Minister for Defence Senator David Johnston, has welcomed the release of the United States’ 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), and its emphasis on the US Government’s commitment to security and stability in the Asia-Pacific.
The tangible commitments to regional security set out in the QDR are welcome to Australia as they support Australia’s national interests in a secure and prosperous region.
“This QDR is an important articulation of US security interest and directions,” Senator Johnston said.
“It describes the ways in which the US military will continue to make an active and strong contribution to global security, and to the security of our region. It describes how the US is approaching its future capability program and managing its fiscal constraints.”
The QDR is a comprehensive four-year review of US defence strategy and priorities, to ensure that the US is prepared for current and future challenges.
Senator Johnston said it is frank on the difficult choices the US faces in marrying strategy with budget and capability – a challenge felt by many countries around the world.
“The Government will carefully consider the choices the US is making in the QDR while we develop our own Defence White Paper,” he said.
Crucially for Australia, the QDR reinforces US commitment to the security and stability of the Asia-Pacific through an active US presence and through its alliances and partnerships that build regional and partner capacity.
Australia and the United States are committed to expediting the full and timely implementation of the force posture initiatives in northern Australia. We are already seeing the results of our increased cooperation with the US in support of its re-balance to the Asia-Pacific.
Commencing in April, the US Marine rotational presence in Darwin will increase to around 1,150 Marines with equipment, vehicles and aircraft, for a six month deployment. This is a practical demonstration of Australia’s commitment to supporting US engagement in our region.
“We welcome the QDR statements that set out tangible steps to implement the US’ 2012 Strategic Guidance,” Senator Johnston said.
“The Australian Government also appreciates and welcomes the continued US commitment to our region. For decades it has underpinned the security and stability that allows the impressive prosperity we see around us.”
Senator Johnston stressed that while Australia has enjoyed a long and effective partnership with the US, we must continue to adapt the alliance for the future.
“Australia’s alliance with the US is very strong and remains our most important defence relationship.
“As the QDR notes, our enhanced cooperation with the US is progressing well. This year, 1150 US Marines will rotate through northern Australia for training and engagement in the region,” Senator Johnston said.
“We value this activity not just for what it brings to our relationship with the US, but also for the opportunity it presents for both our countries to work with others in our region in building regional security.”