Australia has signed the Security Agreement on the Protection of Classified Information under the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation, according to a joint media release Tuesday from Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles and Minister for Defence Pat Conroy.
The pact opens classified information exchange between Australia and the European intergovermental organization, known by its French acronym OCCAR, to support defense equipment programs. It will enhance Canberra’s collaboration not only with OCCAR member countries but also with other key European partners.
OCCAR, established in 1996 primarily to manage defense equipment manufacturing and maintenance programs of its member states, is composed of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. Besides Australia, several other non-member states participate in OCCAR programs, with Finland, Sweden, Turkey and the Netherlands, among them.
According to Marles, the new agreement reflects Canberra’s growing strategic and industrial ties with Europe. The country’s participation in OCCAR programs shows an “emphasis on cost-effective and efficient acquisition of complex defense capabilities,” he added.