Not before time, given we need deployable warships in our region to deter the dragon to our north, not doing anti-piracy and anti-smuggling constabulary work better suited for OPVs from the locals around the Gulf approaches.
Australia reduces naval presence in Middle East
The ADF is reducing its naval presence in the Middle East to refocus on the Indo-Pacific, according to Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds.
“This year alone has seen Navy respond to the bushfire and COVID-19 crises, a five-ship deployment throughout South East Asia and the Pacific, a continued commitment to initiatives under the Pacific Step Up, and several highly successful activities with our regional partners,” Minister Reynolds said. “We now face an increasingly challenging strategic environment which is placing greater demand on ADF resources closer to home.
“As a result, the ADF will reduce its naval presence in the Middle East to enable more resources to be deployed in our region.”
The changes include ceasing the annual deployment of a warship to the Middle East, and not extending Australia’s time-bound commitment to the International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC) beyond December 2020.
“For over 30 years we have supported freedom of navigation, maritime security and the free flow of commerce in the Middle East,” Minister Reynolds said. “In cooperation with our partners, our commitments have been invaluable in disrupting global drugs trade, supporting the reduction of funding lines to terrorism activity and building the capacity of regional forces.”
Chief of Joint Operations, Lieutenant General Greg Bilton said these are historic changes for the ADF.
“The outstanding contribution of RAN ships has been highly valued by our partners in the Middle East,” LTGEN Bilton said.
The ADF will maintain staff positions with the Combined Maritime Forces, the US Naval Forces Central Command, and within Joint Task Force 633.
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