As tensions grow with China, thousands of American soldiers are heading to Australia to use surface-to-air missile systems, high mobility artillery rockets and crewless aircraft.
During the upcoming dry season of September to December, a rotational force of about 2200 US Marines will be based in the Northern Territory.
ADF announced today that 250 US Army personnel would be deployed for the first time to the Top End, marking the 11th deployment there.
As part of ongoing US initiatives in the Indo-Pacific region, the contingent acts as a deterrent if China invades Taiwan.
As the world is preoccupied with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Defence Minister Peter Dutton warned in September that conflict with China ‘shouldn’t be discounted. On Wednesday, Dutton also told the US Studies Centre Beijing might look to annexe Taiwan.
The deployment of marine forces will complement the Enhanced Air Co-operation program between the Royal Australian Air Force and the United States Air Force.
Approximately 1000 Marines have already landed in Darwin.
United States Will Deploy Thousands of Troops in Australia Amid China Tensions
Training with the ADF will ensure they can respond to crises in the region.
Those could be humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, evacuation missions, and re-enforcing US embassies and military operations.
A strategic stepping-off point, Darwin is located just south of more than a dozen Asian countries and some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.
During the training, US and Australian forces will engage in live-fire military exercises to improve cohesion between them and other regional allies.
Colonel Marcus Constable, commander of Australia’s northern force, said that the US alliance was Australia’s most important defence partnership and central to the nation’s security strategy.
He cited the Marine rotational force as an important means of increasing regional cooperation with Indo-Pacific partners.
‘We carry out training activities together, such as humanitarian assistance, security operations, and high-level live shooting exercises.’
Marines from southern California are eager to contribute to regional security, said Colonel Christopher Steele, USMC commander in Darwin.
In October, the rotation should be completed by the Marines.
Mr Dutton has warned that ‘credible military force’ could be used to prevent the spread of authoritarianism in the Indo-Pacific.
Mr Dutton, in his speech to the United States Studies Centre, warned of ‘ominous signs’ arising from a Chinese-Russian alliance, saying Australia and the US would take action to shape the Indo-Pacific around mutual interests.
He said that our commitment to regional stability is in sync with Australia and the United States.
Australia admits war with China is possible over Taiwan
Chinese officials have been very clear about their intentions regarding Taiwan, as have the United States,’ he added. Everyone wants to avoid conflict, but the Chinese should answer that question.
Taiwan will be reunified with China shortly, and Xi Jinping has pledged that force will be used if necessary. Meanwhile, Joe Biden declared he would defend the island if it were attacked – though later officials retracted his statement and asserted that America’s policy of ‘strategic ambiguity’ remains in place.
Despite Beijing’s fury over the submarine pact, Mr Dutton issued the grim warning. At the same time, unnamed military sources warned that Australia could face a nuclear strike from subs equipped with nuclear power.
A day after signing a historic defence pact with the UK and US, Australia’s defence minister conceded that war with China over Taiwan is possible.
From Washington, where he met US officials, Peter Dutton said the new alliance would provide Australia with eight nuclear submarines and other advanced military technology. Still, the risk of a conflict with China ‘should not be discounted’.