U.S. Not Seeking Bases in Australia
By Jim Garamone
United States is not even thinking about basing American troops
in Australia, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told
Australian officials last week.
Gen. Richard B. Myers said Jan. 16 that U.S. and Australian officials
are considering building a joint training area in Australia. The
Australian press has magnified that embryonic project into a U.S.
request for permanent bases.
it is no secret that the United States and Australia have a close
military relationship. Service members of the two countries train
constantly together. What has been proposed is enhancing a training
area in Australia so service members can get more out of the training
money, he said.
nothing to do with U.S. bases," Myers said. "It has
everything to do with our ability to train with our good partners,
the Australians, and the Australians training with their good
partners, the U.S., in Australia."
he has no idea now what the training facility will involve. "There
is a ‘scoping effort’ going on in the next few months by the two
militaries, and that may give the idea some definition,"
areas generally require more measurement capability. The National
Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., for example, has measuring
equipment all over the range. Getting that same capability in
Australia might be one way of enhancing the training experience,
looking at our global footprint worldwide," Myers said, to
adapt the world’s new security environment. This requires a different
set of forces and changing the places where some forces are based,
but stationing U.S. forces in Australia is not part of the discussions,
taking a look at this holistically, which we don’t do very often
in our department," the chairman said. "But Secretary
(of Defense Donald H.) Rumsfeld has said this is what we want
to do. There may be some changes in the future, but they do not
include moving U.S. bases to Australia."
Myers is finishing
a four-nation trip to Asia with a visit with his counterpart,
Australian Chief of Defense Forces Army Gen. Peter Cosgrove. He
said the purpose of his trip Down Under is to "check base
with my counterpart, thank Australia for its continuing role in
the war on terrorism, discuss regional and global issues with
my counterpart and just keep the close interaction going."
which took place at the height of rush hour in Baghdad, was clearly
timed to claim the maximum possible number of innocent victims.
Once again, it is innocent Iraqis who have been murdered by these
terrorists in a senseless act of violence.
I share the
deep outrage of my Iraqi friends and colleagues at this tragic
and inexcusable loss of life. I pass my deepest condolences to
the families and friends of those murdered.
to work for a stable and democratic future for this country is
undiminished. Our plan to hand over remaining authority to a new
Iraqi government in July this year remains unchanged.
is doing all it can to assist the Iraqi security and emergency
services in dealing with the aftermath of this terrorist attack.
Many of the Iraqi wounded are being treated in a nearby Coalition
military hospital, and will be given the best care available.”