The Visiting Naval Fellows program is a valuable tool for building international defence relationships and contributing to knowledge-sharing and interoperability across our region.
During the last 12 months, the Sea Power Centre Australia (SPC-A) has hosted six international officers for a three-month fellowship as part of Visiting Naval Fellows (VNF) program contributing to our “thinking Navy”.
SPC-A’s Commander Visiting Naval Fellows, Commander Andrew Schroder, said SPC-A was the focal point for maritime strategic thought and the Visiting Naval Fellows program enabled the selected officers to broaden their understanding of international relations from an Australian perspective.
“In many ways, the VNF program delivers a meaningful contribution to establishing a long-term partnership between their navies and ours,” Commander Schroder said.
“By spending their time in residence in Canberra, Fellows expand their knowledge of international relations through a program of individual study, research and reflection, extensive participation in an active program of meetings and events, and interaction with senior Royal Australian Navy officers, Australian policymakers and defence policy experts.
“They also attend academic and policy conferences and official functions related to the SPC-A’s core program of maritime strategy research.
“The Fellows produce 10,000-word policy papers on maritime strategy and defence policy issues of critical importance to their home countries and the region where Australia has traditionally viewed itself as the most influential actor.
“Fellows present their final research findings at roundtables hosted by the Sea Power Centre and in these forums, they showcase their research to experts in academia and senior Australian policymakers from across government,” he said.
Since the program began in 2014, the SPC-A has hosted VNFs from Fiji, Japan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, The Philippines, Tonga, Timor-Leste and Vietnam.
Visiting Naval Fellow, Senior Lieutenant Bryan Dao Xuan from the Vietnamese People’s Navy, was invited to lay a wreath beside the Pool of Reflection during a moving Last Post ceremony at the Australian War Memorial last Friday.
“It’s been an honour to participate in the Last Post Ceremony and to lay a wreath as an international guest at the Australian War Memorial,” Senior Lieutenant Xuan said.
“With regards to my research - I am interested in the maritime spatial planning for the sustainable development of the coastal states, particularly for Vietnam,” he said.