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United States Force Posture Initiatives

Highlights of the USFPI

The Commanding General of US Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, Lieutenant General Terry Robling, will visit Robertson Barracks on Tuesday, 22 April 2014 to meet Marines currently deployed with the Marine Rotational Force – Darwin
“Defence will continue to strengthen its engagement with Australia’s international partners in support of shared regional security interests and will continue to deepen Australia’s alliance with the United States.”
2020 Defence Strategic Update, p.7

A key component of the Australia-US Alliance is the United States Force Posture Initiatives (the Initiatives), comprising the Marine Rotational Force – Darwin and the Enhanced Air Cooperation (EAC). The Initiatives provide a tangible demonstration of the strength of the Australia-US Alliance and Australia’s deep engagement with the Indo-Pacific region.

They provide security, economic and community benefits for Australia and the US by:

  • deepening interoperability and enhancing capabilities through increased combined training and exercises,
  • increasing our engagement with regional partners in the Indo Pacific,
  • better positioning both nations to respond to crises in the region, including Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief,
  • generating economic, industry and community benefits for Northern Australia through infrastructure investment and the provision of support services, and
  • building a strong community presence through an array of activities including volunteering, community and school visits.
2011: Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and US President Barack Obama announce two force posture initiatives to enhance defence cooperation. 2012: The first Marine Rotational Force is deployed to Darwin, Northern Territory. Economic assessment of the rotations of 200-250 US Marines is released. 2013: Marine Rotational Force-Darwin training extends to Bradshaw Field Training Area for the first time. Economic and social impact assessments of the Marine Rotational Force-Darwin are released. 2014: The Force Posture Agreement is signed at Australia-IS Ministerial Consultations. 2015: Australia and the US Force Posture Agreement enters into force. 2016: Cost sharing negotiations between Australia and the US conclude. 2017: Enhanced Air Cooperation activities commence as part of the Initiatives. Australia and the US exercise as a combined force to provide humanitarian and disaster relief assistance to a remote location for the first time. Representatives from Australia and the US host the first bilateral industry date in Darwin. 2018: Three USAF B-52 aircraft are hosted in Darwin as part of Enhanced Air Cooperation activities. 2019: The Marine Rotational Force-Darwin 2019 rotation consisted of a base force of around 1,700 personnel and reached the milestone of around 2,500 US Marines through the arrival of a force enhancement from July to September 2019. A Socio-Economic Impact Assessment of the Initiatives is released. A High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) platoon is included in Exercise Koolendong for the first time. A cross-servicing arrangement for the repair and maintenance of C-17A Globemaster transport aircraft is agreed by Australia and the US. C-17A cross-servicing activities occur, including during Exercise Talisman Sabre. Air-to-air refuelling certification for F-16D and F-22 aircraft is achieved. Aeromedical evacuation certification for United States Air Force C-130J is achieved.
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