Colonel Christopher Steele says US Marines will boost war games in Darwin

“It helps us when we train side by side with our Australian counterparts to get into things like combined and joint fire. [exercises].

“It increases our capacity and ability to partner with the whole ADF [Australian Defence Force].”

While the Albanian government promises to review a Chinese company’s lease of the port of Darwin, Colonel Steele has denied that ownership of Landbridge has encroached on Marine activities in Darwin.

“The perspective we have is that Australia is an ally, Australia is a sovereign nation and has made the decision. I haven’t been held back from going in any direction from a government perspective. workout that I wished I could go to,” he said.

Forward Posture Review

The deepening of the Marines’ commitment to the Top End comes as the Albanian government prepares to undertake a review of ADF base locations that will likely recommend a stronger military presence in the north of the continent.

The planned Force Posture Review will also examine whether the Navy should acquire additional air warfare destroyers, the most powerful warship in the fleet, after Prime Minister Anthony Albanese met with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez in sidelines of the NATO summit in Madrid on Tuesday.

Mr Sanchez raised Spanish shipbuilder Navantia’s proposal to build three more AWDs at a cost of $2 billion per ship, doubling the number of Hobart-class ships in the navy.

“What I have indicated to the prime minister is that this would be taken into account in the context of the forward defense force posture review that is ongoing,” Mr Albanese said.

“I will appoint someone independently to lead this review, which will look at our assets, our capabilities and how we move forward, given that I have indicated that we will need to increase defense spending at the ‘coming.

“But what we need to do is make sure that every dollar of that spending goes to improving our capabilities. And that’s the context in which we think about it.

Navantia Australia chief executive Israel Lozano Barragan said that with an increasingly uncertain strategic environment in the Indo-Pacific, the shipbuilder was ready to respond to an expansion of Australia’s maritime capability if necessary.

“Navantia Australia’s offering of three additional Hobart-class guided-missile destroyers by the end of this decade would provide a proven, advanced, interoperable and flexible capability with the firepower to defeat or deter contemporary threats,” said he declared.

The latest posture review, completed in 2012, was hesitant to recommend the establishment of new military bases in northern Australia, but urged upgrading of existing facilities such as airfields to allow for extended surveillance flights and fighter aircraft operations.

He said the navy needed expanded docks at its main bases in Sydney and Perth, including to accommodate US submarines and warships, recommended the creation of a major new naval base in Brisbane and upgrading Broome’s port facilities to handle more regular ship visits.

Michael Shoebridge, national security and defense program manager at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, raised concerns about the proposed exam being overloaded with capability decisions such as acquiring more AWD, which could lead to further delays in the project.

“They need to prevent the posture review from becoming an overpacked explosive suitcase that examines everything,” he said. “That could start to become a reason for a lack of decisions.”

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