USA military plans upgrades to Australian bases, greater aircraft and troop presence, as it confronts rising China

The Biden administration has released some details of its global posture review, but the Pentagon document overseen by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will remain largely classified.

"In Australia, you'll see new rotational fighter and bomber aircraft deployments, you'll see ground forces training and increased logistics cooperation," US Under Secretary of Defense Mara Karlin told reporters.

"More broadly across the Indo-Pacific, you'll see a range of infrastructure improvements in Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Australia."

Dr Karlin added that the Indo-Pacific region was a major focus of the assessment, because of Mr Austin's emphasis on "China as the pacing challenge" for the department.

Earlier this year, the ABC revealed senior American and Australian officials had discussed options for expanded military cooperation, including a proposal to form a new joint US marines and ADF training brigade based in Darwin.

Pentagon to build up US bases in Guam and Australia to meet China challenge

The Pentagon will focus on building up bases in Guam and Australia to better prepare the US military to counter China, a senior defense official said on Monday.

To counter China, the review directs the Department to enhance "infrastructure in Guam and Australia," and to prioritize "military construction across the Pacific Islands," the official said, as well as "seeking greater regional access for military partnership activities."

"In Australia, you'll see new rotational fighter and bomber aircraft deployments, you'll see ground forces training and increased logistics cooperation, and more broadly across the Indo-Pacific, you'll see a range of infrastructure improvements, in Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Australia," Karlin said during the briefing.

The review also did not include "functional capabilities" like nuclear, space and cyber, because those are being addressed in other Department specific reviews, the official said.

USA to send bombers and fighter aircraft to Australia to counter China

A Pentagon review of the US’s military resources also called for an upgrade of its bases in Guam and Australia to counter Beijing’s military buildup in the Indo-Pacific.

The Pentagon has been directed to enhance its “infrastructure in Guam and Australia” and to prioritise “military construction across the Pacific islands”.

“In Australia, you’ll see new rotational fighter and bomber aircraft deployments,” said Mara Karlin, deputy under secretary for policy at the US’s Department of Defence.

“You’ll see ground forces training and increased logistics cooperation, and more broadly across the Indo-Pacific, you’ll see a range of infrastructure improvements, in Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Australia.”

The additional rotations of aircraft in Australia, first flagged when Defence Minister Peter Dutton and Foreign Minister Marise Payne travelled to Washington in September, is confirmation the USA is going ahead with the plan as a key pillar in its more forceful defence posture to deter against a rising China.

AUKUS: Australia, USA military ‘melded like never before’: US adviser

President Biden’s top adviser for Asia, Dr Kurt Campbell, has said he expects the US and Australia military to become “melded” together in a way unimaginable twenty years ago, as the AUKUS security pact comes to fruition.

Dr Campbell said the AUKUS pact “tied Australia more deeply to us”, and both Australia and the UK had made “a fundamental strategic choice to work with the US” in the Indo-Pacific.

“High level” teams in the US, Australia and UK were working on “doing whatever possible to provide the Royal Australian Navy with options to build nuclear subs as rapidly as possible”, Dr Campbell said.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmBRgv7WnYU

AUKUS partners sign tech-sharing agreement

Minister for Defence Peter Dutton and representatives from the United Kingdom and the United States this morning (22 November) signed a legally-binding treaty to grant Australia access to advanced nuclear technology under the AUKUS agreement.

The treaty establishes a framework for the disclosure and use of information related to naval nuclear propulsion, supporting the local development of at least eight nuclear-powered submarines for the Royal Australian Navy.

The agreement also aims to develop the skills necessary to establish a best practice regulatory and safety regime, ensuring Australia complies with its international obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

“There are plenty of others who don't want to see this go ahead, I think that tells you why it's so important that we do.”