ASEAN Defense Sector Prepares 2011-2013 Work Program

Indonesia has convened on 22 February 2010 the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting (ADMM) Working Group in its province of Surabaya to craft and develop the ADMM’s 2011-2013 Work Program. A follow-on to the current 2008-2010 Work Program, this work plan would ensure that cooperation among the defense ministries of ASEAN would be sustained and further deepened. Among the initiatives undertaken through the 2008-2010 work program are cooperation between the defense sector and civil society organizations in ASEAN and the use of military assets and capacities in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. In addition to these undertakings, the ASEAN defense sector is now looking at the prospects of establishing a network of ASEAN peacekeeping centers as well as promoting defense industry collaboration as contained in the 2011-2013 work program. Preparations for the upcoming meeting of the ASEAN defense ministers in May 2011 were also discussed by the working group leaders.

A day later (February 23), working group leaders of the 8 ASEAN dialogue partners which are members of the ADMM-Plus joined their ASEAN colleagues to craft the establishment of Experts Working Group under the ADMM-Plus. The ADMM-Plus ministers in their inaugural meeting in Hanoi in October 2010 sanctioned the establishment of EWGs in five to ensure that practical cooperation is undertaken. These include maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, counter-terrorism, peacekeeping operations, and military medicine. The concept paper on their establishment as well as the respective workplans for the next three years will be approved by the defense senior officials of the ADMM-Plus countries who are slated to meet in Yogyakarta in April 2010.

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Strategic Assessment (OASSA) took part in both meetings. The Philippines co-chairs with New Zealand the ADMM-Plus EWG on Peackeeping Operations.