The United States and Australia today signed a framework memorandum of understanding outlining future Australian participation on cooperative missile defense activities. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeldsigned for the United States andSen. Robert Hill, Minister for Defence,signed for Australia.
The agreement willprovide a foundation to facilitateopportunities for joint U.S.-Australian missile defense system development, testing and the potential for future operations; allow information exchange aimed at establishing new joint efforts;and include Australia as a participating country in the U.S. missile defense program.
The 25-year agreement will also include more specific arrangements as both nations agree on various projects and activities, as well as the potential for industry-to-industry cooperative ventures for technology development.
Areas of near-term cooperative efforts will include development and testing of advanced radar technology capable of providing improved early detection of ballistic missiles after launch, and also potential options for providing a missile defense capability for a new Australian destroyer.
Both the U.S. and Australia share deep concerns about the proliferation of ballistic missiles capable of carrying weapons of mass destruction-nuclear, chemical and biological. The signing of the memorandum of understanding today will provide an effective, long-term framework for increased missile defense cooperation between our two nations.