The Australian American Leadership Dialogue (AALD) is an annual forum, founded in 1992 by former Cocoa-Cola Amatil executive and later Australian consul-general in New York, Phil Scanlon, AM. The AALD describes its role as being “to bring together Australian and American leaders from government, enterprise, media, education and the community to help review and refine the parameters of the Australian-American bilateral relationship.”
The 27th Annual AALD in 2019 was held in Perth and welcomed eminent leaders and executives from Australian and US politics, business, media and tertiary institutions. Amongst the topics covered at AALD were defence and security, trade, AI and robotics, space, cyber security, global energy supply chains, digital transformation and ethics in the digital age.
WA DEFENCE REVIEW’s Founder and Managing Editor Serge De Silva-Ranasinghe was honoured to participate in an important plenary session titled: “Are Australia And The United States Successfully Navigating The Indo-Pacific Shifts In Power?” Also on the panel were Dr Andrew Dowse, AVM (Rtd), Director, Defence Research and Engagement at Edith Cowan University, Parker Novak, Resident Program Director (Timor-Leste) for the International Republican Institute, and Jennifer Hendrixson White, Senior Policy Advisor at U.S. Department of State.
The panel engaged in a stimulating discussion on the importance of responding to the many challenges arising in the fast-evolving Indo-Pacific region. There was unanimity in the panel’s desire to see key decision and policy-makers become more aware of the geo-political nuances in this changing landscape.
The speakers also stressed the ongoing importance of the US-Australia alliance in continuing to ensure a robust and stable region. Indeed, it was suggested that in light of the actions of some increasingly assertive regional powers, that the US-Australia alliance has never been more important, though this was not to diminish the need for more dialogue and sensible diplomacy with all members of the region.
In his capacity as Managing Editor of WA DEFENCE REVIEW, Serge highlighted Australia’s Indian Ocean interests and WA’s strategic location in the region, and drew attention to the state’s willingness and capacity – across government, industry and tertiary institutions – to support the defence industry and foster innovation.
The AALD has become a unique and persuasive diplomatic voice with a profound interest in Australia and America’s strategic and economic partnership, especially as it pertains to the Indo-Pacific region. From a west coast perspective, it is encouraging to see that WA’s strategic role in this dynamic and important region has now become an essential talking point at such forums.