Ten year anniversary of the Australia-United States Force Posture Initiatives

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The Hon Peter Dutton MP

Minister for Defence

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Defence Media: media@defence.gov.au

Mr Lloyd Austin III

US Secretary of Defense

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17 November 2021

Joint statement with:

  • Mr Lloyd Austin III,  US Secretary of Defense

Today marks another milestone for the “Unbreakable Alliance” with the ten-year anniversary of the Australia – United States Force Posture Initiatives.

Over the last ten years, the Marine Rotational Force – Darwin and Enhanced Air Cooperation have grown in scale and complexity. The first Marine Rotational Force – Darwin started with less than 200 US Marines before reaching more than 2,500 in 2019. Enhanced Air Cooperation has expanded to include fourth- and fifth-generation fighter integration, and interoperability on logistics and health capabilities. This cooperation has ensured that the Alliance is better positioned to deter coercion and respond to the full range of contingencies in the Indo-Pacific.

Significantly, both the Marine Rotational Force – Darwin and Enhanced Air Cooperation continued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrating the maturity and effectiveness of the Force Posture Initiatives. Both activities are consistent and tangible examples of our shared bilateral commitment to an open, inclusive, and resilient Indo-Pacific.

The announcement of the inaugural Force Posture Initiatives coincided with the 60th year of the ANZUS Alliance. Now, ten years on, both Australia and the United States are committed to further enhance the Force Posture Initiatives, marking the enduring strength of the Alliance in its 70th year. We will accomplish this through:

  • Further enhanced air cooperation through the rotational deployment of U.S. aircraft of all types in Australia and appropriate aircraft training and exercises.
  • Enhanced maritime cooperation through increased logistics and sustainment support for U.S. surface and subsurface vessels in Australia.
  • Enhanced land cooperation through increasingly complex and more integrated exercises and greater combined engagement with allies and partners in the region.
  • Establishing a combined logistics, sustainment, and maintenance enterprise to support high-end warfighting and combined military operations in the region.

It is natural that the Alliance evolves to meet shared challenges. Both Secretary Austin and Minister Dutton welcome the advancement and maturing of Australia-United States force posture cooperation, which will increase our interoperability, promote opportunities for engagement with regional partners, and demonstrate our shared commitment to Indo-Pacific security.

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