Marine Rotational Force – Darwin 2020 has been postponed because of the ongoing restrictions associated with COVID-19.
FILE PHOTO (August 2019): Two United States Marine Rotational Force – Darwin MV-22 Osprey take off during Exercise Koolendong at Mount Bundey Training Area. Photo by Private Nicole Dorrett.
This news was announced in The Marine Corps Times 10 days ago, but only released by our Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds this afternoon.
Minister Reynolds said that after careful deliberation, the government had decided not to proceed with the rotation.
“Australia will work with the United States to devise options for a possible later deployment, subject to conditions improving and the viability of such a deployment proceeding,” Minister Reynolds said.
According to the World Health Organisation, the United States is currently the most infected country in the world, with more than 103,000 confirmed cases and more than 1600 deaths.
As of three days ago, the US Marine Corps was reporting they had 44 active-duty Marines infected.
Minister Reynolds said that any decision in relation to the 2020 MRF-D in no way affected Australia’s commitment to host next year’s, or subsequent, MRF-D rotations.
“I remain fully engaged with Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner on this matter,” Minister Reynolds said.
“I have also reiterated to Chief Minister Gunner that the Morrison Government is committed to supporting Australian defence industry during this difficult time, including businesses in the Northern Territory.
“Australia and the United States remain firmly committed to the benefits to regional security that the MRF-D brings.
“Our ability to host such deployments, alongside the unmatched degree of interoperability we enjoy, is clear testimony to the enduring strength and sense of purpose of the Australia-US Alliance.”
Story and headline updated to remove CONTACT’s assumption that MRF-D 2020 could possibly be ‘cancelled’.