Stephen Smith MP
Minister for Defence
Today in Perth I met with the Commander of the United States Pacific Command, Admiral Robert Willard, who is in Australia at the invitation of the Australian Government.
Together we visited HMAS Stirling.
The Australia US Alliance remains the bedrock of our strategic, security and defence arrangements.
Admiral Willard’s visit provided an opportunity to discuss strategic, security and military cooperation.
Today Admiral Willard and I discussed recent developments in our region, including the very concerning events on the Korean peninsula.
We also discussed the US Force Posture Review and I reiterated Australia’s continuing support for a strong US presence in the Asia Pacific region.
Admiral Willard's visit follows the recent AUSMIN consultations on 8 November, during which Secretary Gates and I discussed the importance of the US Force Posture Review.
This Review seeks to ensure that the US global posture has the flexibility and versatility to address a broad spectrum of military requirements across the world, but it is also about US Force Posture in the Asia Pacific Region.
Given Australia’s interest in the Review, Secretary Gates and I agreed at AUSMIN to establish a joint working group on force posture to discuss possible opportunities for enhanced bilateral defence cooperation between our two countries.
The first working group meeting will follow Admiral Willard's visit. It will be in Canberra on 13-14 December.
While in Australia Admiral Willard has visited a number of key Defence establishments this week, including RAAF Tindal, Robertson Barracks, Larrakeyah Barracks, HMAS Coonawarra, and RAAF Darwin.
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