United States Marines from the 10th Marine Rotational Force – Darwin (MRF-D) will soon begin arriving in Darwin.
FILE PHOTO (2020): The first plane-load of Marine Rotational Force-Darwin Rotation 9 marines are greeted by biosecurity officers at RAAF Base Darwin. US Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Natalie Greenwood.
They will be the first group arriving in the Northern Territory over the next five months.
Each group to arrive will be between 200-500 personnel, building to total of around 2200 personnel in Darwin by June.
The procedures for managing the MRF-D’s arrival, quarantine and possible cases of COVID-19 have been developed and agreed in full consultation with NT Health authorities.
MRF-D will be required to strictly adhere to all Australian government requirements to mitigate the risk of COVID-19, including;
- a comprehensive COVID-19 risk management plan, agreed to by the Northern Territory Chief Health Officer;
- all US personnel undergoing COVID-19 testing within 72 hours of departure for Australia and presenting a negative result before boarding;
- all US personnel completing mandatory 14-day quarantine, including COVID-19 testing on arrival in Australia and again before exiting quarantine; and,
- MRF-D and ADF medical personnel monitoring the health of personnel.
To accommodate the US Marines this year, MRF-D has leased a secure facility outside Darwin for the majority of personnel to complete the mandatory 14-day quarantine, however, the first two groups will quarantine in isolated accommodation on an ADF base.
The use of the leased facility and Defence base will ensure MRF-D’s arrival has no impact on repatriating Australians from overseas.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the rotation would build on the success of last year’s modified deployment.
“The ability for this year’s MRF-D to go ahead under challenging global circumstances, is a testament to the endurance and adaptability of the Australia-US Alliance,” Minister Reynolds said.
“This annual rotation demonstrates Australia’s and the United States’ commitment to
Indo-Pacific stability and security.
“MRF-D and ADF will conduct a comprehensive range of training activities, including humanitarian assistance, security operations and high-end live-fire exercises.
“COVID-19 permitting, the ADF and MRF-D will also train with partner countries throughout the year, including exercise Talisman Sabre.
“These opportunities are a priority for the US Force Posture Initiatives, developing people-to-people links, interoperability and the sharing of expertise.”
Minister Reynolds said this year marked 10 years since the United States Force Posture Initiatives were announced by Australia and the United States, and 70 years of the ANZUS treaty.
“During my discussions with US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin last week, I conveyed that my focus for this year included progressing bilateral force posture initiatives,” Minister Reynolds said.