Lynn Sets Stage for Further U.S.-Australian Cooperation
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
ABOARD A MILITARY AIRCRAFT, Feb. 17, 2010 Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III’s meetings with Australian leaders over the last several days have helped to set the stage for new levels of cooperation between the long-time allies.
U.S. Ambassador to Australia Jeffrey Bleich, left, and U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III meet with Australia's Defense Minister John Faulkner, right, in Canberra, Australia, Feb. 16, 2010. DoD photo by Air Force Master Sgt. Jerry Morrison
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
“I think we were able to establish a foundation that we will be able to build on for the rest of the year,” Lynn said.
During the six-day trip, Lynn met with business and civic leaders in Sydney and with Australian government and defense leaders in Adelaide and Canberra. He also visited with Navy Adm. Robert F. Willard, the commander of U.S. Pacific Command, during a stopover in Honolulu.
Lynn discussed Afghanistan and Australia’s contribution to the effort against al-Qaida with government and defense leaders.
“I expressed our gratitude for all their efforts, both in terms of the direct military efforts and the training they are doing of the Afghan security forces,” Lynn said. Australia has about 1,550 servicemembers in Afghanistan, most of them based in Oruzgan province in Regional Command South.
Lynn also spoke to Australian leaders about the F-35 joint strike fighter program and hopes for U.S. Senate ratification of the Defense Trade Cooperation.
“We were also able to exchange ideas on acquisition reform and budget reform, just to improve both our prospects in that regard,” Lynn said.
But most important, he said, are the new doors opened – especially in cyber and space operations – in the alliance.
“I think we’re going to be able to build our cooperation by building on the foundation of this decades-long alliance,” the deputy said. “As these new threats emerge, I feel that we’ll be able to rely on our oldest allies to aggressively go after them.”
In space operations, Australia and the United States share common interests. “We’re putting in place mechanisms to explore them jointly,” he said. “Technology cooperation is one element, joint policy exploration is another, and how we integrate our assets with their assets is another.”
The two nations also have mutual interests in cybersecurity. “We can develop shared awareness of the threat, we can cooperate on technologies, and we can collaborate as we work our way through the conception and development that needs to take place in this new domain,” Lynn said.
The domain is new – just over 20 years old – but the pace of cyber operations – and threats against the cyber infrastructure – will continue to increase, he warned.
“I don’t think we have any choice but to keep pace with the technology,” Lynn said. “The technology is going to drive us to develop doctrinal concepts, legal concepts and they are going to allow us to protect this critical area.”
In Honolulu, Lynn briefed U.S. Pacific Command officials on the trip and had a chance to discuss with commanders their issues and concerns.
Officials briefed Lynn on the realignment of U.S. forces in the Pacific – the Marines moving from Futenma, Japan, to Guam – and other challenges, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said. Willard and Pacom’s service-component commanders spoke about humanitarian and disaster operations, maritime security, weapons proliferation and combating terrorism and extremism.
“The deputy commented on the broad nature of their work and that the command is leaning forward on missions that go beyond the traditional sphere,” Whitman said. “They held good discussions on cybersecurity.”
Willard hosted Lynn and his party for a tour of the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor. “It was a very moving experience, and a reminder of the sacrifices made,” Whitman said.