A spokesman for the U.S. Navy's Seventh Fleet in Yokosuka, the Fitzgerald's home port, said he was unable to comment on an ongoing investigation.
Speaking of Talisman Saber’s symbolic value, Harris told reporters, "I’m pleased about that message it sends to our friends, allies, partners and potential adversaries … I think this demonstrates the importance of alliances in general and the value of this alliance in particular." On Wednesday, the commander made his third trip to Australia in roughly half a year, telling an audience at Brisbane’s Australian Strategic Policy Institute that Washington takes its relationship with Australia seriously, and that the alliance between the two countries could help stop the spread of jihadist extremist groups. Australia is a global leader in the fight against Daesh, he pointed out.
The visiting US general warned that Australia's neighbours would need assistance if they were to successfully stop the threat posed by IS-inspired militants. "I think the potential for it to spread is there, we should not underestimate it," he cautioned. "It's a different kind of a threat than North Korea but it's also a threat that moves in order to survive — it doesn't own a state so it's mobile.
A $30-MILLION upgrade of aircraft facilities in Darwin forms part of the first projects outlined by the US Force Posture Initiative.
The forward work projects involve improving the aircraft maintenance facility and expanding the aircraft parking apron at RAAF Darwin.
More than 200 Territory business were guided through the procurement system of the United States Navy by a team from the Hawaii-based Naval Facilities Engineering Command. NAVFAC is the US Department of Defence organisation responsible for the delivery and management of US-funded military construction projects in Australia. Around $1 billion is expected to be spent as part of the joint Force Posture Initiative, which involves the basing of a 2500 rotational US marine force and a significant air support.
Department of Business chief executive Michael Tennant opened the day telling the group the day was about learning how to engage with the US Department of Defence.
“Today won’t be focused on specific projects, these details will be made available in future briefings,” he said.
“Today is all about working with the US procurement system and follows the event held in late 2016."
To benefit from these opportunities, industry must be prepared to invest the time necessary to learn how to engage in the US procurement system, to gain the necessary accreditations, meet the required Australian and US standards, and follow the processes and procedures required by US Defence or their prime contractors.
“It also requires thinking about how NT businesses might partner with other businesses to grow capability and capacity.”
An Australian Defence economic impact assessment released in 2013 estimated that the rotational deployment of just 1100 Marines would increase Gross State Product by $5.6 million in 2014.
US warships could soon become a more familiar sight in Darwin Harbour.
US Senate armed services committee chair John McCain has put a stronger US and Australian naval presence to the north of Australia firmly on his agenda during his coming visit to Australia.
Darwin and Perth have traditionally been ports of call for US warships when operating in the Pacific.
Senator McCain, who will meet with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, will lay on the table the strategy behind Donald Trump’s Asia-Pacific plan to combat China’s behaviour in the South China Sea and how a heavier US and Australian naval presence in the region would achieve “peace through strength” in the region.
He said the US was developing strategies for the Asia-Pacific region which he thought would have a lot to do with future strategic co-operation with Australia.
“I think Australia could play a key role, particularly since we are witnessing a very large investment in an expanded US navy in the decade ahead,” Mr McCain said.
Mr McCain’s comments on an increase in naval forces in the region comes at the same time the US has beefed up its military strength in Darwin. The US has just sent to Darwin the sixth and most complex US marine air ground task force to be deployed to the Territory. Along with 1250 battle ready marines it has a large aviation combat element.