The 2018 Marine Rotational Force – Darwin (MRF-D), consisting of 1,587 US Marines, has completed another six months of training and exercises in northern Australia and has now left the country.
This year’s MRF-D was the seventh and largest rotation to date and also included a squadron of eight MV-22 Ospreys and an artillery battery of six M777 Howitzers.
During the past six months, MRF-D participated in 15 training activities alongside the ADF and other regional nations including Japan, the Philippines and France.
In a statement, Defence said that the MRF-D is a “practical demonstration of Australia’s existing strong defence alliance with the US conducted under the US Force Posture Initiatives.”
“The Initiatives enhance the ability of Australia and the US to work together with regional partners in the interests of regional peace, stability and security and better position both nations to respond to contingencies and natural disasters in the Indo-Pacific.”
“Australia supports a strong US presence in our region to uphold the rules and norms that have underpinned regional prosperity and security for over 70 years.”
The largest Marine rotation to the NT comes as Director-General US Force Posture Initiative Brigadier Mark Brewer called for new approaches to training at ADM’s Northern Australia Defence Summit as the Marine Corps presence steadily ramps up.
“I think we need to ask ourselves whether our traditional approach of heading out into the bush or flying over it and training on areas that have fixed and field firing ranges with a few containers stacked on each other which we call an urban facility is actually now fit for purpose,” BRIG Brewer said.
“At the moment I would observe that our training area design ideas culminate at developing roads, creek and river crossings, camp accommodation and range control. We also tend to develop ranges in service silos.
“Surely there is more to it.”