Push to boost number of US marines in the Top End

Defence Minister Peter Dutton wants to bolster US marine numbers in the Top End beyond 2500, declaring the nation’s security depends on even closer military ties with our closest ally.

Mr Dutton told the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s annual conference in Canberra yesterday Australia was working to take greater responsibility for its own security, but needed to “become an even more reliable alliance partner” to the US.

He said there was scope to increase the size of the US marine rotational force in the Top End from its 2500-strong pre-Covid high.

Chief Minster Michael Gunner has indicated he’s open to working with the Commonwealth and US governments on the issue.

“I think most Territorians know about the Bombing of Darwin and that young Americans died here that day too, defending this place that we call home."

Australia could soon host more US marines in Darwin

Australia could soon be hosting more US marines and warships with Defence Minister Peter Dutton declaring he wants even greater military cooperation with our closest ally.

Senior officials from both nations are discussing options for expanded military cooperation, which the ABC has learnt include a proposal to form a new joint US marines and ADF training brigade based in Darwin.

If established, the joint brigade would be the first of its kind for Australia and would likely involve a rotating command with the United States.

Mr Dutton agreed there was scope to increase the size of the US marine rotational force in the Top End from its pre-COVID level of 2,500, and to base US navy vessels at HMAS Stirling near Perth. acting US ambassador Michael Goldman declined to comment on whether more American marines could soon be heading to Australia.

Japanese troops join US, Aust forces in Darwin for military exercises

JAPANESE troops have arrived in Darwin ahead of the trilateral Exercise Southern Jackaroo 2021, joining US Marines already undertaking training in the region.

The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) soldiers will join their counterparts from Australia and the United States for the exercise in the Northern Territory June 15-25.

“The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force and the Marine Rotational Force – Darwin will bring more equipment this year, allowing for a more complex exercise to advance our ability to work together,” Lieutenant General Burr said.

US eyes Top End military build-up to combat China threat

The US wants to store munitions and defence equipment in Australia’s Top End under a bilateral force posture review to better prepare the ANZUS allies for growing strategic threats from China.

Mr Goldman said geostrategic tensions required a more “innovative defence partnership” between Australia and the US, including co-production of precision-guided weapons on Australian soil.

He said a bilateral force posture review working group, established following last year’s AUSMIN talks, had met for the first time ­earlier this month to discuss “a wide range of contingencies”.

Mr Goldman said it was too early to provide details on any new initiatives, but said pre-positioning US weapons in Australia offered strategic advantages.

Mr Goldman’s comments follow the US government’s announcement last year of a $15m contract to build an earth-covered weapons magazine and munitions conveyor at RAAF Base Tindal, south of Darwin, as well as upgraded fuel storages.

Australia risks China's wrath over US missiles plan

Australia should brace for a strong response by China after reports the Federal Government was in talks about strengthening US military capability in the Northern Territory, an expert has warned.

"Australia should expect a large amount of rhetoric from state-backed media or a foreign ministry spokesman," Dr Coyne said.

Acting US ­ambassador to Australia Mike Goldman said the closer links "just makes sense" in light of the "new geostrategic context" in the Asia Pacific region.