Australian and U.S. Defense Departments Launch of the Perth USAsia Centre
Section: World News
Below is press release from the Defense Department and a background briefing from the statement State Department followed by a brief speech by Secretary of Hillary Clinton where she describes applying to be an astronaut when she was 13 years old.
Department of Defense Press Release: United States and Australia Advance Space Partnership
U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and Australian Minister for Defence Stephen Smith agreed to advance the bi-lateral long-term international partnership on space situational awareness by placing two key U.S. space systems in Australia.
The two militaries have agreed that Australia will operate a U.S. Air Force C-band ground-based radar system in Australia. The system will provide a critical dedicated sensor for the U.S. Space Surveillance Network (SSN), which is the principal system that the U.S. and its partners rely on to detect, track, and identify objects in space.
The U.S. and Australia have also decided to work towards the establishment of the Space Surveillance Telescope (SST) on Australian soil. The SST is a state of the art optical telescope designed and built by the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) that provides deep space surveillance.
The C-Band radar will be operated from the Harold E. Holt Naval Communications Station at North West Cape in Western Australia; the Australians are in the process of selecting a site for the SST. The United States and Australia will share relocation and operational costs for the systems. The C-Band radar will be delivered in 2014. Together, these complimentary platforms will provide highly accurate tracking and identification of objects in space, such as satellites and debris, in order to improve overall spaceflight safety. Data from these platforms will also improve the operational perspective for senior leaders to select and execute appropriate courses of action in response to space events and scenarios.
In addition, the U.S. and Australia are in discussions on the establishment of a Combined Communications Gateway in Western Australia. The Gateway would provide both U.S. and Australia operators access to Wideband Global Satellite communications satellites currently on orbit.
The actions taken today are the result of close collaboration from both nations on “New Frontiers” projects — including space and cyberspace — during the last two AUSMIN sessions. At the Melbourne AUSMIN 2010 conference, leaders signed the Space Situational Awareness Partnership. At the San Francisco AUSMIN 2011, leaders discussed the goal of placing U.S. space systems in Australia and signed a landmark agreement on cyberspace.
The U.S. National Security Space Strategy emphasizes that shared awareness of spaceflight activity must improve in order to foster global spaceflight safety and help prevent mishaps, misperceptions, and mistrust. Locating the C-Band radar and the SST telescope in Australia demonstrates progress towards these goals and the benefits of the re-balance towards the Asia-Pacific across domains.
Additional Information about C-Band Radar and the Space Surveillance Telescope
- The C-Band mechanical tracking ground-based radar is a very capable asset for space surveillance and space object identification capabilities for objects in low-earth orbit.
- The C-Band radar can accurately track up to approximately 200 objects/day and provide significant orbit and characterization information to help identify satellites, their orbits and potential anomalies.
- When relocated, this C-band radar will be the first low-earth orbit space surveillance network sensor in the southern Hemisphere. The new location provides needed southern and eastern hemisphere coverage that will lead to improved positional accuracies and predictions.
- C-Band radar can also significantly contribute to tracking high-interest space launches from Asia.
Space Surveillance Telescope:
- The SST provides an order of magnitude improvement in search rate and sensitivity (ability to detect and track satellites) from the existing U.S. system known as the Ground Based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance (GEODSS) telescopes.
- Deep space search telescopes, like GEODSS, are unable to provide a full picture of objects like microsatellites and space debris that threaten satellites. The SST provides an improved (wider) field of view and can better detect track small objects at the deep space altitudes associated with geosynchronous orbits (roughly 22,000 miles high).
- The SST telescope was integrated in the fall of 2010 and achieved first light in February 2011. Following this important program achievement, the system underwent an extensive check-out period and fine alignment phase that readied the system for a demonstration starting in October 2011. SST completed its DARPA test and evaluation period in August 2012.
- Basing the SST in Australia will provide coverage of a more densely populated region of the geostationary belt than its previous location in New Mexico.
Statement Department Background Briefing En Route to Perth, Australia
MODERATOR: All right. We are en route from Washington to Perth, Australia for the AUSMIN ministerial. We have with us [Senior State Department Official], hereafter Senior State Department Official, to give us a little bit of a setup for the Secretary’s trip before she links up with the President later in the week.
Take it away, [Senior State Department Official].
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Great, sure. Thank you. Let me give you some context to how to think about this trip.
So in the wake of the successful election, there are a series of high-level visits to Asia. But I think that’s significant, that the first trip in the second administration since the reelection is to Asia. The President obviously going to the East Asia Summit, also to Cambodia, Thailand, and Burma. Secretary Panetta will be with us in Australia and will also be in Thailand and Cambodia, and obviously, the first two steps on this trip for us are in Australia and then on to Singapore.
So it’s meant to be a multifaceted trip that underscores the comprehensive nature of our engagement in Asia with the President obviously focusing at the strategic level, Secretary Panetta talking about defense and security relationships, and the Secretary laying out our diplomatic approach, our people-to-people engagement, and some of the components associated with our economic engagement in Asia as a whole.
Our most important ally in the southern hemisphere in Asia is Australia. The principal means through which we drive policy objectives and strategic goals is the mechanism called the AUSMIN, the Australia Ministerial. And it brings together the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, the Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Defense. We rotate every year in the other capital. And it is in a time – it’s a time to take stock, but also to launch a number of specific initiatives that the Secretary and Secretary Panetta will lay out when we are in Perth tomorrow.
The key here is to focus on all the areas that the — Australia and the United States is working closely together on, whether it’s assistance programs in Afghanistan or Southeast Asia or in the Pacific Islands, where they are a dominant player, or it’s in diplomacy. We work very closely in coordinating our engagement strategy towards China. They offer unique insights to their neighbor just north in Indonesia and work closely together on shared trade objectives, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
We share extraordinarily close relations, very regular interactions. The Secretary has a very close relationship with Prime Minister Gillard. They will have a private meeting when they are together in Perth. And she will also have time to meet not only with her counterparts, Foreign Minister Bob Carr and Foreign Secretary of Defense Steve Smith, but also the Shadow Minister, Julie Bishop, as well, because it’s so important to maintain the bipartisan quality of the relationship as a whole.
In Singapore, the Secretary will meet all the key players and the Prime Minister. They have had the most interaction with China, so we’re very interested to hear their perspectives with regard to the leadership transition that’s underway in China and Beijing, and also we’ll want to talk with them about how best to engage on critical issues upcoming at the East Asia Summit, including how to coordinate diplomacy on delicate matters like the South China Sea. The Secretary will give a major address on our economic engagement strategy, and I think you’ll hear a number of the ideas and initiatives that we are seeking to undertake in the second term.
Altogether, this is part of a continuing effort to step up our game in the Asia Pacific region. To do so requires very close coordination with our partners. We’ve long said that at the base of our foundation are our close security partnerships with Japan, South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, and particularly Australia, and that’s what the AUSMIN is about as we head in to Perth tomorrow.
QUESTION: Economically, is it a deliberate thing to — Asia, to emphasize this pivot towards Asia?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Well, look, I think the – I think there is a very clear determination to underscore that this is a significant feature of American foreign policy. This is not a fleeting foray, but it is a manifestation of new directions in American foreign policy. But it’s also the case, as the President and the Secretary have made very clear, it does not mean that we are walking away in any sense from very strong commitments in the Middle East and South Asia. And you will note that one of the things that we had really focused on in the last year is actually working closely with our European friends about the rise of Asia.
In fact, if you look at American foreign policy, everything that we’ve done of consequence for 50 years we’ve done with Europe, whether it’s the Balkans, Middle East, transnational challenges like climate change, we’ve worked closely together, Afghanistan. This is one of the areas where we really need to do more, and that’s why the Secretary rolled out a major initiative to initiate a deeper, broader dialogue between the United States and the EU and also member countries when she met with Lady Ashton at the ASEAN Regional Forum in Cambodia this summer.
So I think you’re going to see a very clear determination on the part of the Administration to make clear that this is a permanent feature of American foreign policy.
QUESTION: Why exactly is – why – what is the motivation for the tilt towards Asia?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Well, look. I mean I think many would agree or argue that the lion’s share of the history of the 21st century is going to play out in the Asian Pacific region – enormous rising prosperity, big challenges, big opportunities. The United States wants to play a major role in that unfolding drama, and we’re determined to do so.
