The advance party for this year’s rotation of United States Marines have arrived in the Northern Territory.
CAPTION: Members of the United States Marine Corps arrive at RAAF Base Darwin as part of the 12th iteration of the Marine Rotational Force – Darwin. Photo by Leading Seaman Jarrod Mulvihill.
This is the 12th iteration of Marine Rotational Force – Darwin (MRF-D).
Over the next seven months, up to 2500 Marines will conduct combined training exercises with their Australian Defence Force counterparts, as well as with regional partner nations.
The rotation will enhance the capabilities, interoperability and readiness of the ADF and the United States Marine Corps and is a significant part of the United States Force Posture Initiatives, a hallmark of Australia’s Alliance with the US.
For more than a decade, cooperation under the Force Posture Initiatives has enhanced ADF capacity.
Since its establishment in 2011, the MRF-D has expanded from an initial 200 Marines to more than 10 times that size each year.
The Force Posture Initiatives have also since expanded to include cooperation across the air, maritime, land and logistics domains.
Government last week announced an expansion of the Force Posture Initiatives in the submarine domain as well, with the commencement of the Submarine Rotational Force – West, which will see US nuclear-powered submarines rotate through HMAS Stirling beginning from 2027.
The current MRF-D will remain in Australia until October 2023.
Defence Minister Richard Marles said the US was our most vital security partner and the strength of our alliance highlights our joint commitment to promoting a secure, stable and inclusive Indo-Pacific.
“Our cooperation with the US has been instrumental to enhancing the capability and interoperability of both nations through joint exercises and activities,” Mr Marles said.
“Australia/US force-posture cooperation will continue to offer significant investment into Australia, including opportunities for Australian industry.”
Commanding Officer Marine Rotational Force – Darwin 2023 Colonel Brendan Sullivan said the visitors were honoured to extend the legacy of the US-Australian Alliance, working side-by-side with the ADF to provide support for contingencies and crises in the region.
“Our team is postured and ready to advance shared goals, demonstrate the strength and endurance of our alliance, and contribute to regional security and partnerships,” Colonel Sullivan said.
Commanding Officer Headquarters Northern Command Captain Mitchell Livingstone said having the Marine rotation in the Top End not only helped build interoperability between the ADF and the US, but also served to increase regional cooperation with partner nations in the Indo-Pacific.
“Over the next six months, the ADF and USMC will conduct a comprehensive range of training activities including humanitarian assistance, security operations and high-end live-fire exercises, all of which better prepare our forces to respond effectively to contingencies that may arise.”