News: US, Australian Army conduct annual staff talks
Story by Cpl. Jennifer Pirante
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — Marine Corps and Royal Australian Army subject-matter experts gathered at Camp Pendleton, Calif., May 9-10, to discuss current affairs and future goals.
The talks aimed to strengthen bilateral interoperability between the two allies with a focus on improving Australia’s amphibious capabilities.
“This is the senior service-to-service dialogue that we have each year,” said Royal Australian Army Maj. David Trotter, U.S. desk officer with Australian Army Headquarters. “It’s aimed to get the right guys from the headquarters elements together to talk about our engagement program, our combined service priorities and make sure we are as interoperable as we can be.”
The small-group discussion is part of an annual working group staff-talk conducted annually and alternates locations between Australia and the U.S. Last year, Marine Corps and Australian Army headquarters elements gathered in Brisbane.
“This builds upon the established relationship that we currently have with the Australian Army,” said Lt. Col. William R. DeLorenzo, desk officer of Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand with Marine Corps Headquarters. “Australia is an allied partner with the U.S., so it is very important for us to have those close ties and interoperability.”
Headquarters elements between the two forces discussed broad topics of support to current force, amphibious concepts, networking, and training. This year, while the Marine Corps focuses on logistical and personnel support for current force, the Australian Army seeks to improve its capabilities in the water.
“The biggest outcome from it is that for the next year, we’ve locked in what we want to do together, where our priorities sit and where some of the friction points may be in taking our respective needs forward,” Trotter said. “At the moment, our big need is to build an amphibious capability.”
The U.S. and Australia will test the development of interoperability in upcoming bilateral exercises, including the biennial joint Exercise Talisman Sabre, which will allow Australia to improve their amphibious capabilities.
Australia also participates in the Rim of the Pacific Exercise, the world’s largest international maritime exercise, coming up in July. DeLorenzo said it will be another opportunity for the two allies to work together.
“We have the most in common with Marine Corps than any other service or branch of any other nation,” Trotter said. “We just share the same kind of ethos and attitude. It’s talks like these that keep the relationship moving forward.”