International Stabilisation Force – command: Timor-Leste
Until mid-2006, Australian forces in Timor-Leste operated under a joint command known as Joint Task Force 631. From May 2006, after agreement with the United Nations, the overseas deployment has been known as the International Stabilisation Force (ISF).
The International Stabilisation Force is under ADF command, and does not operate within the United Nations command or operational structure. Since its initial deployment in Timor-Leste, the ISF has been commanded by an Australian Defence Force (ADF) officer. In April 2007, the ISF appointed a deputy commander from the New Zealand Defence Force.
ISF Command Personnel
Commander Combined Joint Task Force 631 / International Stabilisation Force (ISF):
1) Brigadier Mick Slater 25 May 2006 – 26 October 2006
Highest East Timorese Honour for Army Officers, Department of Defence media release MSPA 172/09, 22 May 2009.
“President of East Timor, His Excellency, Dr Jose Ramos Horta, yesterday awarded the Timor-Leste Medalha de Merito (Medal of Merit) to two Australian Army Officers for their service to East Timor during the past ten years. Major General Mick Slater, DSC, AM, CSC, and Major Michael Stone, received the Medal at the President’s Office in Dili. The Timor-Leste Medalha de Merito is the highest recognition that can be bestowed by the President of East Timor. President Horta said Major General Slater’s contribution to East Timor exemplifies the values of the Australian Defence Force and noted, in particular, his leadership of the International Stabilisation Force which was deployed in response to the break down in security in 2006. Major-General Slater also received the Medalha Solidariedade de Timor-Leste (East Timor Solidarity Medal) during the presentation. Major Stone was honoured for the unique role as a peacemaker he has played in East Timor during the past decade. President Horta said his profound understanding of Timorese culture and language has enabled him to promote peace and reconciliation throughout the country, gaining the respect of its people.”
2) Brigadier Mal Rerden 26 October 2006 – 1 August 2007
Brigadier Mal Rerden, Operation Astute website, Department of Defence: “In August 2006, Mal Rerden was appointed as the deputy commander of Operation Astute in Timor-Leste. On the 22nd October he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier and then on the 25th October 2006 assumed the command of the JTF631 in Timor-Leste.”
3) Brigadier John Hutcheson 1 August 2007 – 30 January 2008
Change of Command in Timor-Leste, Minister for Defence, the Hon Joel Fitzgibbon, Media release 5/2008, 29 January 2008: “Brigadier James Baker has been appointed as the next commander of the Australian-led International Stabilisation Force in Timor-Leste. He takes over from Brigadier John Hutcheson who has held the appointment since July 2007. Based in Dili, Brigadier Baker is commanding almost 1000 Australian and New Zealand Defence Force personnel deployed in support of the Government of Timor-Leste and the United Nations Police.”
New Commander takes over in Timor, West Australian, 2 August 2007
4) Brigadier James Baker 31 January 2008 –
Change of Command in Timor-Leste, Minister for Defence Joel Fitzgibbon, media release 5/08, 29 January 2008:
“The Minister for Defence, the Hon Joel Fitzgibbon MP today announced that Brigadier James Baker has been appointed as the next commander of the Australian-led International Stabilisation Force in Timor-Leste. He takes over from Brigadier John Hutcheson who has held the appointment since July 2007. Based in Dili, Brigadier Baker is commanding almost 1000 Australian and New Zealand Defence Force personnel deployed in support of the Government of Timor-Leste and the United Nations Police. … Brigadier Baker takes command of the ISF at a time when security within the country has dramatically improved. The situation is now allowing the ISF to assist communities across Timor-Leste by expanding into other tasks, including regional medical clinics and joint engineering tasks with the Timorese military, while still maintaining a security overwatch.”
5) Brigadier Mark Holmes
6) Brigadier Bill Sowry 16 January 2009
Change of command of Australian East Timor mission, Department of Defence Media release MSP A 22/09, 19 January 2009: “Brigadier Bill Sowry has taken command of the Australian-led International Stabilisation Force in East Timor during a ceremony in Dili on Friday 16 Jan. He replaces Brigadier Mark Holmes who commanded the operation during a period of sustained improvement in East Timor’s situation.”
Brigadier Bill Sowry, Commander International Stabilisation Force (CISF), East Timor, Department of Defence profile:
“Brigadier Bill Sowry is the Commander of the multi-national International Stabilisation Force in East Timor. He assumed command on 16 January 2009, and will serve on Operation ASTUTE for nine months.”
Memorandum of Understanding Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, United Nations and Australia, courtesy La’o Hamutuk
“Paragraph 1: Trilateral Coordination Body
(1) …a Trilateral Coordination Forum …will serve as the mechanism for the Government of Timor-Leste, UNMIT and the ISF to discuss security issues relevant to the management and stabilization of the security environment in Timor-Leste, including security operations, and ensure full coordination between the Participants, through close consultation and information sharing.
“Paragraph 4: Military…
2) The Government of Timor-Leste and the Government of Australia have mutually determined that the ISF will at all times remain under Australian operational control, and act in accordance the provisions of this Memorandum of Understanding and the relevant provisions of the invitation from the Government of Timor-Leste, the exchange of letters between Timor-Leste and Australia on 25 May 2006 and the Status of Forces Arrangement concluded between Timor-Leste and Australia, on behalf of the ISF, on 26 May 2006.”
Annual Report 2005 – 2006, Chapter Two, Outcome One: Command of Operations, Department of Defence
“[An] ADF commander became the coordinator for the tactical strategies and operations’ outputs of the troop and police contributions made by Malaysia, New Zealand and Portugal. At the height of the operation almost 3,000 ADF personnel were deployed.”
- International Stabilisation Force
- Legal Mandate Timor-Leste