November 16, 2011
Today, Prime Minister Gillard and President Obama announced two new force posture initiatives that will significantly enhance defence cooperation between Australia and the United States.
Coming on the 60th anniversary of the ANZUS Alliance, these initiatives strengthen an already robust partnership that has been an anchor of stability and peace in the Asia-Pacific region. They reflect our enduring and visible commitment to strengthening regional security and will increase interoperability between Australian and U.S. forces.
Starting next year, Australia will welcome the deployment of U.S. Marines to Darwin and Northern Australia, for around six months at a time, where they will conduct exercises and training on a rotational basis with the Australian Defence Force. The initial deployment will consist of a small liaison element and a company of 250 U.S. Marines. The intent in the coming years is to establish a rotational presence of up to a 2,500 person Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF). The U.S. Marines will exercise and train on a rotational basis with the Australian Defence Force in the Northern Territory.
The leaders also agreed to closer cooperation between the Royal Australian Air Force and the U.S. Air Force that will result in increased rotations of U.S. aircraft through northern Australia. This will enhance bilateral collaboration and offer greater opportunities for combined training and exercises. Select equipment and supplies in support of these initiatives will be prepositioned in these locations to facilitate exercises and training. These joint initiatives, which will take place in Australian facilities, are part of an ongoing review of U.S. force posture in the Asia-Pacific region intended to pursue a more geographically distributed, operationally resilient and politically sustainable military presence in this region. They will further enhance the capabilities of both partners by increasing opportunities for combined training, deepening interoperability, and enabling both countries to work together even more effectively to pursue common interests. Moreover, these initiatives will better position both nations to join with other partners to respond in a timely and effective manner to a range of contingencies in the Asia-Pacific, including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.