APSNet Semi-Weekly Bulletin, January 18, 2010

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APSNet 18 January 2010

  1. Cyber security operations centre officially opened
  2. Friends in high places a juggling act for Rudd
  3. Japan ends naval support for Afghan war
  4. SBY dismisses calls to face Century probe
  5. Elite US troops ready to combat Pakistani nuclear hijacks
  6. UK plans ‘trust fund’ to woo Taliban fighters

1. Cyber security operations centre officially opened, Hon John Faulkner, Department of Defence, 2010-01-15

The Minister for Defence, Senator John Faulkner, officially opened Defence’s new Cyber Security Operations Centre in Canberra. “The establishment of the Cyber Security Operations Centre within the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) is a major step in meeting the Government’s 2009 Defence White Paper commitment to provide comprehensive understanding of the cyber threat,” Senator Faulkner said. “Cyber security is one of the Government’s top national security priorities and the Cyber Security Operations Centre is a key part of a national cyber security initiative set by Government. Cyber attacks on Government and critical infrastructure constitute a real threat to Australia’s national interest.”

2. Friends in high places a juggling act for Rudd, John Kerin, AFR*, 2010-01-18

Kevin Rudd made much of his knowledge and experience of China when touting himself as a future prime minister. His critics were more concerned about how the sinophile Rudd would develop as intimate a relationship with Washington or manage the Australia-US alliance as well as had George Bush’s former “man of steel”, John Howard.
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3. Japan ends naval support for Afghan war, Martin Fackler, NYT, 2010-01-15

Japan’s defense minister ordered the nation’s naval ships to return from the Indian Ocean, fulfilling a pledge by his government to end an eight-year refueling mission in support of the war in Afghanistan. A destroyer and a supply ship that had been refueling American and other warships are to head home, when a special law authorizing the mission expires. Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama refused to renew the law, ignoring requests from the Obama administration to continue the mission as a show of diplomatic support for Washington.

4. SBY dismisses calls to face Century probe, Nurfika Osman and Markus Junianto Sihaloho, Jakarta Globe, 2010-01-18

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has flatly rejected calls to testify before lawmakers probing the bailout of PT Bank Century, dismissing the requests as an opposition ploy, his spokesman said. Julian Aldrin Pasha said calls for the House of Representatives special committee to summon Yudhoyono mostly came from the opposition Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and the People’s Conscience Party (Hanura). “There’s no urgency to present the president at the Bank Century inquiry, as it doesn’t represent the whole voice of the special committee,” Julian said. “The president’s support to settle the Century case has been more than enough as he stated in his speech on Nov. 23 last year. He fully supports the special committee.”

5. Elite US troops ready to combat Pakistani nuclear hijacks, Christina Lamb, Times, 2010-01-17

The US army is training a crack unit to seal off and snatch back Pakistani nuclear weapons in the event that militants, possibly from inside the country’s security apparatus, get their hands on a nuclear device or materials that could make one. The specialised unit would be charged with recovering the nuclear materials and securing them. The move follows growing anti-Americanism in Pakistan’s military, a series of attacks on sensitive installations over the past two years, several of which housed nuclear facilities, and rising tension that has seen a series of official complaints by US authorities to Islamabad in the past fortnight.

6. UK plans ‘trust fund’ to woo Taliban fighters, Richard Norton-Taylor, Guardian, 2010-01-14

Taliban fighters who lay down their arms will be offered money from an international trust fund under a plan being drawn up by British government officials. For months, British and US diplomats and intelligence officers have been approaching Taliban commanders considered “reconcilable”. However, their approaches have been unco-ordinated and often sabotaged by mutual suspicion. In particular, the US and the Karzai government have been suspicious of British attempts to persuade Taliban fighters and other groups to abandon the insurgency. British officials are now proposing that a co-ordinated international initiative, described by some as a kind of trust fund, should be set up as a key objective of the London conference on Afghanistan on 28 January.