Thousands of US troops will shift to Asia-Pacific to guard against China

Facing what a Trump administration official recently called "the most significant geopolitical challenge since the end of the Cold War" in the Indo-Pacific theater, the U.S. military will embark on a realignment of its global posture.

Several thousand of the troops currently posted in Germany are expected to redeploy to American bases in Guam, Hawaii, Alaska, Japan and Australia.

The 9,500 who are leaving will be reassigned elsewhere in Europe, redeployed to the Indo-Pacific region, or sent back to bases in the U.S.

Australia cancels Darwin wharf and air-to-air refuellers under $270bn defence overhaul

The Australian government has cancelled a number of defence projects – including a “roll-on, roll-off wharf” in Darwin and new air-to-air refuellers – as it sharpens the military’s focus on deterring threats in an increasingly uncertain Indo-Pacific region.

The force structure plan reveals the government is dumping several proposals that were included in the 2016 white paper but “are no longer required”.

These include a roll-on, roll-off wharf in Darwin to load heavy vehicles and cargo on to Australia’s two Canberra-class amphibious ships.

It has also scrapped the “northern advanced joint training area” – a proposal for a site for large-scale, joint and combined amphibious training exercises and a potential rail link to RAAF Base Tindal, near Katherine in the Northern Territory, to transport explosive ordnance and bulk fuel.

But the government says it will still meet a pledge to invest $8bn in northern Australia over 10 years.

The US military has big plans for Australia — and that might be a big problem for China

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.

Troops practice island-seizing in the Pacific amid US-China tensions

Marines, airmen and soldiers recently practiced seizing a small Japanese island in an exercise that honed skills some experts say may be necessary in a face-off against China.

This entire mission profile simulated the process of securing advanced footholds for follow-on forces to conduct further military operations with rapid redeployment.

It kicked off with a free-fall jump onto Japan’s Ie Jima Island for reconnaissance and surveillance before 1st Battalion, 4th Marines “conducted a 600-mile long-range raid” to seize an airfield on the island.

This kind of approach could be necessary should the U.S. need to face-off against China, said American defense and security analyst Paul Buchanan: “I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the Marines are engaging in these sorts of exercises because that’s exactly the combat environment that they’re most likely to find themselves in, at least in the near future,”

No guarantee Trump trade war deal won't hurt Australian exporters: US envoy

While South Korea and the US have signed a new deal to increase Seoul's contribution to the cost of deploying US troops, addressing one of Mr Trump's frequent criticisms that allies were freeloading off the back of the US military machine, Mr Culvahouse indicated it was unlikely similar demands would be made of Australia on the deployment of 2500 Marines in Darwin.

New US ambassador to Australia Arthur B. Culvahouse has also criticised China's "pay day loans" to impoverished Pacific nations as he arrives in Canberra.

gimme loans over bombs any day.