WASHINGTON -- Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Operations, Plans and Strategy, Vice Adm. Bill Merz and his Australian counterpart, Rear Admiral Chris Smith, Royal Australian Navy, Deputy Chief of Navy, co-hosted a strategic dialogue via video teleconference Feb. 16.
The dialogue was an opportunity to build on The Royal Australian Navy and the United States Navy Strategic Dialogue Framework for Engagement signed by both parties Dec. 15, 2020. The document and continued talks add additional structure to an already successful and long-lasting maritime partnership between Australia and the United States.
“Our capacity expands when we sail in company and operate with like-minded navies across the globe,” said Merz. “A key ally like Australia is critical to enhancing our joint capabilities and interoperability in the Indo-Pacific. That includes traditional maritime security and stability, as well as emerging areas of importance like cyber and artificial intelligence.”
Broadly speaking, the framework aims to strengthen existing cooperation, address mutually strategic issues, and promote collaborative development and utilization of science and technology between both navies.
RADM Smith said the dialogue built on a long history between the two navies based on shared values. “The U.S. has long been a vital partner in ensuring a free and open region in which we and our neighbors can prosper,” he said. “These talks, although not face to face, provide an opportunity to build on that relationship, which forms the basis on which we can work together to build a stronger and more stable region.”
The naval leaders also discussed the successful partnerships between the two navies, evident in recent Joint Australian-United States exercises. ANNUALEX, Maritime Partnership, MALABAR, and Talisman Sabre are all examples of how the two countries put the framework in action and how the partnership advances each navy. By focusing on enhancing specific warfighting capabilities and interchangeability during joint exercises, both navies can meet their shared goals in the Indo-Pacific region.
The Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Operations, Plans and Strategy (N3/N5) is the principal advisor to the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) on Navy strategies, plans, and policies, including planning and coordinating the global employment of naval forces.