'Australia is a highly valued, reliable and respected Partner’, says Chairman of the NATO Military Committee
General Petr Pavel, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee visited Sydney and Canberra while in Australia 9 to 14 June 2017. During his visit, the Chairman met with Mr. Brendan Sargeant, Acting Secretary of the Department of Defence; Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, the Chief of the Australian Defence Force; Vice Admiral David Johnston, Chief of Joint Operations; Major General Gavan Reynolds, Australia’s Military Representative to NATO; Commodore Luke Charles-Jones, Acting Australian Fleet Commander; Captain Ashley Papp, Commanding Officer of HMAS Canberra; The Honourable Dr. Brendan Nelson, Director of the Australian War Memorial; and Major General Simone Wilkie, Commander of the Australian Defence College. General Pavel also attended a meeting of the Special Chiefs of Service Committee.
After meeting with Vice Admiral David Johnston, Chief of Joint Operations, the Chairman received briefings on the current Australian Operations and Missions and toured the Joint Operations Command Headquarters. General Pavel remarked on the professionalism of the Australian Armed Forces and their ability to plug in quickly to both NATO-led and multinational Operations and Missions. “We can learn from each other, share best practices, develop common standards and reinforce each other’s efforts to all our benefits. I have the utmost respect for the Australian Defence Forces who contribute to peacekeeping and multinational operations and missions in their region but also around the world because they strongly believe it is the "right thing to do"' stated the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee.
Discussions with Acting Secretary of the Department of Defence, Mr. Brendan Sargeant and Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin focused on the current security challenges and the benefits of working together to find global solutions to shared threats. While attending the Special Chiefs of Service Committee, General Pavel took the opportunity to thank Australia for its continued commitment to the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission to train, assist and advise the Afghan Armed Forces and Institutions. “You have played a significant role in Afghanistan and your service men and women do a magnificent job. We should continue to build on our shared experiences”, stressed General Pavel.
During his visit to the Australian War Memorial, the Chairman met with The Honourable Dr. Brendan Nelson, Director of the Australian War Memorial and toured the Commemorative Area. Participating in the Last Post Ceremony with Air Chief Marshal Binskin, General Pavel paid his respects and laid a wreath at the base of the Pool of Reflection in honour of all the Australian fallen who have given their lives in service, protecting freedom, peace and security.
Visiting the Australian Defence College, General Pavel was greeted by Major General Simone Wilkie, Commander of the Defence College. After delivering a speech on NATO's Strategic Challenges, the Chairman held a Question and Answer session with the students. He stressed the interconnectivity of current security challenges and the need to continue to work together to find common solutions.
Concluding his visit to Australia, the Chairman visited Fleet Headquarters where he met with Commodore Luke Charles-Jones, Acting Australian Fleet Commander. Discussions focused on the need to protect global commons, increase interoperability and preparedness. Touring the flagship HMAS Canberra, General Pavel received a guided tour from Captain Ashley Papp, Commanding Officer, as well as a briefing on the ship's capabilities.