Defence diplomacy dividends

Published on Dr Ben Herscovitch (author and photographer)

Topic(s): Sea Power Centre - Australia, South East Asia Deployment

Deputy Chief of Navy Rear Admiral Michael Noonan, AM, RAN, farewells Indonesian Visiting Navy Fellow Commander Aminuddin Albek during a recent visit. (photo: Dr Benjamin Herscovitch)
Deputy Chief of Navy Rear Admiral Michael Noonan, AM, RAN, farewells Indonesian Visiting Navy Fellow Commander Aminuddin Albek during a recent visit.
Ties between the Royal Australian Navy and the Indonesian Navy continue to deepen with exchange programs coupled with international exercises.
 
Indonesian Commander Aminuddin Albek recently wrapped up a three-month research sabbatical at the Royal Australian Navy’s Sea Power Centre - Australia in Canberra.
 
Supporting officers from regional navies to undertake a program of research and engagement in Australia, the fellowship is a vital element of Australian Defence diplomacy in the region.
 
Commander Albek’s visit has strengthened Australia’s relations with Indonesia and is indicative of the priority placed on this relationship by both the Australian Defence Force and the Indonesian National Armed Forces.
 
As well as writing a 10,000-word report on piracy in the Sulu Sea during his fellowship, Commander Albek had the opportunity to attend the Navy’s biennial Sea Power Conference.
 
“The 2017 Sea Power Conference was great,” Commander Albek said.
 
“This year’s topics were fascinating, and the speakers provided rich lessons that we may be able to apply in the Indonesian Navy.”
 
At events like the Sea Power Conference, Commander Albek met a wide range of Australian service members, academics, and defence industry professionals.
 
“Attending great events like this allowed me to interact with prominent academics, practitioners, and high ranking naval officers who shared their knowledge and expertise,” he said.
 
Links between like-minded people fostered by the Visiting Navy Fellow program are essential to delivering a skilled and educated Navy workforce.
 
Whether an able seaman stepping ashore as part of an overseas port visit or a two-star officer meeting a foreign counterpart, all Australian Defence Force personnel are ambassadors for their service and nation.
 
By raising the level of awareness about crucial regional partners like Indonesia, the fellowship helps build an informed Navy workforce ready to represent Australia at home and abroad.
 
As well as being published in the Sea Power Centre - Australia’s Soundings Papers series, Commander Albek’s report will eventually be published in Indonesian by Pusjianmar—the Indonesian Navy’s research centre for maritime studies in the defence and security fields.