The Australian government is introducing new laws to prevent ex-military personnel from training or providing secrets to foreign entities without explicit permission from the government, according to Defence Minister Richard Marles. This comes after two Australian-based former pilots (one from the United States and the other from Britain) were investigated for training Chinese fighter pilots.
Marles said the government will pursue additional legislation to ensure that the Australian Defence Force (ADF) is aware of the full scope of secrets they must keep confidential. He also noted that the ADF has been warned of the expectations regarding classified information.
In response to reports of Chinese spy balloons being flown over North America, Marles said the ADF has the capability to track any such devices in Australia.
In October, the UK Ministry of Defence issued an intelligence alert about 30 ex-fighter pilots who were alleged to have trained members of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force. Meanwhile, Keith Hartley, a South Australian-based pilot, was being investigated for his role as the chief operating officer of the Test Flying Academy of South Africa, which British authorities warned could be an intermediary for Beijing to recruit pilots. Hartley’s home was raided late last year by police.
Daniel Edmund Duggan, who holds both U.S. and Australian citizenship, was arrested in October in New South Wales. U.S. authorities allege that Duggan violated the Arms Export Control Act by training Chinese military pilots to land on aircraft carriers on three separate occasions in 2010 and 2012.
Victoria Kelly-Clark contributed to this article.