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Australian PM Kevin Rudd Speech at the opening of the National Security College in Canberra

The establishment of the National Security College of Australia, 24 April 2010

Today is the eve of ANZAC Day, when we commemorate those who served the nation in conflict.

On ANZAC Day we remember too that national security for Australians has long meant international action.

We have known since before Federation that events around the globe can and do have a direct impact on our nation.

And in the 21st century, that is the case more than ever.

Ladies and gentlemen, there is no greater responsibility for government than that of national security.

The defence of our nation, the protection of our people, the upholding of the values which we live by and the interests which we hold dear - these are paramount.

This has been a sacred trust between all our governments and the Australian people throughout our history.

On the eve of ANZAC day, we remember this as we honour those who have served and are serving today the defence of Australia - over 3000 ADF personnel around the world.

And we also honour our police, our diplomats and so many other dedicated officials employed in the service of our nation's security both at home and abroad.

We salute their service, and their families who stand rock-solid beside them as they stand rock-solid for Australia. We respect their commitment. We pay special tribute to those who have fallen in the defence of our land. We salute their sacrifice.

Their sacrifice reminds us afresh of our responsibility to ensure we have the capabilities to deal with the vast array of security challenges that lie ahead.

In 2008, I outlined in Parliament the ever more complex and inter-connected dimensions of our National Security environment in the first ever national security statement to the Australian Parliament by any Australian Government.

From dealing with traditional defence and diplomatic challenges, to emerging security challenges such as the persistent threat of terrorism, the evils of people smuggling, organised crime, cyber security, the perils of natural disasters, pandemics and the emerging threat of climate change.

Since then, we have been hard at work in building the right policy framework for a comprehensive approach to the increasingly dynamic and interconnected dimensions of our national security.

In 2009, we ended a decade long gap in the comprehensive review of Australia's national defence.

The Defence White Paper provides a blueprint for our defence capabilities in the context of an increasingly demanding strategic environment, where we need a force that is capable of meeting the demands of the defence of Australia, the needs of current operations, while also being able to make a contribution to a wide range of potential contingencies in our immediate region, the Asia Pacific and globally.

It represents the most powerful, integrated and sophisticated set of military capabilities that our nation has ever acquired. It will ensure that the Australian Defence Force has the reach, weight and capabilities to meet the national security challenges of the future.

It creates the pathway for the development of Force 2030 - a major step up in Australia's military preparedness, and most potent range of capabilities Australia has ever held.
We have committed to 3 per cent real growth in the Defence budget to 2017-18, and to over 2 per cent out to 2030.

Importantly, the Defence White Paper also introduces stringent financial disciplines on Defence, including a substantial savings program to maximise efficiencies and the return on the taxpayer's investment. This is the most comprehensive and coherent approach to our defence forces in a generation.

But the defence effort is only one side of the coin. How Australia manages its diplomacy, and in particular its key diplomatic relationships is also critical.

On this front, the government has also been active.

We are at the dawn of the Asia-Pacific century. Our relationships with the major powers in our region, and the relationships of these powers with one another, will determine the strategic environment in which we operate.

Of these, our alliance with the United States remains Australia's single most important security relationship. The strategic stability of our region will in large part depend on the continuing strong presence of the United States.

We have intensified our cooperation with President Obama's administration and are working closely together on any number of regional and global issues: from addressing the global economic crisis to matters of global security such as Iran and DPRK's nuclear programs, climate change and regional developments.

Japan is our closest partner in East Asia with whom we have strengthened our bilateral security cooperation.

We have co-hosted with Japan the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, which is playing an influential role in the lead-up to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference later this year. This is complemented by our Trilateral Strategic Dialogue with the United States.

We are in active negotiations with Japan on a Free Trade Agreement. And in forums such as APEC, the East Asia Summit and the G20, Australia and Japan work closely together.

We continue to strengthen our relationship with China.

China is Australia's largest trading partner and Australia has been working closely with China over the past year on critical global challenges such as the global financial crisis and regional economic integration.

Australia has also begun a high level strategic dialogue with China, in addition to engagement at the highest levels between our respective security establishments and defence forces.

Australia looks forward to deepening this dialogue with Beijing in the future - and expanding new areas of security cooperation with China and our other friends and partners in the region.

At the same time, India and Australia have now designated the relationship as a strategic partnership.

This is a recognition by both countries of the growing breadth and depth of our relations and our ability to prosecute shared strategic perspectives, something this government has worked hard to achieve.

India is a major power with a widening strategic influence. Australia looks forward to the unfolding security engagement between our two countries as the Indian Ocean is increasingly a region of vital strategic interest.

Australia and Indonesia have also now designated their relationship as one of strategic partnership. President Yudhoyono's recent visit to Australia and historic address to the Australian Parliament symbolises the added strength we have brought to this vital relationship.
The President captured it best in his address to Parliament when he said: "Australia and Indonesia have a great future together. We are not just neighbours. We are not just friends. We are strategic partners".

As with our defence, our key strategic relationships are in good order; and strengthening.

This government will continue to work these relationships to enhance regional security for us all. The government is also committed to building architecture beyond country relationships to bolster our wider security.

This is at the heart of the Government's initiative for an Asia-Pacific community.
The shifting of global strategic and economic weight to the Asia-Pacific is changing the strategic calculus of our region. We need to anticipate and manage this challenge.

Regional dynamism and growth, coupled with Asia's history, are likely to generate new challenges and exacerbate existing tensions. While the region is largely at peace and on a positive trajectory, we cannot take this for granted.

We need to actively shape our regional future, and lay the foundations for dealing with future challenges. We need to continue to foster regional habits of cooperation.

This is why the Government has advocated the development of regional architecture that has the right membership and mandate to address the full spectrum of challenges confronting the region - economic, political and security. That architecture must have ASEAN at its core, and include other key nations of the region - the US, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, India, New Zealand, Australia and Russia. The inclusion of the United States and Russia in our region's emerging architecture is fundamental to the evolution of what I call an Asia-Pacific community. In fact, much of Australia's diplomacy has been driven by this core concern - how to integrate in particular the role of the United States in the future broad architecture of our region.

In this context I welcome very much the decision of ASEAN leaders at their summit in Hanoi on 8-9 April this year to encourage the United States and Russia to deepen their engagement in evolving regional architecture.

While the countries of the region will need to settle how reformed regional architecture might be constituted, the ASEAN Summit outcome offers a critical step forward to the architecture that our region needs for the long-term future. It is also in pursuit of Australia's interests that the Government is seeking a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council in 2013-14.

The Security Council is the key decision-making forum of the United Nations. It is the pre-eminent body dealing with international security. It deliberates on matters of war and peace. Its mission is to uphold the global, rules-based order of which we are all beneficiaries.

Australia has a big stake in the decisions of the UNSC.

It is already a quarter of a century since Australia was a member of the UNSC. Securing this seat is by no means assured given that Australia entered the field later than most others, given the previous Australian Government's decision not to contest.

Nonetheless, ours is a vigorous candidacy because we believe we have a real contribution to make.

We have long contributed to peace-building in many of the world's trouble spots, including current deployments in Afghanistan, East Timor, Solomon Islands, Sudan, and the Sinai.

Australia has unimpeachable non-proliferation credentials and is widely recognised as a leader in this field, including through our role in the Nuclear Suppliers Group and, more recently, through the initiative to establish the International Commission for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (ICCND).

Over the years, we have been creative contributors to regional and global security - from our role in the independence of East Timor to the Cambodia peace plan; from our key role in finalising the Chemical Weapons Convention to our continuing role in the security of the Solomon Islands.

Opponents of Australia playing an active and assertive role in the councils of the world sell this country short.

Australia has a global contribution to make as recognised by successive Australian governments of all political persuasions since 1945.

Although remarkably that seems to have changed in recent years for reasons which have nothing to do with the national interest. Opponents of Australia's active role in global affairs have a "small Australia" mindset.

This mindset would never have got us a seat at what has now become the world's premier global economic decision-making body, the G20.

We were not assured a seat at this table.

But through the force of Australia's ideas and advocacy, we secured the G20 as the right global grouping, and are now working with the other 19 largest economies in the world to build a sustainable global economic recovery after the worst crisis since the Great Depression.

