Australia enhances Philippines training efforts

Australian Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds and Philippine Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana have announced that Australia will transition its support under Operation Augury-Philippines to an Enhanced Defence Cooperation Program as of 1 December 2019.

FILE PHOTO: Philippine Army solider Sergeant Sonny Casuga practices urban combat techniques with Australian Army soldiers from the 3rd Brigade, at Capinpin, Philippines, as part of Operation Augury. Photo by Corporal Kyle Jenner.

The announcement, made in the margins of the ADMM-Plus in Bangkok, Thailand, on 16 November, reinforced a shared long-term commitment to countering the regional terrorist threat and building on the well-established bilateral defence relationship.

Minister Reynolds and Secretary Lorenzana recognised that after the siege of Marawi in October 2017, Australia’s contribution under Operation Augury-Philippines has provided counter-terrorism capacity training to more than 10,000 members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

This training cooperation has included essential land-based activities focused on urban combat and joint coordination skills; air training focused on enhancing air coordination in the urban environment; and maritime training activities.

Minister Reynolds and Secretary Lorenzana agreed an Enhanced Defence Cooperation Program would allow the Australian Defence Force to continue delivering the capacity-building support for counter-terrorism cooperation requested by the Philippines.

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The program will also provide funding certainty and greater flexibility to meet the broader needs of the Australia-Philippines bilateral defence relationship.

Minister Reynolds and Secretary Lorenzana underscored that long-term engagement under the Enhanced Defence Cooperation Program will strengthen their shared commitment to regional security and stability.

Operation Augury is very rarely spoken about in public, with very little detail publicly available.

Although classed as a ‘peacetime’ operation, Operation Augury-Phillipines is even more secret than any of our  ‘warlike’ operations.

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Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

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