In a 2012 agreement, the United States said it would pull 9,000 Marines out of Okinawa — 4,000 of whom would go to Guam and 5,000 to Hawaii and on rotations to Australia — as it seeks to ease a long-running standoff over the future of its huge military presence in one of its top Asian allies.
Mr Shear told a special congressional hearing on the South China Sea the deployment of air assets to Australia was in addition to the doubling of US marines bound for Darwin, leaving their current base in Japan. "We will be moving significant numbers of Marines to Hawaii, Guam and Australia," he said. "So we will have a very strong presence, very strong continued posture throughout the region to back our commitments to our allies, to protect and work with our partners and to continue ensuring peace and stability in the region.
The rotation follows speculation the growing US military presence in Darwin could cause tensions with China. Lt Col Dougherty would not comment on what impact another rotation of US Marines would have on relations with China. Last year for the first time Chinese soldiers trained on Australian soil with the Australian Army and US Marines, but Lt Col Dougherty said no training was planned with China on this rotation. He said the Marines were keen to start sporting teams, including trying their hand at rugby union.
the Pentagon’s still rewriting its Guam plan. The original goal was to relocate 8,600 Marines and 9,000 dependents from Okinawa to Guam by 2014, but disagreements over cost-sharing with the Japanese led the Defense Department to scale the move down to 5,000 Marines and 1,300 dependents.