This is a significant achievement. The success of the G20 in stabilising the global economy has been to the benefit of all Australians. And the securing of a seat for Australia at the world's top table for economic governance will be to the lasting benefit of our national interest - whoever constitutes the future government of Australia in decades to come.

The great challenges of managing complex geo-strategic systems and relations between states will not go away. But security is no longer something that can be defended only at our borders and beyond.

As I made clear in my address to Parliament on national security in 2008, responsible governments must also face up to the reality of a new global security environment, and emerging threats.

Non-traditional national security challenges are rapidly becoming the norm, rather than the exception.

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 on the United States brought starkly to attention the rise of a global violent jihadist movement that has gone on to carry out or inspire attacks elsewhere.

September 11 may now seem to some a long time ago. My message to the Australian public is simple - the terrorist threat at home and abroad is increasing, not decreasing. And the fact that to date we have not had a repeat of the carnage of the magnitude we saw on September 11 is a tribute to the skill and professionalism of all of our security agencies.

Nonetheless, the December 25 incident in the US demonstrates the fundamental importance of absolute vigilance.

Today's highly inter-connected, mobile and technology-dependent world has blurred the classical distinctions between foreign and domestic, between state and non-state security threats. It has also meant that interconnected systems and growing interdependencies, fed by ever faster and cheaper technology, is increasing our vulnerability to disruption.

Computer hackers in internet cafes can penetrate national security systems and steal commercial secrets. Virtual Imams can recruit suicide bombers off the net. And viruses can spread from a chicken farm in China to infect cities across the world with the speed of an A380.

The breadth of the challenge we face to national security has never been greater. At the top of the list, terrorism has become a persistent and permanent feature of Australia's security environment.

The threat is real and enduring. It is two-fold in nature, emerging both from the global violent jihadist movement itself, and from locally-generated but globally-inspired radicals.

The government released earlier this year the Counter-Terrorism White Paper, the first since 2004 and the first to bring together the domestic and international elements of our policy approach. This involves multiple government agencies and all levels of federal, state and local government.

Domestically we are improving our intelligence and analysis, strengthening our protective measures, and building resilience.

As part of an integrated effort we are establishing a Counter-Terrorism Control Centre to ensure a seamless flow of information for action across government.

Internationally we are working with close friends and partners, such as Indonesia, to strengthen intelligence and law enforcement collaboration and create an international environment that is hostile to terrorism. These are determined efforts to address the threat of terrorism.

But as the White Paper makes clear, the threat is serious and enduring. The government can take measures to reduce the risk of a terrorist attack, but it cannot eliminate that risk.

Another attack on Australia, our people or our interests could happen at any time. Our intelligence is good, and our intelligence, police and security professionals are doing highly professional job.

But the nature of the murky world of terrorists is that their aims and plans are hidden. Under these circumstances, there is no room for complacency.

It is this analysis that galvanises Australia's national interest in our continuing commitment in Afghanistan. Australia's interest is to prevent Afghanistan from once again becoming a haven for terrorists; to prevent Afghanistan becoming a launching pad for attacks against us.

It is fitting to consider amidst these halls of learning, freedom and tolerance that those we are up against in Afghanistan would tear the institutions down.

The operations of the international coalition in Afghanistan are at a critical point in time.

It is a time when there is a real opportunity to make real inroads against the Taliban and their Al Qaeda supporters, to make space for the government of Afghanistan to build national support, and to ready the Afghan forces for the responsibility of the security of their country.

This is why last year we made the difficult decision to increase our troop commitment by around 40 per cent to 1550 troops in support of a strategy for success. Australia strongly supports the new US-led strategy for the international coalition in Afghanistan.

This strategy is based on a sophisticated combination of military and civilian effort to ensure that the government of Afghanistan can increasingly step up to its responsibilities for security and governance.

The focus of our military effort is on training Afghan troops in Oruzgan province so that they can provide their own security.

And on this, let me be clear. We will not keep our troops in Afghanistan one day longer than that necessary to enable this transition.

The ADF in Oruzgan has mentored the Afghan National Army 4th Brigade's headquarters, a 400 man infantry kandak, and elements of the Brigade's combat and logistics support kandaks. The ADF will continue this mentoring task and plans to take on the mentoring of the remainder of the ANA 4th Brigade by the end of 2010.

