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Operations During 2003-04 the Australian Defence Force (ADF) was involved in military operations, the provision of humanitarian support to other nations, and various joint and combined exercises involving the three Services and allied or regional military forces.

In addition to the reconstruction of Iraq and involvement in the war against terrorism, the ADF led a multinational regional force to assist the Government of the Solomon Islands to restore the rule of law and stability in the country. This allowed the Australian Federal Police and the regional police forces to assist with redeveloping the Royal Solomon Islands Police and restoring public confidence. The improved security situation has allowed the phased withdrawal of military forces and the transition to contracted administrative and logistic support for the Australian Federal Police. A smaller combined ADF and regional military force remains in the Solomon Islands in support of the ongoing police-led activities.

Under Operation Spire, the ADF provides approximately 100 personnel to the United Nations' (UN) mission in East Timor, undertaking a range of roles to support the UN, mainly performing specialist logistics and engineering and military liaison tasks.

The ADF continues to undertake operations against illegal fishing and unauthorised boat arrivals in Australia's northern approaches.

Currently, Australia has approximately 2,000 personnel deployed on operations with more than 1,100 of them deployed overseas. Map 4.1 shows areas of ADF involvement overseas; details of ADF involvement in major operations during 2003-04 are given in table 4.2.

4.1 AUSTRALIAN DEFENCE FORCE, Overseas operations

Map 4.1: AUSTRALIAN DEFENCE FORCE, Overseas operations

Source: Department of Defence.


4.2 AUSTRALIAN DEFENCE FORCE, Major operations(a) - 2003-04

MIDDLE EAST
Operation CatalystOperation Catalyst is Australia's contribution to the rehabilitation of Iraq. The ADF is participating in coalition efforts to develop a secure environment in Iraq, assist national recovery programs and facilitate the transition to Iraqi self-government. Operation Catalyst has comprised, on average, approximately 900 personnel. Forces have included:
  • an Australian National Headquarters element
  • a maritime element of one frigate
  • an aviation elements including two C-130 Hercules aircraft, two AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft and an air traffic control detachment
  • a security detachment to provide force protection and escort to the Australian mission in Iraq
  • a contingent of ADF and civilian personnel working as embedded staff in various coalition headquarters
  • two ADF training teams supporting training of the Iraqi Army and the Iraqi Coastal Defence Force.
Operation SlipperOperation Slipper is Australia's contribution to the war against terrorism and the multinational maritime interception force in the Persian Gulf. Deployed forces have included:
  • an Australian National Headquarters element
  • a maritime element of one frigate
  • an aviation element of two AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft
  • one Army officer working in a coalition headquarters in Afghanistan.

EAST TIMOR
Operation SpireOperation Spire is Australia's contribution to an extension of the United Nations Mission in support of the East Timor mandate for the mission in East Timor. This operation began in May 2004 and continues the work of Operation Citadel, Australia's contribution to the United Nations Mission in support of East Timor which concluded on 19 May 2004. Australia's contribution to Operation Spire consists of 100 logistics support personnel, mainly employed in engineering, maintenance and transport roles and supported by an Australian National Command Element.

SOLOMON ISLANDS
Operation AnodeOperation Anode is the ADF component in support of the Australian Government's contribution to coalition police forces restoring the rule of law in Solomon Islands. The operation began in July 2003 and is continuing. At 30 June 2004, the ADF's contribution included: a headquarters staff, a minor war vessel, an engineering element and an infantry platoon involving a total of 361 deployed ADF personnel.

BOUGAINVILLE
Operation Bel Isi IIOperation Bel Isi II provided ADF support to the United Nations Peace Monitoring Group to monitor and report on the maintenance of the cease-fire in Bougainville. ADF elements contributed specialist medical, logistic, communications and transport capabilities. ADF support included 35 ADF personnel and a Navy landing craft supported by a weekly Air Force C-130 air logistic support service and commercial shipping from Townsville. Operation Bel Isi II ceased on 26 August 2003.

NORTHERN APPROACHES TO AUSTRALIA
Operation Relex IIContinuing ADF contribution to the whole-of-government effort to deter unauthorised arrivals by sea in Australia's north west approaches. ADF support included one frigate, one amphibious ship, two AP-3C maritime patrol aircraft, up to six Fremantle-class patrol boats and up to three Army transit security elements.

Operation Cranberry

Continuing intelligence coordination and provision of surveillance information to the civil authorities operating in northern Australia. Surveillance support was provided using a range of ADF assets including Fremantle-class patrol boats, AP-3C maritime patrol aircraft and Regional Force Surveillance Units.

PEACETIME NATIONAL TASKS
Operation Iran AssistProvision of humanitarian relief to the Government of Iran in the aftermath of an earthquake in the city of Bam. Over the period December 2003 to January 2004 the Air Force provided one C-130 Hercules aircraft to transport humanitarian aid to Iran.

Operation Niue Assist

Provision of disaster relief and medical support to the Pacific island of Niue in the aftermath of Cyclone Heta. An Air Force C-130 aircraft transported a 17 member medical team to Niue to provide health care and environmental health from 9-23 January 2004.

Operation Nauru Assist

Provision of assistance in the disposal of World War II era unexploded ordnance. The Air Force provided a two-person explosive ordnance demolition team.

Operation Vanuatu Assist

Provision of disaster relief to Vanuatu in the aftermath of Cyclone Ivy from February to March 2004. Two C-130 Hercules aircraft supported Emergency Management Australia and the Australian Agency for International Development by transporting humanitarian stores and a liaison officer to Vanuatu.

(a) Correct as at 31 October 2004.

Source: Department of Defence.

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