Independent News For The Australian Public Service
Edition Number 411. Updated Tuesday, 27 May 2014

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ADF gears up for regional exercise

Australia is to join in one of South East Asia's most significant regional military exercises when it takes part in Exercise Bersama Shield 2014 as part of the Five Power Defence Arrangement (FPDA).

Exercise Bersama Shield 2014 will see the Australian Defence Force join with the defence forces of New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore and the United Kingdom in a critical test of interoperability.

Commander Michael Jacobson, who will lead Australia's 500-strong contingent, said Bersama Shield aimed to strengthen professional relationships and interoperability through a range of conventional and non-conventional challenges.

500-strong contingent for Bersama Shield

"The exercise will focus on building our capability to work together," Commander Jacobson said.

"Our people will face a wide variety of threats and they will need to work together in addressing them."

Commander Jacobson said Bersama Shield was also designed to further enhance friendships and relationships under the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA), which had been building since its inception in 1971.

Royal Australian Navy vessels HMAS Sheean and HMAS Sydney, as well as two Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orions and a E-7A Wedgetail will participate in the exercise.

The 9th FPDA Defence Ministers' Meeting, to be held in Johore Baru Malaysia on 1 June, will include a visit to the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) Base Butterworth, Malaysia. Ministers will receive briefings on the progress of the exercise.

The FPDA is the longest standing multilateral arrangement in South East Asia and has maintained relevance in the contemporary security environment.

The exercise at RMAF Base Butterworth will conclude on 4 June 2014.

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