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ADF Reduces Numbers In Timor–Leste

Department of Defence Media Mail List

CPA 323/06 Thursday, 30 November 2006

ADF Reduces Numbers In Timor–Leste

Australian Defence Force (ADF) numbers on Operation Astute in Timor-Leste will be reduced to about 800 over the next few weeks as non-essential elements return home.

The Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, says he is very happy with the progress being made in Timor-Leste and as the situation allows, he will reduce the numbers to a force appropriate for the task.

“I don’t want to have ADF personnel away from their families for a day longer than is required, so to be able to bring these service men and women home before Christmas is very pleasing,” he said.

Approximately 120 personnel from Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (1 RAR) will return to Townsville in the second week of December. Bravo Company was deployed to Dili at short notice on the 9th of September to address the potential for deterioration in the general security situation following the escape of prisoners from Becora Prison.

In addition to the 1 RAR personnel, a small number of military police who were providing security to Timorese officials will return to Australia in the near future. Timorese security personnel will assume their duties.

The 800 personnel remaining in Timor-Leste will provide a robust and flexible response force which will continue to support the United Nations Police security operations. This force consists mainly of a battalion group based on the 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (6 RAR) and other support elements to provide logistics, communication, engineering and mobility.

Further ADF drawdown will not be conducted to a set timeline, but will be based on careful monitoring of the conditions in Timor-Leste.


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