The Australian Government and the U.S. have agreed to allow a contingent of 1,150 Marines to train near Darwin, Australia in 2014, according to Aussie Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
The Marines will be part of a six-month rotation of troops that will be based at Robertson Barracks near Darwin that also include a 130 Marine aviation detachment with four helicopters based at Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin, according to a Friday statement from Gillard’s office.
The Marine rotation was announced in 2011 and by 2016 will grow to a 2,500 Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) which will train in the northern part of the country during its so-called dry season.
The first rotation of 200 Marines occurred last year from April to September. The second set of Marines arrived in April.
“These six month rotations will better position both nations to join with other regional partners to respond in a timely and effective manner to a range of contingencies in the Indo-Pacific, including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief,” read the Friday statement.
“Progressing to this larger six month rotation will provide the Australian Defence Force (ADF) with increased opportunities for combined training and deepening interoperability.”
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The training for U.S. Marines are part of the Pentagon’s so-called rebalance or pivot to the Pacific. Though based near Darwin for training, the Marines will not be a permanent fixture at Robertson Barracks. In 2012 Lt. Gen. Richard Mills, commander Marine Corps Combat Development Command in Quantico, Va. said the move was to support the Australians in developing a more robust amphibious warfare capability.
“The Australians have indicated a desire to get into the amphibious business and they want to train with us,” Lt. Gen. Mills said.
The foot print for the Marines will be relatively light and there are no immediate plans to build a permanent U.S. installation near Darwin.