Marines Headed Down Under

Via the BBC:  Obama visit: Australia agrees US Marine deployment plan

Australia has agreed to host a full US Marine task force in the coming years, Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced at a news conference with US President Barack Obama in Canberra.

She said about 250 US Marines would arrive next year, eventually being built up to 2,500 personnel.

The deployment is being seen as a move to counter China’s growing influence.

But Mr Obama said the US was “stepping up its commitment to the entire Asia-Pacific”, not excluding China.


Ms Gillard said about 250 Marines would be deployed on a rotational basis in northern Australia from next year.

“Australia will welcome deployments of a company-size rotation of 200 to 250 Marines in the Northern Territory for around six months at a time,” she said.

“Over a number of years we intend to build on this relationship in a staged way to a full force of around 2,500 personnel, that is a full Marine air-ground task force.”

Analysts said the deployment was the biggest in Australia since World War II.

And the US military footprint grows a bit larger.  I can’t, based on this information, say that this is a good or bad idea, although my inclination at the moment is to be concerned about further military deployments and responsibilities.

It does, however, strike me as an example of the general approach to foreign policy that we see from US presidents, regardless of their party affiliation.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Bleev K says:

    With taxpayers money. Where’s the Tea Party when we need them?

  2. Joe Carter says:

    I doubt the aggregate number of troops in the region is increasing. This is likely just a shift from Okinawa to Australia. The Japanese have wanted to reduce the Corps footprint in Okinawa for decades and Australia has always been the preferred place to put a new base.

  3. James Joyner says:

    I haven’t seen much on this but it’s more “basing” than “deployment.” It’s not like there’s a war on in Australia, after all. I see it as an opportunity for routine training with one of our most reliable allies.

  4. Richard Gardner says:

    A sizable number of Marines have already been shifted from Okinawa to the US Territory of Guam (former Naval Weapons Station). It is 2000 miles from Darwin to Guam, 2700 miles from Okinawa (almost due South) and 1400 Guam to Okinawa, making a triangle that is mostly ocean and a few islands. The Spratly Islands have been in the news recently with even India making a statement against China’s claims, but Okinawa is closer to them than Darwin.

    Initially I would expect deployments of Marines from the current Western Pacific bases with a small cadre of permanent folks. I know currently there are a few USAF military personnel stationed at Richmond RAAF (near Sydney) and at the satellite downlink station in remote Western Australia.

  5. sam says:

    Over a number of years we intend to build on this relationship in a staged way to a full force of around 2,500 personnel, that is a full Marine air-ground task force.

    Yeah, my guess is the 31st MEU will leave Okinawa for Australia.

  6. sam says:

    For the Marines, it’ll be a kind of homecoming, btw.

  7. michael reynolds says:

    It’s about time the arrogant Aussies were conquered. We should have invaded years ago! It’s a country overrun with marsupials. Can you imagine what would happen if terrorists developed a workable pouch bomb?