warfighting exercise across the Top End

US Marines of the Marine Rotational Force-Darwin (MRF-D) and members of the Australian Defence Force from Australian Army’s 1st and 13th Brigade, and Royal Australian Air Force’s 36th, 37th and 75th Squadrons have commenced Exercise Koolendong this week across the Top End.

The three week warfighting exercise is being held at Defence training areas in the Northern Territory and for the first time, in Western Australia to simulate a response to a regional security crisis.

“We are deploying significant forces by land, air and sea to training areas in both WA and the NT including Mount Bundy Training Area, RAAF Base Curtin & Yampi Sound Training Area,” Colonel Steele said.

US increases Darwin drills as PM flags review into strike power

US Marines are stepping up ‘high end’ exercises in the Northern Territory as Anthony Albanese refers a Spanish proposal to build more warships for the navy to a pending review.

The commanding officer of the 2022 Marine Rotational Force in Darwin, Colonel Christopher Steele, revealed a regimental headquarters had been established to support the deployment.

Colonel Steele said the regimental headquarters brought together the Marines’ ground, logistics and aviation combat units under a single commander, offering the deployment greater agility and flexibility to carry out exercises.

“Those things become more than the sum of their parts when you have a command element that can stitch them together,” Colonel Steele told a briefing for Australian journalists.

He said a regimental headquarters expanded co-operation to “high end” exercises.

The deepening engagement of the Marines in the Top End comes as the Albanese government prepares to undertake a review of the ADF’s base locations that will probably recommend building up the military presence in the continent’s north.

SECNAV Visits Innovative Forward-Deployed Marines and Sailors with MRF-D 22

The Honorable Carlos Del Toro, the 78th Secretary of the Navy, visited Marines and Sailors with the Marine Rotational Force-Darwin (MRF-D) on June 18.

“We have a solemn responsibility to be prepared to fight and win wars. I’m so proud to have the Marine Corps here in Australia,” said SECNAV to the Marines and Sailors with the MRF-D aviation combat element, following an update on emerging capabilities of the partnered MAGTF. “This is an advanced capability that is real, and real powerful.”

“You are at the pointy end of the spear out here doing great work.”

“Part of our journey is to train and certify a sea-combat capable headquarters that will integrate naval and joint effects on the adversary in the contested littoral environment,” said the commanding general of the 1st Marine Division, Major General Roger B. Turner Jr.

I MEF CG Visits Darwin to Reinforce MRF-D’s Movement Forward

Lieutenant General George Smith, Commanding General of I Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF), visited the Marine Rotational Force-Darwin (MRF-D) on June 7 - 8.

After ten years of Marine Corps rotations through the Northern Territory, I MEF now serves as the higher headquarters for the MRF-D, and will continue to provide the balance of Marines and Sailors in the coming years. Like the 2022 rotation, I MEF will continue to send standing regimental headquarters to serve as the MAGTF’s command element. This change, as well as several other refinements to the deployed force structure, increased the ability of MRF-D to integrate with the Australian Defence Force (ADF), and other shared regional partners.

" MRF-D is, and must continue to be postured to facilitate operations from humanitarian assistance to high-intensity combat in the region, in support of our allied and partnered nations. A large part of that readiness is nested within the training environment here in the Northern Territory and relationship with the ADF, particularly with 1st Brigade."

As tensions in the Pacific continue to simmer, US marines are ready to deploy from the Northern Territory

The US Marine Corp says this year's deployment to Darwin is the most "combat-credible" group sent yet, as the troops complete a week of intense training on the remote Tiwi Islands.

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute's Dr John Coyne said the increased US presence in northern Australia signalled the region's strategic importance to both countries.

"There's clear evidence the US government is going to invest more in ensuring that supply chains [and] defence logistics facilities are present in northern Australia and ready to support a range of contingencies," he said.

"Forward deployment in Darwin and northern Australia really provides proximity to the region, it provides a capacity [for the US] to leapfrog operations," Dr Coyne said.

"It provides the US military with a forward operating base from which it can launch into the region."