Senior defence officials from Malaysia, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam visited the Northern Territory to learn about the United States Force Posture Initiatives and bilateral capabilities between Australia and the United States (US) last week.
As part of this visit, the group observed a bilateral exercise between the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and the US Marines, called Exercise Crocodile Strike. The exercise provided real-life scenarios to test how Australia and the US would work together in response to a humanitarian crisis in a regional location.
Lieutenant Colonel Brian Middleton, Commander of the 2017 Marine Rotational Force Darwin, said the exercise helped hone bilateral planning processes and techniques, which are a key component of any crisis response.
"This exercise tested our ability to plan and forecast requirements to demonstrate difficulty of getting to Warruwi from Darwin and show the requirements for the Marine Air Ground Task Force to be capable and self-sustaining," Lieutenant Colonel Middleton said.
“Approximately 50 ADF personnel and 50 US Marines along with associated equipment were deployed to South Goulburn Island where they practiced the delivery of small community-focused projects, including restoring and replacing facilities and infrastructure.
“The exercise utilised a range of operational capabilities including the MV-22 Osprey used to transport international observers to and from the South Goulburn Island.
“This aircraft can take off and land similar to a helicopter allowing it to access remote locations. It can also travel long distances at the speed of a plane allowing aid and assistance to be deployed faster.”
Air Commodore Noel Derwort highlighted the importance of regional countries understanding the purpose of the initiatives as well as how they can become involved.
“It is really important our regional partners are aware of the types of training and exercises carried out in the Indo-Pacific as well as the opportunities to participate in the training and exercises,” said Air Commodore Derwort.
“The US Force Posture Initiatives will continue to provide training opportunities for regional countries over the coming years.”
“We hope this visit has increased transparency around the Initiatives as well as highlighted the potential for greater regional engagement,” Air Commodore Derwort said.
During the visit, the senior defence officials toured 'facilitates' and accommodation used by the US Marine Rotational Force-Darwin on Robertson Barracks and Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin during the dry season.
The US began training in Australia as part of the US Force Posture Initiatives in 2012. The Initiatives aim to enhance military interoperability and capability between Australia and the US as well as other regional countries and increase stability and security in the Indo-Pacific.