This year’s Marine rotation to Darwin to proceed (with precautions against COVID-19)
Defence Minister Senator Linda Reynolds has said that this year’s U.S. Marines rotation to Darwin, which had previously been “paused” due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, will now take place.
Reynolds said in a news release that she informed U.S. Secretary of Defense that “after careful consideration, the Government has decided that a modified 2020 Marine Rotational Force – Darwin (MRF-D) can proceed later this year, adhering to strict measures in place to protect against COVID-19.”
She added that the decision was based on Australia’s record to date in managing the impacts from COVID-19, as well as strict adherence by deployed US Marines to the mandatory 14-day quarantine and other requirements.
The minister added that “hosting this key Alliance activity provides interoperability benefits as well as signals our firm joint commitment to regional security. It is a clear testimony to the strength and value of the Australia-US Alliance.”
A Defence spokesperson told APDR that “the exact size, timing and duration of the rotation is still being finalised by planners and will be announced at a later time”, although earlier media reports had said the force will consist of 2.500 Marines and include elements from the 3rd Battalion of the 7th Marine Regiment normally based at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms in California.