QUESTION: And how – what about the Chinese? Are they going to misinterpret this in any way?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Well, look. An important component of our diplomacy is a very substantial increase in our interactions with Beijing. The Secretary leads the Strategic and Economic Dialogue. We are in extraordinarily regular contact with our Chinese interlocutors. We’ve made clear that the United States has helped provide for peace and stability in Asia for the last 50 years. I would argue that if you look at the last 30 or 40 years, it’s been some of the best, most productive in Chinese history. Much of the credit of that goes to the ingenuity, the hardworking efforts of the Chinese people.
But it is undeniably the case that the peace and stability that the United States has helped underwrite has played a substantial role in that progress. We want to work with China. We recognize the Asia Pacific region is big enough for the both of us. We’re determined to construct a very strong, durable, productive partnership between our two sides. And that’s what I think President Obama and Secretary Clinton have set out to do in a very sustained manner.
QUESTION: Was it a conscious thing to make this trip at a time when we do have the leadership change in China now in place?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I would say the dominant feature of this trip is the multilateral engagement at the East Asia Summit which takes place in Cambodia. The timing for that we did not set. The Cambodians, in consultation with ASEAN, had. The Chinese will participate in that meeting. We’ve worked closely with China. So this is not somehow scheduled —
MODERATOR: That meeting happens every year in mid-November, so —
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yeah.
MODERATOR: – it’s always the case we get the first shot at a newly elected president, reelection —
QUESTION: It sounds like a happy coincidence that you have President Obama in a second term and a new Chinese leadership —
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Well —
QUESTION: – and then this meeting?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Look, this is – the President and our team have had a chance to work with Vice President Xi Jinping. He has not been formally anointed yet. They are still in the middle of their leadership process. We will work closely and well with the new Chinese leadership. I’m certain of that. It is the case, however, that at this meeting, the Chinese will be represented by Wen Jiabao, the current Premier. But we are still very closely engaged with China on this, and they, like us, have been preparing for this meeting in Cambodia for months.
MODERATOR: Let’s do one more.
QUESTION: Well, I mean, again, I mean, would you say it’s a happy coincidence that President Obama has got his second term and you’ve got a new Chinese leadership going in and you have this chance to get —
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yeah, I mean, I can’t write your story for you. I don’t know if I’d write it like that because we’re not going to interact with the new leadership on this trip. So it’s not really – it’s not applicable. But we will be in close contact with China. I think – the part of the story that I think is significant is that this is the first really substantial trip out of the blocs with the key players in the Cabinet fanning out to send a signal of the importance of Asia.
QUESTION: One just on Burma.
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yeah.
QUESTION: The significance of the trip to Burma?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I think it’s enormously significant. The Obama Administration, with the Secretary as the point person, has led, I think, a major effort to help engage a country, to bring them back into the international arena. I think we’ve seen some real progress. We want to build on that. The President wants to see Aung San Suu Kyi, the President Thein Sein, give a major speech to underscore our commitment to the reform process. I think this clearly stacks up as a major early success of the Obama Administration.
QUESTION: The Rohingya situation, how much of a worry is that?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: It is a concern to us. It has been for years. It’s one of the hardest problems in global politics. We’re worked closely with the government and with Bangladesh, with ASEAN, with other interested groups like the OIC. We will be having very close consultations and continue to have them with our government interlocutors in Naypyidaw going forward. Thanks.
November 13, 2012, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Remarks at University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
Thank you very much, Minister Evans and thanks also to Premier Barnett, hereafter known as Premier Sputnik – (laughter) – and Chancellor Chaney, our excellent two ambassadors – your alumnus, Kim Beazley, who served you so well in Washington, and our Ambassador, Jeff Bleich, who I think knows more Australians than most Australians do at this point – and Dr. Gill, thank you for your primary work at the U.S. Studies Centre.
This is a wonderful opportunity for me to be here at the University of Western Australia, a campus that looks remarkably like Stanford University, where my daughter attended, and to be in this fabulous art gallery that I will not get a chance perhaps to see, but which certainly piques my interest, and to be part of helping to launch this center that will shape strategic thinking in this dynamic region.
