During a visit to Australia, Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro commented on the implications of the increasingly close relationship between the United States and Australia. The visit underscored how important Australia will be to a free Indo-Pacific in the future.
“We have a solemn responsibility to be ready to fight and win wars. I am so proud to have the Marine Corps here in Australia,” Del Toro told Marines and sailors with MRF-D Aviation Combat Element.
“It really makes me realize the historic relationship between our two nations,” Del Toro said while socializing with his Australian hosts at a World War II officer’s mess aboard the RAAF base in Darwin. “Australia has been on our side and we will always be on our side in the fight for freedom for everyone around the world.”
The Secretary of the Navy’s visit underscores both the growing importance of Australia’s relationship with the United States and the proven cooperation between the Marine Corps and Navy.
“Working as a Naval Gunfire Liaison Officer for MRF-D is both a new experience and a rewarding ticket to help advance the combined combat capability of the Navy and Marine Corps,” said U.S. Navy Chief Warrant Officer Ralph Julien.
“We work every day to advance sea interdiction tactics and procedures, so when the time is right, our MAGTF is ready to work with our Navy counterparts, as well as other joint and combined partners. “, continued Julien.
In addition to Australia’s role in the Five Eyes Intelligence Network and the Quad Security Dialogue, the country took a huge leap forward last year with the announcement of the AUKUS strategic partnership.
The group, named after Australia, the UK and the US, is seeking to give Canberra an indigenous nuclear-powered submarine capability. The move came as a shock to many. Although Australia is a major exporter of raw nuclear material and conducts limited academic nuclear research, the country does not possess nuclear weapons, nor does it have any nuclear-powered ships in service.
The US Navy‘s nuclear-powered submarines are considered the crown jewels of US military power. US Navy submarines are the most technologically advanced in the world, extremely difficult to locate and track, and have a nearly spotless safety record, a testament to the culture of excellence inherent in the Navy’s nuclear program .
And the US Navy has only shared its nuclear submarine secrets once, helping Britain’s Royal Navy set up its own nuclear submarine program. Now, concerned about Chinese belligerence in the Indo-Pacific, Australia is joining the Anglo-American group of nuclear submarines.
Caleb Larson is a multimedia journalist and advocacy writer with National Interest. A graduate of UCLA, he also holds a Master of Public Policy and lives in Berlin. It covers the intersection of conflict, security, and technology, focusing on American foreign policy, European security, and German society for print and radio. Follow him on Twitter @calebmlarson.