15 August 2014

Marines Go Down Under


The United States will send 2,500 Marines to the Northern Territory of Australia as part of a 25-year deal. 

This story might strike some readers as odd based on the recent decisions made by military and political leaders. The last couple years have featured war-weary media stories on the military drawdown and the ongoing “pivot” to Asia, announced by President Obama as a critical defense policy for the foreseeable future. 

This move is somewhat contrary to the drawdown, but it does provide an essential foothold in the region with one of our country’s closest allies. Australia fought side by side with American forces throughout the ongoing war on terror. What’s more, this move really supports the original role of the Marines. Their mission will be to work in conjunction with the Australian forces, training them on amphibious strategy and landing defense. The two forces will also simulate disaster response techniques, which might prove essential given the trend of earthquakes and typhoons in the region. 

The U.S. will continue building on its relationship with Australia, including expanding joint capabilities based there. Leaders are discussing ways to increase bilateral naval co-operation and to enhance naval training in Australia and around the Asia Pacific region.

Standing with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Australian Minister of Defense David Johnson reiterated how important the increased American presence is to both nations, as well as how happy he is to host the Marines.

Obama’s Asia pivot is possible by encouraging relationships like the one with Australia. It may prove hugely important as North Korea pressures states around it and China expands its own navy. 

On one hand, the military is shrinking to sizes the U.S. has not seen in decades but on the other hand, the military is taking dramatic steps to increase influence around the world. What do you think about this move? What effect does this move have on the mindset of soldiers coping with job insecurity or personnel reductions?  

Join the discussion here on being part of the Australian armed forces. Weigh in on a military drawdown discussion here and connect within the military community.

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