This is my first visit to Perth, but I heard much about it, not least of all from your ambassador, and Stephen Smith, your Defense Minister. And one story in particular stands out because from the time I was a little girl, Premier, I was fascinated by space exploration, and you and I are of a vintage where we can actually remember Sputnik going over. And I even wrote to NASA, our space administration, when I was about 13 and asked what I needed to do to become an astronaut myself. I unfortunately received an answer that said they weren’t taking women. Thankfully, that has changed in the years since.
But I was riveted by the space program, and certainly when my friend and a great American, John Glenn, became the first American to orbit the earth in 1962, it was so exciting to know that the people of Perth were literally with him and cheering him on, because, as you know so well, when John’s capsule passed overhead, every light in this city came on to signal support for his mission. And I will tell you that he never forgot the gesture of friendship from the city of light.
So for me to be here is a dream come true, and I suppose if one were to go up into space today and look down at Perth, you would see a city that is sitting on a very strategic part of our planet, Australia’s gateway to the vibrant trade and energy routes that connect the Indian Ocean to the Pacific, the oil, the natural gas, the iron ore produced here that flows through those trade routes to the entire world. It is no surprise that foreign investment is soaring, including more than $100 billion from the United States, because increasingly, these waters are at the heart of the global economy and a key focus of America’s expanding engagement in the region, what we sometimes call our pivot to Asia.
We never actually left Asia; we’ve always been here and been a presence here. We consider ourselves a Pacific power. But in the 21st century, it’s important that we make absolutely clear we are here to stay. And how we think about the Asia Pacific or the Indo Pacific region is going to be critical to our future as well as yours. We’ve made it a strategic priority to support India’s Look East policy and to encourage Delhi to play a larger role in Asian institutions and affairs. And it’s exciting to see the developments as the world’s largest democracy and a dynamic emerging economy begin to contribute more broadly to the region.
It’s also important to see the burgeoning relationship between Australia and India. And we support a Look West policy here in Australia, and certainly applaud the Australian Government’s strategic white paper on Asian policy. We would welcome joint Australia-Indian naval vessel exercises in the future, and we’re eager to work together in the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation which Australia will chair in 2013 and which the United States has now joined as a dialogue partner.
I’m here for what are called the AUSMIN meetings. These are annual meetings that our Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense hold with our counterparts, Stephen Smith and Bob Carr. We will be reviewing implementation of the military agreements that Prime Minister Gillard and President Obama reached last November, including the rotational deployment of U.S. marines in Darwin and improving interoperability between our two navies. These steps will help both countries safeguard commerce and respond to natural disasters in the sea lanes connecting the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
So here at the University of Western Australia, you are at the leading edge of a crucial strategic shift linking two great oceans and strengthening an historic alliance. And I hope that the work that you do here will help to light the way just as Perth did for John Glenn 50 years ago, because when one stops to ponder it, our commercial, cultural, and personal relationships are really at the core of how we see and hope the world will develop in this century. Commercially, it’s already been set. We have deep and growing ties. Culturally, we also share the values that democracies share. We share the values of freedom and human rights, the dignity of every person. And personally, the connections between us only grow stronger.
So opening this Center, and so well named the Perth USAsia Centre, will give an additional impetus to exploring how we can broaden and deepen our commercial, cultural, and personal relationships. It shouldn’t be any surprise that the United States is just as interested in Australia as you seem to be interested in us. We’re constantly following your sports. You seem to have a flood of entertainers who take the American market by storm. The kinds of connections that we have between us are ones that we highly value.
Now of course, we’re living in a region that is changing so quickly, and there are other countries whose interests and profiles are equally important for each of us. We look for ways to support the peaceful rise of China, to support China becoming a responsible stakeholder in the international community, and hope to see gradual but consistent opening up of a Chinese society and political system that will more closely give the Chinese people the opportunities that we in the United States and Australia are lucky to take for granted.
We have great relationships with our other friends and allies from Japan and South Korea, Thailand, and the Philippines. Of course, we both enjoy close and growing relations with Indonesia. So as we think about how this region will change, it’s important that Australia and the United States work together, look to see how we can contribute to the kind of region and world we hope to see for both of us to give our young people the opportunities that they so richly deserve.
So I thank you for your steadfast commitment to the U.S.-Australia partnership. It is a partnership that is of itself of importance to each of us, but is also a partnership that must remain at the core of the kind of engagement we have in the Asia Pacific, Indo Pacific regions for now and for the future.
Thank you all. (Applause.)
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