U.S. Boosts Military Presence Down Under with Reinforcements

United States Marines exit a V-22 Osprey aircraft to provide security of a airfield, as pa
CAPT Carla Armenti/ADF

The U.S. Department of Defence confirmed the deployment Monday of thousands of reinforcements to Northern Australia against a backdrop of heightened regional tensions with China across the Indo-Pacific region.

The estimated 2,200 soldiers which includes 1000 marines – with the 11th deployment consisting of 250 U.S. army personnel – will train in the city of Darwin, the capital of Australia’s Northern Territory.

Darwin is one of the closest parts of Australia to Asia, as well as some of the world’s most popular shipping lanes, which makes it a tactical position for the U.S. forces to help maintain stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

Alongside preparing for combat, the U.S. military will be training Australian soldiers in the Australian Defence Force so they are ready to respond to situations from shooting down hostile aircraft to engaging in humanitarian assistance or disaster relief, 7 News reports.

“It is an honor to build upon the continuing legacy of the outstanding U.S.-Australian alliance and AUKUS agreement”, the force’s commander, Colonel Chris Steele, said.

AUKUS is an “enhanced trilateral security partnership” between the United States, United Kingdom and Australia that seeks to ensure mutual cooperation towards foreign policy in the Indo-Pacific region.

“We are excited to … integrate two highly capable and interoperable forces that advance our shared goals, demonstrate the strength and endurance of our alliance, and contribute to regional security”, Steele continued.

The Associated Press

In this June 29, 2017 file photo U.S. Marine MV-22B Osprey aircraft land on the deck of the USS Bonhomme Richard amphibious assault ship off the coast from Sydney during events marking the start of Talisman Saber 2017, a biennial joint military exercise between the United States and Australia. (Jason Reed/Pool Photo via AP, File)

The marines are scheduled to complete their rotation at Darwin in October.

One of the main drivers behind the deployment however is to deter China from invading Taiwan, with China seeing Taiwan as an extension of their communist nation, and even China’s President Xi Jinping publicly saying that “reunification” with Taiwan “must be fulfilled”.

Taiwan seeks to maintain independence from the communist state.

Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton has warned that a military conflict with China “shouldn’t be discounted” in September and on Wednesday reaffirmed this by telling the US Studies Centre that Beijing may capitalise on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and move to occupy Taiwan.

Dutton went on to indirectly warn China “credible military force” would be used against any state that attempted to impose tyranny on the Indo-Pacific region, particularly highlighting what he called “ominous signs” from China and Russia.

“Australia and the United States are in lock-step in our commitment to regional stability” Dutton continued.


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