The United States Force Posture Initiatives (USFPI) – which comprises Marine Rotational Force-Darwin (MRF-D) and Enhanced Air Cooperation (EAC) – are an extension of Australia’s existing Defence alliance with the United States (US). The objectives of the Initiatives are to improve interoperability between Australian and US armed forces, provide opportunities to engage with partners in the Indo-Pacific, promote regional stability, and better posture both nations to respond to contingencies such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.
Last year marked the 10th Anniversary of the announcement of the USFPI, incorporating the 10th rotation of MRF-D and the 5th year of the EAC Initiative. The 70th anniversary of the signing of the ANZUS Treaty was also celebrated on 1 September 2021. The Australia-US Alliance has never been more important as we look ahead to our strategic challenges.
Since the initial announcement of the USFPI, our combined efforts in the region have matured. Relationships in Asia and the Pacific have strengthened and the Initiatives have grown in scope and complexity. The presence of ADF and US forces participating in the initiatives also contribute economic benefits to local economies in Northern Australia. Local industry has successfully won both Australian and US funded contracts for USFPI through competitive processes.
Local communities have also benefited from US Marines volunteering, conducting school visits and hosting community days.
Australia’s alliance with the US is our most important Defence relationship and central to Australia’s strategic and security arrangements. The Initiatives are a key component of this alliance.
The MRF-D is an annual rotation of US Marines through Darwin during the dry season, along with vehicles, equipment and aviation capabilities.
The EAC builds on the broad range of combined air exercises and training activities already undertaken between the US and Australia to better integrate both militaries.
Both the Australian and US governments have agreed to invest in a range of infrastructure and supporting arrangements to implement the Initiatives. The economic benefits of the Initiatives include infrastructure projects and spending associated with supporting and maintaining infrastructure, facilities and equipment.
At AUSMIN last year, the Secretaries and Ministers endorsed the following areas of force posture cooperation: