Chargé d’Affaires Doug Sonnek Speech: Talisman Sabre Closing Ceremony

As prepared – August 01, 2021

Talisman Sabre Closing Ceremony – Kissing Point, Townsville

It is a pleasure to be here with you in Townsville for the conclusion of Talisman Sabre 2021.

Since 2005, Talisman Sabre has created opportunities for the United States and Australia to work closely together to enhance our collective military capabilities. 

Over the past month, here in Queensland, our combined militaries have undertaken critical, high-level training exercises to improve the capacity of our servicemen and women to work together. 

We were pleased to welcome some ten thousand American Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen, and Guardians to experience for themselves the close bond our two nations share.

This exercise achieved significant milestones in our military interoperability, including firing the U.S. Marine Corp’s High Mobility Artillery Rocket System here in Queensland.

The ninth iteration of Talisman Sabre was only possible thanks to the Australian and Queensland governments, for enabling this crucial bilateral military training event to proceed safely during a global pandemic. 

We also thank all the servicemen and women who have conscientiously adhered to COVID guidelines throughout.

Although this year’s exercise may have looked different due to the pandemic, one thing remains the same: our relationship stands strong. 

Despite the challenges of a global pandemic, we have completed this essential exercise, in the presence of our many allies and partners invited to observe.

Talisman Sabre is a critical component in our mission to advance an open, interconnected, resilient, and secure Indo-Pacific.

Exercises such as Talisman Sabre lay the very foundation of our collective response capabilities in the real world. 

I personally witnessed our ability to work together when Cyclone Winston devastated Fiji in 2016. I was there when the deadly category five storm struck.

Soon after, Australian and U.S. service members delivered humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. 

The way our countries worked together to provide help in a time of great need reinforced to me, and to the world, that our alliance is a force for good, especially for our friends in the Indo-Pacific.

Ours is an Alliance that spans decades, extends far beyond our military relationship, and is celebrated this year by the 70th anniversary of the ANZUS Treaty.

When Australia and the United States came together to sign the Treaty in 1951 at the Presidio in San Francisco, our countries declared formally, and for all time, that we are here for each other.

As we look back on the relationship between the U.S. and Australia, at the same time we remain forward-looking.

Close collaboration on the emerging technologies that will shape the next 70 years of our alliance will also create jobs and grow both economies.

Our alliance is unshakeable, and together we are ready for anything.

We look ahead to new and emerging opportunities to work together to ensure the future security and prosperity of all our nations.

We remain resilient and flexible, as demonstrated at Talisman Sabre across the last few weeks.

We will be where we need to be, shoulder to shoulder with our Australian counterparts, as we have been for decades. 

Thank you for joining us at Talisman Sabre 2021, we look forward to meeting once again in the future.”

##