OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. —
Building, sustaining and supporting partnerships with allied nations, U.S. Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), made several stops and met with Australian military and government senior leaders in Adelaide and Canberra, Australia, during his visit from Jan. 16-18, 2017.
Australia is “one of our nation’s closest and most reliable allies in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region,” Hyten said during his first visit as USSTRATCOM commander, signifying his recognition of the great potential for the two nations to advance peace and security in the region.
While there, Hyten participated in several bilateral talks with Australian defense members – including the secretary of defence and acting chief of the defence force. The visits and engagements align with USSTRATCOM’s priorities, including: enhancing interoperability between U.S. and Australian forces; expanding cooperation in space, cyberspace, intelligence and missile defense; and identifying future opportunities for cooperation and engagement.
“Security cooperation has always been a cornerstone of our alliance,” Hyten said. “As circumstances in the region become more dynamic and challenging, we must adjust to meet new challenges. Engagements such as these are important for continued mutual understanding and interoperability.”
Vice Adm. Ray Griggs, vice chief of the Australian Defence Force, added that in terms of partnerships with the U.S. military, the military construct and relationship is always confirmed and built up during the annual bilateral engagements.
“They are regular discussions so that we can understand each other’s challenges and opportunities,” Griggs said. “In terms of fighting together and standing side-by-side, we have a very long history dating back to 1917. To be able to work with USSTRATCOM and make progress towards our greater interoperability is hugely important to us.”
Hyten also engaged with Australia’s Defense Science and Technology Group and Remote Sensing Unit 1 in Adelaide. Australian Rear Adm. Peter Quinn, head of Australian’s Joint Capability Management and Integration, summarized this engagement of space assets in Australia as a great opportunity to share ideas and to see how work is done on a daily basis with our allies.
“We provided a briefing on a number of activities that Australia is doing in some of the advanced capabilities on the watch floor,” Quinn said. “This was an opportunity to see the activities that we are doing and developing together with the U.S. as well.”
Hyten, a career space officer, said he appreciated the opportunity for up close and personal visits to the Australian space operations center, space surveillance telescope and over the horizon radar – operations that help the U.S. provide accurate and effective global space situational awareness.
“I enjoyed seeing Australia space operations firsthand,” Hyten said. “The work these professionals perform is vital to our space enterprise and directly impacts the warfighter. Our alliance is shaped by the progress of our shared interest in this region of the world, and my hope is to continue the strong relationships that my predecessors have established.”
One of nine DoD unified combatant commands, USSTRATCOM has global strategic missions assigned through the Unified Command Plan that include strategic deterrence; space operations; cyberspace operations; joint electronic warfare; global strike; missile defense; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; and analysis and targeting.