02 Oct 09. Greg Combet, Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and
Science, today met with a range of United States Government officials in
Washington DC, at the Pentagon and at the US Department of State, to discuss defence-related aspects of our alliance.
Mr Combet is in Washington to advance our Defence relationship, including aspects of our materiel and research cooperation.
“Australia and the United States have built a strong defence partnership through close cooperation on areas of mutual interest. Today was an important opportunity for me to renew that cooperation with key officials in the Obama Administration,” Mr Combet said.
The meetings included the Deputy Secretary for Defense, Mr William Lynn III; the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Ms Ellen Tauscher; and the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, Dr Ashton Carter.
“Our strong relationship with the United States Government is critical for the delivery of our current major capability programs, and will be essential for the delivery of our future force.
“I was able to discuss the high level of cooperation we are enjoying on current major projects such as the Joint Strike Fighter. This has given us a wonderful insight into the project. I was also able to get further briefings to those I have received at the Fort Worth facility on the progress of the project.
“Australia’s partnership in the JSF Program has provided Australian industry with the opportunity to become part of the F-35 global supply and support chain.
“Just as importantly I was able to discuss future cooperation regarding the development of Australia’s future submarine with some of the key officials in the Obama Administration. A key area of interest was the parallels between procurement reforms being pursued by the Rudd Government and the Obama Administration.”
To further this potential area of cooperation Mr Combet met with senior research and engineering officials at the Pentagon, including Assistant Secretary Navy – Research and Acquisition and the Director of Defense Research and Engineering.
Mr Combet also took the opportunity to reinforce Australia’s support for the ratification of the Defence Trade Cooperation Treaty.
“Cooperation through a Defence Trade Cooperation Treaty will serve to further strengthen the relationship between our two countries. The treaty will enhance Australia-US interoperability in defence and counterterrorism activities, improve cooperation on joint research and capability development projects and expand opportunities for Australian industry.
“We look forward to its ratification and the benefits on trade in controlled defence goods and technology that it will bring for both countries,” Mr Combet said.
“The United States Administration has expressed support for the Treaty, and its desire for quick US Senate ratification of the Defense Trade Cooperation Treaty.”
Apart from his meetings at the Pentagon and Department of State, Mr Combet also met with officials of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and committee member Senator Jim Webb.
“I appreciated the opportunity to discuss with the Committee the Defence Treaty and the conditions required for implementation. I was also able to discuss recent developments in regards to Climate Change with Senator Webb,” Mr Combet said.