Australia in Solomon Islands
In July 2003, under Operation Helpem Fren, the 16 member states of the Pacific Islands Forum deployed troops, police and civilian advisors to Solomon Islands through the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI). As of mid-2009, there are 80 Australian military personnel serving in Solomon Islands as part of RAMSI, supporting a contingent of Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers with more than 150 civilian advisors.
Note: For budgetary reasons, most sections of this Briefing Book, other than Australian Defence Facilities ceased being updated in December 2010.
The military forces are tasked to provide security for police and civilian staff who make up RAMSI’s Participating Police Force (PPF) – over 220 police from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and state police forces are part of the PPF, which also includes police contingents from around the region.
Under Operation Anode, the ADF has deployed a military contingent to support the policing operation in Solomon Islands. ADF personnel are the largest contingent in a 160-strong Combined Task Force serving together with New Zealand, PNG, Fijian and Tongan troops.
Australian civilian advisers make up the overwhelming majority of RAMSI staff working in various Government ministries and in RAMSI-supported projects.
The numbers of Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel deployed to Solomon Islands have varied over time – after an initial deployment of over 1,400 people in July 2003, the number of troops has wound down, and the military component has recently based on rotations of reserve troops from Australia and New Zealand.
There have been surges of forces, however, at times of increased security concern such as the assassination of APS officer Adam Dunning in December 2004 or following the April 2006 riots in Honiara.
At the time of writing, in August 2009, there are about 80 ADF personnel in Solomon Islands as part of the 160-strong Combined Task Force, including:
- an ADF-led combined headquarters in Honiara
- a plastoon from the Australian Defence Force (ADF)
- rotations of infantry from the Australian Reserves
- air transport units from the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF)
- a small maritime task group, including patrol boats, landing craft and a mine hunter.
- support units, including engineers, communications and logistics units.
Australian Forces Abroad: Australia in Solomon Islands
Project coordinator: Richard Tanter
Project researcher: Nic Maclellan
Nautilus Institute gratefully acknowledges the financial support for this project by the International Centre for Research Excellence in the Asia-Pacific (ICEAPS).
Updated: 24 August 2009