BLUF

Closer relations with Brunei give Australia more options in S-E Asia.

Summary

Defending Southeast Asia is a core part of the 2020 Defence Strategic Update and Force Structure Plan. The Australian Air Force has been at Butterworth Malaysia since 1948 and is part of the Five Power Defence Arrangements between Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and the UK. Brunei is a small but wealthy country with strong defence links to the UK and Singapore. Australia and Brunei have a defence cooperation memorandum of understanding. Cooperation is growing as demonstrated by an Australian submarine port visit, Chief of Navy visit; and joint naval and Australian Air Force P-8A Poseidon exercises. Brunei has access to maritime Southeast Asia and the South China Sea and enhances existing Australia, Malaysia and Singapore links. Australia also has a focus on naval training and Air Force counter-terrorism operations with the Philippines. Access to the Philippines Subic Bay Naval Base would also benefit Australia. Consider how working with Brunei and the Philippines could enhance Australian strategic position in the region.