Our core mission in Afghanistan is on track. But there is more to be done.

As part of our support for President Obama's strategy, late last year I foreshadowed an increase in our civilian commitment in Afghanistan.

This important civilian work is something that I have witnessed on the ground in Afghanistan.
It is work that all Australians would be proud of.
This increase will comprise additional diplomatic, development assistance and policing support.

This will see roughly a doubling of our diplomatic and aid effort to strengthen our capacity to understand and influence developments on the ground and to build the capacity of the government of Afghanistan.

Like our military contribution, this enhanced civilian contribution will be focussed in Oruzgan province, to complement the good work being done by the ADF in building roads and bridges and rebuilding schools.

Our increased policing effort is targeted at strengthening our ability to train the Afghan National Police so that they too can increasingly assume greater responsibility for their own law and order needs and allow us to transfer that responsibility.

Our civilian increase will amount to around 50 per cent more than our existing contribution and will be a force-multiplier for our total effort in Afghanistan.

It will enhance our capacity to prosecute our strategy with international partners and to promote our interests with the Afghan government. In this, we will continue to make it clear to the government of Afghanistan that we expect them to meet their responsibilities.

More effective civilian-military integration of all the elements of our contribution in Afghanistan will ensure that we are all pulling together and in the same direction for success.

This approach is consistent with General McChrystal's strategy for Afghanistan which is based on the time-honoured truth that military effort alone will not deliver success in conflicts like this. Unless we are using and coordinating all instruments of national power, we will be less effective.

This is serious work. It involves hard yards. It is dangerous. There have been Australian casualties in this effort. We can expect that there will be more in the future.

But it is necessary work.

And it is work that we do with our closest ally - the United States.

The strength of our alliance with the United States is founded on our bearing the burden of security together. This is fundamental. As the largest non-NATO military contribution to Afghanistan, we are fulfilling that fundamental responsibility. And Australia has never walked away from the United States in times of need. We will not now.

Australia's military commitment to Afghanistan and the conditions attached to it have been the product of detailed deliberations of the National Security Committee of the Cabinet.

This work has been led by the Defence Minister John Faulkner.

It involves detailed, delicate and diplomatic work - because the Government remains acutely aware that our decisions involve the lives of one and a half thousand of our men and women in uniform on the ground today.

This work has been carefully calibrated with our friends and allies.

That is why the Government finds the contribution to this debate on Afghanistan by the Leader of the Opposition yesterday characteristically reckless.

The Leader of the Opposition has said Australia should now lead the military operations in Oruzgan given the recent decisions by the Dutch Government.

To be clear, such a decision would probably require the further deployment of an additional thousand or more troops to Afghanistan.

To be clear, such a deployment would cost the Australia taxpayer in the order of a further 1 billion dollars per year.

Once again we have an example of erratic policy making on the run; this time on national security.

When I delivered the first National Security Statement to Parliament in December 2008, I made the point that in an increasingly complex and interconnected security environment, we needed a more integrated national security structure that enhanced national security policy coordination and implementation.

Since that time, we've made considerable strides towards a more integrated, whole-of-government approach to national security, one that moves seamlessly from domestic to international, from traditional to non-traditional, and that is agile and responsive to today's dynamic and fast-paced security environment.

We have created the position of a National Security Adviser.

This position has developed and supported whole-of-government national security policy development and crisis response.

It is building a genuine national security community. We cannot afford the stove-piping which has traditionally characterised our security agencies.

The strands of national security effort - foreign and domestic, defence and diplomacy, policy and intelligence, federal and state - are now better coordinated. But more needs to be done.

Whether it was responding to the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria or the tsunami that struck Samoa and Tonga, the National Security Adviser has been at the centre, driving our response across government. It has also been the case in the development of the government's policy on critical strategic and foreign policy challenges such as Afghanistan and cyber security, including the Government's new cyber security strategy.

We are also working towards a coordinated budget process across the entire national security community.

This year, as part of the Budget process, the government has brought together all of the national security-related proposals from relevant agencies under one umbrella. This has allowed us to weigh options and shift resources within and between portfolios to best achieve our national security priorities.

We have also learnt through experience, in responding to disasters and conflicts in our region, that we are at our most effective when we are able to draw on all elements of our national power, military and civilian.

