The Minister for Defence, John Moore, today held talks in Sydney with his US counterpart, Secretary of Defense, William Cohen.
"We have had frank and rewarding discussions on a wide range of defence and security issues of common interest. These talks are a further reflection of the close and dynamic security partnership between our two countries," Mr Moore said.
Issues discussed included reviewing major trends and developments in China, Taiwan, the Koreas, Indonesia, East Timor and the South Pacific.
Minister Moore and Secretary Cohen also exchanged views on upcoming reviews of defence policy being undertaken by both countries. Mr Moore briefed Mr Cohen on the Defence White Paper and public consultation process, while the Secretary outlined thinking on the US Administration's forthcoming Quadrennial Defense Review.
"We both are conducting major defence policy reviews. In due course, we will jointly consider the implications of these reviews for management of the alliance relationship," said Mr Moore.
Minister Moore and Secretary Cohen reaffirmed their intention to greatly simplify the transfer of defence equipment and technology between Australia and the United States. To that end, they signed a 'Statement of Principles for Enhanced Cooperation in Matters of Defence Equipment and Industry'.
The Statement covers cooperation on research and development, maximising technology transfer, harmonisation of military requirements, acquisition processes and export procedures.
"The Statement of Principles, and the special status accorded to Australia under the Defence Trade Security Initiative, symbolise the closeness of the security partnership that has developed between Australia and the US," Mr Moore said.
"Among other things, these developments will facilitate the interoperability of our forces, which remains a hallmark of our alliance".
The Minister paid particular thanks to the US for assistance in overcoming the capability deficiencies in the Collins Class submarines.
"Australia applauds the very high levels of collaboration at the operational and scientific levels that has underpinned our efforts to improve the capability of Australia's new submarines."