The US military is considering investing more than $211 million into construction in Darwin, Australia, according to the Senate's version of the annual defense legislation.
What that money will build is unknown. The Marine and Navy officials Marine Corps Times reached out to have yet to provide a statement.
Australian outlet ABC News reported that secret planning is underway to develop a new commercial port just outside of Darwin that could eventually be developed to house Australia's landing helicopter dock ships or the US amphibious assault ships that ferry Marines around the globe.
While Australia is one of America's most important military allies in the Pacific, the military construction could cause diplomatic headaches for Australia and sour its relationship with China, which over the years has become more economically intertwined.
"...even our best allies, the Australians, they're with us from a military perspective, but economically they're tied to China," Maj. Gen. Daniel Yoo, the commander of the Marine Raiders, told Marine Corps Times in an interview during a May special operations conference in Tampa, Florida.
"And so they have a problem internal to their own country as far as there's some that feel they should be closer to China, because their economic health is dependent upon it."
Congress may review the Corps' plan to redistribute its forces across the Pacific.