Call for Australia-US force to check China’s advance

Australia and the US should ­establish a Darwin-based ­amphibious force to co-ordinate efforts in resisting Chinese influence in the region, a retired US Marine Corps colonel says.

The plan would involve about 2000 US troops and up to four US Navy ships stationed close to Darwin Port, which was controversially leased for 99 years in 2015 by a private firm with alleged links to the Chinese government.

wild assertions, zero evidence. Australia faces no such threat; China is not our enemy.

Australian strategic policy expert welcomes potential for US Naval base

Ross Babbage, an Australian strategic policy specialist, has welcomed revelations of a $715 million expansion of naval infrastructure in the Northern Territory, providing an opportunity for further basing of major US Navy units as both nations seek to reorientate their forces to better respond to rising great power competition in the Indo-Pacific.

Since former US president Barrack Obama announced a reinvigorated US presence in the Indo-Pacific as part of the Pacific Pivot in 2013, Darwin has emerged as one of the key focal points for US strategic planners and the Australian Defence Force, as the nation responds to an increasingly assertive China and rapidly evolving economic, political and strategic environment. 

While the broader economic potential of Darwin is heavily under-utilised, the strategic potential of the city is equally under-utilised, particularly given the rise of Indo-Pacific Asia and China – something increasingly recognised by the USA as it seeks to re-position itself in the region. 

US military presence in northern Australia will grow, former defense official says

The military buildup in Australia’s Northern Territory, which included a record number of U.S. Marines rotating there this summer, will continue as a response to growing Chinese capabilities, according to a former Australian defense official.

To support U.S. Air Force and Marine activities in the Northern Territory, Australia and the United States will invest about $2 billion on aircraft maintenance, support facilities, fuel storage and upgrades to accommodations, training areas and ranges.

The buildup in Australia’s Northern Territory will likely involve enhanced air and maritime facilities, Babbage said.

“It won’t only be the Marines,” he said. “It wouldn’t surprise me if the (U.S.) Army said they could send a couple of battalions (on a training rotation). Australia’s answer would be: ‘Of course you can come.’”

US to spend $305 million ramping up military aircraft facilities in Darwin

America has allocated more than quarter of a billion dollars for Osprey aircraft infrastructure in Northern Australia.

The US Defence Department is looking to spend $305.9 million on facilities for their Osprey fleet, Chief Minister Michael Gunner told NT Parliament on Wednesday, while knocking back a suggestion that the money would be spent on a new naval base in Darwin.

"The budget appropriation that is being sought in America is for ramps for the Ospreys in the Northern Territory, not for a naval installation," Mr Gunner said.

"The Ospreys are aircraft vehicles. That is where the money is intended to go."

In July, the ABC revealed that a draft US Congressional bill had $US211.5 million allocated for new "Navy Military Construction" in Darwin, with few other details available.

Mr Gunner said that following these reports, he had reached out to US Secretary of Navy Richard Spencer, to clarify the nature of the spending.

The ABC understands plans for a new commercial port facility were still being discussed.

US plans to spend $300M on Darwin naval facilities

A draft defence bill tabled in the US Senate last month outlines that more than $300 million has been allocated for naval construction in Darwin, the ABC has reported.

The Australian Defence Department reportedly told the ABC that the proposed funding still has to be approved by Congress, but insists that any military projects are negotiated and agreed to by both governments.

Last month Defence and NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner rejected claims a top secret naval port is in the works at Glyde Point, north of Darwin, which could eventually help US Marines operate more readily in the Indo-Pacific.