Operation ASTUTE is the Australian Defence Force's (ADF)'s continuing contribution to the maintenance of peace and stability in East Timor. The operation commenced in 2006 following a request from the Government of East Timor to the Australian Government for the creation of a multi-national security force to assist with stability operations within East Timor.
The force, called the International Stabilisation Force (ISF) in East Timor, has evolved over time and currently consists of about 460 personnel from the Australian (390 personnel) and New Zealand (70 personnel) Defence Forces.
The current rotation of troops is led by Australian Army officer, Colonel Luke Foster, with Royal New Zealand Navy officer, Commander Andrew Nuttall, serving as the Deputy Commander.
The ISF consists of a number of sub-groups, including the Timor-Leste Aviation Group (TLAG), which operates S-70 Australian Army Blackhawk helicopters, and the ANZAC Infantry Company, which comprises Australian and New Zealand infantry soldiers. This ANZAC force is keeping alive the tradition forged on the shores of Gallipoli when Australians and New Zealand soldiers served as a unified force. Other ISF groups include command, logistic, signals and maintenance/repair teams.
The latest rotation of Australian soldiers to the ISF's ANZAC Infantry Company arrived in East Timor in February 2012 for an eight-month deployment. The 160-strong Army Reserve Company has been largely drawn from 4th Brigade, based in Victoria.
The ISF continues to conduct activities in Dili and regional areas focusing primarily on community engagement.