Today Minister for Defence Senator Marise Payne attended the Counter-Daesh Defence Ministers’ Meeting in Washington.
In a statement the Minister said the productive meeting focused on how the Coalition could accelerate and better co-ordinate efforts to defeat Daesh in Iraq and Syria and to stop the expansion of Daesh’s global networks.
Minister Payne said as part of the increased campaign Australia will expand the scope of Building Partner Capacity mission to train Iraqi law enforcement agencies:
"The Australian Government has authorised the deployment of an additional 15 ADF personnel who will provide a counter rocket, artillery and mortar (C-RAM) capability at Taji which is currently being provided by another Coalition member.
"Our Building Partner Capacity mission at Taji has to date been limited to training Iraqi Army personnel, but as more areas are liberated from Daesh, strong and effective policing and enforcement to maintain security is required," Minister Payne said.
Training for Iraqi forces will extend to include Iraqi law enforcement agencies, including the Iraqi Federal and Local Police and border guard forces. The minister said these personnel will have a key role in defending, holding and stabilising areas liberated from Daesh.
"Australia will also increase the flexibility of its Building Partner Capacity mission based in Taji to enable our forces to conduct training at other secure coalition training locations, as the need arises.
"These decisions follow a request from the United States Government and a request from Iraqi Prime Minister Abadi for additional assistance," Minister Payne said.
Minister Payne also held bilateral meetings with her counterparts from the UAE, the UK, and the US.
UAE Minister of State for Defence Affairs Mohammed Al Bowardi and Minister Payne discussed defence engagement and the shared commitment to defeating Daesh.
UK Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon and Minister Payne discussed Coalition operations in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, and co-operation in the Indo-Pacific region, including the ongoing importance of the Five Power Defence Arrangements.
US Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Minister Payne discussed mutual commitment to defeating Daesh, the need for South China Sea claimants to seek to resolve their disputes peacefully in accordance with international law, and affirmed the importance of the Force Posture Initiatives.
"Australia supports Coalition efforts to build on the recent military momentum against Daesh. We particularly welcome recent announcements of expanded contributions – including from the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand, Italy, Spain, Denmark and Norway," Minister Payne said.
Australia continues to make one of the largest contributions to the counter-Daesh campaign, including:
- 300 personnel to the Building Partner Capacity mission at Taji training Iraqi Army personnel;
- an 80 person Special Operations Task Group providing advice and assistance to the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service; and
- 400 personnel to our Air Task Group which is conducting airstrikes against Daesh in Iraq and Syria, and providing airborne command and control and refuelling capabilities.