Inquiry Officer’s report into the death of Private Nathan Bewes
26 October 2011
The Vice Chief of the Defence Force, Air Marshal Mark Binskin, today released the Inquiry Officer’s report into the death of Private Nathan Bewes who was killed on operations in Afghanistan on 9 July 2010.
Private Bewes was a member of the 1st Mentoring Task Force. He and other members of a foot patrol had completed their mission and were returning to their base in the North Baluchi Valley, Uruzgan Province, when an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) detonated, killing Private Bewes.
The short-notice Australian-only patrol was conducted in response to an aggressive insurgent attack on an Afghan National Army patrol that had taken place the same morning.
The Inquiry Officer made four recommendations in his report:
• The first recommendation was that all temporary replacements of key command positions be more carefully managed and that comprehensive handover/takeovers be conducted.
• The second recommendation related to ADF tactics, techniques and procedures and has been redacted for operational security reasons.
• The third recommendation called for a review to be conducted into the authorisation process for members participating in patrols
• The Inquiry Officer’s fourth recommendation was that a Commission of Inquiry into this incident was not warranted.
The Chief of the Defence Force accepted all four of the Inquiry Officer’s recommendations and they are being implemented.
In addition to the review on authorisation processes, a Standing Instruction has been issued that clarifies command and control arrangements and guidance for participation in patrols in the Middle East.
As well as providing recommendations, the Inquiry Officer also commented on a number of matters that did not have a direct bearing on the death of Private Bewes.
A redacted version of the Inquiry Officer’s report is available on the Defence website. The report has been redacted in order to preserve operational security and protect Australian Defence Force’s tactics, techniques and procedures in dealing with the lethal threat of IEDs.
For further information:
A transcript of Air Marshal Binskin’s speech is available at http://www.defence.gov.au/media/index.cfm under Departmental Transcripts.
A redacted version of the Inquiry Officer report is available at: http://www.defence.gov.au/coi/index.htm.
Defence Media Operations: 02 6127 1999