The first rotation of about 200 US marines has arrived in Australia on a six-month training deployment. A total of 2,500 troops are expected to arrive over the next few years in Darwin to enhance the US’s military presence in the Asia-Pacific.
In November, US President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced plans to expand the US military presence in Australia. The two leaders had agreed to increase bilateral military cooperation and training in this way.
Despite the fact that the US’s final military presence in the country is to grow into a 2,500-person Marine Air Ground Task Force, Australia’s defense minister Stephen Smith insisted Wednesday morning that the marines and their entourage cannot be qualified as a military base.