OSI, Australian counterparts solidify joint vision in Pacific

  • Published
  • By Thomas Brading
  • OSI Public Affairs

An agreement last month between the Office of Special Investigations and the Australian Federal Police was signed at a ceremony held during the 2023 Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police Conference in Brisbane, Australia. 

Officials lauded the reaffirmed partnership between OSI and AFP leaders as a reflection of their enduring dedication. Over the years, their alliance has underscored a shared resolve to address global security challenges.

Both agencies look forward to enhancing their collaboration to foster international cooperation in areas of mutual concern, said Col. Benjamin Hatch, OSI Reg. 6 commander, who signed the agreement alongside Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Michael Pannett.

Aligned with U.S. Pacific Air Forces, the air component of the U.S. Indo Pacific Command, OSI’s 6th Field Investigations Region has fostered a strong collaborative relationship with Australian counterparts. 

For example, during the Cope North exercises held in Guam, OSI, along with others in the Department of Air Force, have worked seamlessly alongside the Royal Australian Air Force to strengthen interoperability, becoming more effective year after year. 

In addition, in April 2022, a key meeting took place in Washington, D.C., between OSI leadership and the leadership of the AFP during the latter's visit to the Australian Embassy where the two agencies agreed to focus on mutual interests such as technology protection, countering foreign interference, and confronting organized crime. 

Most recently, the talks in Brisbane revolved along a theme of combating cybercrime and countering child exploitation through development of cyber safety practices and criminal enforcement using the regional security architecture to bolster cooperation in the Pacific.

As both agencies move forward, their bond will only intensify, Hatch said. Looking ahead, OSI and AFP will aim to combat transnational crimes, deter malign activities, and protect shared personnel and resources. 

According to Hatch, this strategic partnership is set to play a pivotal role in maintaining regional peace and security, ensuring that the Indo-Pacific remains free and open.

Founded in 1970 in Suva, Fiji, the PICP is one of the Pacific's oldest regional bodies. According to its website, the PICP’s core purpose is to foster collaboration among Pacific police chiefs, including OSI. 

"Together, we stand united in an effort to enhance safety, security and prosperity across the Blue Pacific,” Hatch said. “OSI’s combined efforts with our Australian counterparts not only signify a bond between agencies, but a shared commitment to a safer world.”