The Australian Defence Force, whilst indispensable and invaluable, cannot be the sum total of our effort.

So we are creating a civilian response corps to enable the rapid deployment of Australian civilians into overseas disaster or conflict zones.

An Office of the Australian Civilian Corps has been established within AusAID to implement the initiative, and create a register of Australians with valuable skill sets who can be deployed overseas at short notice to respond to crises.

It should have an interim capability by mid-2010, and be fully operational in early 2011.

In addition, we have created the Asia-Pacific Civil-Military Centre of Excellence.
Australia has a long and proud record of contributing to peace and stabilisation operations, and to disaster management overseas.

The Centre is designed to capitalise on our expertise and support the development of improved national civil-military capabilities to prevent and respond more effectively to conflict and disasters overseas.

We have also established a National Intelligence Coordination Committee, chaired by the National Security Adviser, to ensure our national intelligence effort is effectively integrated and aligned with our national security priorities.

Of course an important foundation for a functioning national security community is effective information sharing. We know from experience that the consequences of not sharing the right information with the right people at the right time can be catastrophic.

We needed to work together on this to improve our efforts as a national security community.

That is why the Government has supported the community's proposal for the National Security Information Environment Roadmap: 2020.

This Roadmap provides for the first time a single strategy to address the many barriers to information sharing.

It challenges some outdated notions of information 'stovepipes', and provides a clear vision of where we want to go with information sharing across the national security community over the next decade. It is aimed at ensuring that the right information can get to the right people at the right time. In all questions of national security, information and its effective dissemination is critical to all actions taken on the ground.

Today, I am pleased to formally open the National Security College.

This is an important day for Australia.

This will become a central institution in shaping the future of our national security policy, personnel and collaborative culture. It will prove to be one of the most significant and enduring foundation stones of our new, emerging national security community.

Because from it will emerge the national security practitioners, and the culture of community and collaboration, essential if Australia is to meet the security challenges of the 21st century.

The College will strengthen the ability of national security leaders to analyse Australia's strategic environment and the dynamics of change within it, and to recognise and respond to threats.

Its courses and other activities, such as the College's outreach program, will help to build trusted networks of interaction between governments at all levels, businesses, academia and community organisations.

We will include in the College participants from regional countries, building our links with national security practitioners in our neighbourhood. In this sense it is also a useful confidence and security building measure.

Its multi-disciplinary approach and whole-of-government research projects will help to identify new and emerging security threats and effective counter-measures.

It will help break down any remaining silos in our national security community.

It will promote new ways of conceiving of security threats, and new ways of addressing them.

It will build up expertise across government. And it will foster a new national security culture.

We need a national security community and culture that has a common conceptual framework, a common language, rather than the different dialects that often unnecessarily separate our defence, foreign policy, intelligence and wider security community.

I am not suggesting that core specialist, disciplinary skills should be substituted for an amorphous set of national security concepts. In fact, quite the reverse.

The specialist training of our defence force, our diplomats and intelligence community must constantly improve in order to remain among the best in the world.

I am talking about a further set of skills that should become an essential pre-requisite for the future leaders of our national security community.

To be blunt, it will be essential for all future candidates to the Senior Executive Service or equivalent positions across our national security community to graduate from an additional specialist national security course here at this College before advancing to future leadership positions.

That is why I have said this new National Security College of Australia will become central to the shape of the Australian national security community.

And that is why this is an important day for the nation.

The College will receive up to AUD 17.3 million over four years to assist with its establishment.

In addition, a new building will also be constructed for the College here at the ANU, likely to open around the end of 2012.

I'm very pleased that Michael L'Estrange, an experienced diplomat with outstanding skills in public policy, will be leading the College.

There is no better place for the College to be placed than here at the Australian National University.

To conclude, this government stands for the strongest national security for Australia.

We stand for strong defence. We stand four-square behind the US alliance.

We stand committed to forging our key relationships in our region.

We stand for the long haul fight against terrorism both at home and abroad.

We stand for a comprehensive, coherent and well coordinated national security policy that uses all instruments of national power to meet contemporary national security challenges of Australia.

And that is why the inauguration of this new National Security College is an important day for the nation.

Thank you.

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