Since first deploying in 1999 as part of the UN Assistance Mission to Timor-Leste and subsequently leading the United Nations mandated International Force in East Timor (INTERFET), the ADF has maintained a constant commitment to the government and people of Timor-Leste.
Over the years the ADF's contribution to Timor-Leste has undergone significant change since its early involvement that saw the deployment of over 4500 ADF personnel.
In addition to Operation Astute, the ADF contributes to Timor-Leste by providing support to the on-going United Nations (UN) mission and through the provision of direct support to the Timorese Defence Force under the ADF's regional Defence Cooperation Program (DCP).
With the establishment of the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) on 25 August 2006 , Australia continued its contribution of military personnel to the new mission. The ADF currently has four blue-bereted ADF personnel, three are deployed as military liaison officers in districts outside Dili and one is employed with HQ UNMIT in Dili. The operational name for this ADF support is Operation Tower .
Previous ADF contributions to UN missions in Timor-Leste include:
The Defence Cooperation Program has been operating since early 2001 and is an Australian regional engagement initiative to assist the development of the Timor-Leste Defence Force through military training, advice and support. The Defence Cooperation Program is conducted independently of the ADF military commitment to the UN's mission in Timor-Leste.
The Defence Cooperation Program conducts a range of activities and projects with the Timor-Leste Defence Force, embracing training and advisory roles such as:
• English language instruction to prepare military personnel for further military education and training opportunities;
• Leadership training, development and skills enhancement for junior military personnel;
• Higher-level staff training in the areas of command, leadership and discipline and military planning, logistics and administration;
• Communications, equipment and management training to support the military command network;
• Senior level Ministry of Defence and military advice, including capability and force development, military doctrine, financial, communications and finance and budget coordination advice.
The Australian Government has allocated up to $40 million over an initial five-year period to support the Defence Cooperation Program in Timor-Leste.
This level of expenditure is expected to continue again over the next five-year period. A major Australian contribution under the Program is the $7.5 million construction of a training centre for the Timor-Leste Defence Force at Metinaro.
Currently, about seventeen Defence personnel are deployed to Timor-Leste to support this Program. These personnel are located in Dili, Metinaro and Baucau.
Information current at 24 January 2007