The Australian Consul-General in Honolulu, Ms Jane Hardy, presented a roundtable lunch to the Perth USAsia Centre community on Monday 24 June. Consul-General Hardy discussed Australia’s strategic partnership with the US in the Indo-Pacific, which a focus on defence cooperation.
The Australian Consul-General in Honolulu principally enables engagement with the Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM
), the unified command of the US Armed Forces responsible for the Indo-Pacific region. Headquartered in Hawaii, INDOPACOM is responsible for US military operations from the west coast of the continental US through to India, an area which accounts for 52% of the earth’s surface.
Consul-General Hardy provided an overview of the structure of INDOPACOM, and its current and future operational priorities. The importance of INDOPACOM to US global strategy is reflected in the recent Indo-Pacific Strategy Report
, which identified the Indo-Pacific as the Department of Defence’s priority operational theatre.
Given Australia’s own Indo-Pacific oriented defence
policies, the Consulate-General in Honolulu plays a critical role in supporting Australia’s alliance relationship with the US. Amongst its functions, it enables Australia to:
- Develop working-level military-to-military contacts, particularly via training and information-sharing exercises
- Deepen understanding of the evolution of US military strategy, and the impacts upon its operational activities
- Articulate Australian views of the region to key US strategic decision-makers, especially with relation to the South Pacific and Indian Ocean littoral
- Involvement in US efforts to engage more deeply with partners beyond formal alliance relationships, including India and Indonesia
- Collaboration between US and Australian officials in promoting the Indo-Pacific concept more broadly amongst regional partners
- Bilateral sharing of assessments of recent developments in regional security.
Through these processes, the Australian Consulate-General in Honolulu functions as one of the key mechanisms for security cooperation and engagement within the Australia-US alliance. It operates alongside the representation of several other US alliance partners – Japan, Korea, the Philippines and New Zealand – in Honolulu, complementing Australia’s diplomatic work with these countries.