The mutual benefits of Australia’s engagement with its Pacific partners are clear to Lieutenant Commander Andrew Dobb and CPOATV David Bragg.
They are posted to Samoa where Lieutenant Commander Dobb is the Maritime Surveillance Adviser (MSA) and Chief Petty Officer Bragg is the Technical Adviser (TA).
Their work forms part of the Pacific Maritime Security Program (PMSP).
Lieutenant Commander Dobb, who arrived in Samoa in mid-July, is looking forward to the introduction of Samoa’s new Guardian Class Patrol Boat in August 2019 and the significant improvement to capability the vessel will deliver.
“Coupled with that, the basing of one of the PMSP’s King Air 200 surveillance aircraft in Samoa will extensively enhance the nation’s ability to undertake surveillance and enforcement of fisheries breaches and transnational crime networks,” Lieutenant Commander Dobb said.
He said initiatives such as the PMSP and the Defence Cooperation Program were important because they provided a security capability Pacific nations otherwise might not have been able to afford or operate effectively.
“Added benefits are the technological and equipment improvements and developments that have been introduced to the country,” he said.
“There is also the training, which will be provided to hundreds of Samoa Police Maritime Wing members over the next 30 years.”
Lieutenant Commander Dobb said combined with Australian aid projects in Samoa, Australia was a major contributor to the country’s continued security and development.
He said he requested the MSA posting to experience something new.
“Samoa is a vibrant country seeking to develop itself and embrace new technologies from around the world,” he said.
“The Samoa Police Maritime Wing is a proud and professional specialist arm of the Samoa Police Service, who put great effort and dedication into operating and maintaining their Pacific class patrol boat Nafanua.”
CPO Bragg described the Samoa Police Maritime Wing as “a great group to work with”, saying he had been “made so welcome and learnt so much from them and their culture”.
He has been posted to the Technical Advisor role for almost two years and has enjoyed every minute of it.
“The tasks we do here range from assisting with technical support to the procurement of new items to help the Samoa Police Service with their capability and involves meeting so many varied and interesting people,” CPO Bragg said.
He had requested an out-of-category posting because of the challenges and opportunity it offered.
“As a ‘birdie’, we tend to spend a lot of time at Albatross, so my wife and I thought it would be great to live elsewhere and to give our children a chance to embrace another country and culture,” he said.
“The community we work with and have been involved with is so amazing.”