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Australia and New Zealand have an alliance relationship. The two defence forces have had the closest of relationships since the shared Gallipoli campaign of the First World War, and fought alongside each other in all major conflicts of the 20th century.
New Zealand and Australia shared an alliance relationship with the United States (ANZUS) from the end of WW2 until the mid-1980s. The end of ANZUS as a tripartite alliance led Australia and New Zealand to embark on a process known as Closer Defence Relations (CDR). CDR is not a formal treaty, but a broad arrangement that spans and brings together a large number of agreements and arrangements including on policy, intelligence and security, logistics, and science and technology.
A major focus of CDR since the early 1990s has been on maximising force interoperability. The emphasis has been on intelligence sharing, harmonising equipment purchases and force structure, and a range of joint activities including doctrine development, planning exercises and exchanges.
There is significant operational collaboration between the two defence forces, which have engaged together in recent years in operations in Timor Leste, Bougainville, Solomon Islands and Tonga.
In their annual meetings, Defence Ministers have focused particularly on areas in which New Zealand and Australia troops are deployed, on the security challenges facing the immediate region, and on opportunities for increased cooperation. They have encouraged regional cooperation in countering terrorist activity, and have emphasised the importance of timely coordinated and effective responses on the part of the Australian and New Zealand defence forces.
Following their most recent formal talks in September 2009, Defence Ministers issued a statement outlining ANZAC defence initiatives:
The following links contain further information on ANZAC culture and history: