cannot hope to create a pattern of innovation if we do not allow people to occasionally get things wrong.

Conclusion

To conclude, I would like to return to my original contention that the Australian Defence Force has been at the forefront of Australia’s human security responses, whether in terms of

• shaping the international order to respect and value the contributions of regional nations,

• the Defence Cooperation Program which continues to fund programs in the South West Pacific aimed at assisting those states in building their own security, and

• assistance to the Australian community building roads and infrastructure in remote parts of the country and responding to natural disaster, such as Cyclone Larry, both here in Australia, and in the Archipelago and the Pacific -

It is due to the very high levels of professionalism, the training and education of our soldiers, and the typical Australian ‘can-do’ and compassionate attitude, that the ADF is considered by many international observers to be unparalleled at what US Marine Corps Commandant

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Charles Krulak called the ‘Three Block War” - in which a deployed military force may at any given moment be engaged in high intensity combat, humanitarian assistance, or peacekeeping in adjacent blocks of the same city.

The Marine Corps recognised that our soldiers are well equipped to do that. We have a way about doing our work that is admired and valued around the world. It is taken notice of in the capitals of the world. My hope is that it will be taken more notice of in our own nation because I think, in the area of human security, Australia has much to be proud of and much to contribute into the future.

Thanks for a few minutes of your time.

Media information: Cameron Hill (0408) 239 521 Defence Media Liaison (02) 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664

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