Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has discussed plans to double the number of U.S. Marines in the Australian city of Darwin by 2020 with Australia’s Defense Minister Marise Payne during a bilateral meeting held in Washington, Reuters reported Thursday.
Tom Westbrook writes the two countries have reached a cost-sharing agreement in principle to increase U.S. military presence in Australia’s tropical north where approximately 2,500 soldiers are currently stationed.
The two countries agreed to co-invest $1.52 billion in infrastructure that will support military operations in northern Australia as well as other share costs associated with the 25-year deployment plan, according to the report.
The report said the U.S. and Australia also want to conduct joint training and exercises that could seek participation from other Asia-Pacific allies.
“The two sides will now finalize a cost sharing implementing arrangement to capture the terms, pursuant to the force posture agreement,” Commander Gary Ross, a Defense Department spokesman, told Reuters.