The Marine Rotational Force – Darwin (MRF-D) has departed the Northern Territory after it completed training and high-end exercises to strengthen co-operation between the Australian Defence Force and the US Marine Corps.
Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said this year’s rotation represented the largest and most capable deployment to date.
"This rotation consisted of an initial base force of around 1,700 personnel, and reached the milestone of 2,500 Marines, with additional Marines arriving in Darwin between July and September," Minister Reynolds explained.
To support Australia’s evolving strategic objectives, future MRF-D rotations will focus on increasing regional engagement, deepening interoperability between the ADF and the US Marine Corps, as well as positioning our forces to respond to crises including humanitarian assistance and disaster response.
To support US Force Posture Initiatives activities, Australia and the US will invest around $2 billion on aircraft maintenance, support facilities, fuel storage, accommodation upgrades and upgrades to training areas and ranges.
Minister Reynolds added, "The United States Force Posture Initiatives (USFPI), of which the Marine Rotational Force - Darwin is a key component, demonstrates the strength of the Australia-US alliance and our deep engagement with the Indo-Pacific region."
Announced in November 2011, the USFPI are an extension of Australia’s existing Defence relationship with the US and supports their common interest in promoting regional security and stability.
Through the initiatives, Australia and the US are gaining new opportunities for combined training and improved interoperability between their armed forces. They also provide new opportunities for engagement with regional partners and position both nations to better respond to crises in the region.
The two initiatives are the MRF-D and Enhanced Air Cooperation (EAC), and they are key to broadening and deepening the alliance between Australia and the US.
Senator for Northern Territory, Dr Sam McMahon, said the USFPI continues to provide significant economic benefits for the Top End.
"Around $8 billion will be invested over the next decade in new and upgraded facilities in the Northern Territory," Senator McMahon said.