The vice chief of naval operations (VCNO) concluded a three-day engagement visit to Canberra and Darwin, Australia, Feb. 21.
Adm. Mark Ferguson met with Chief of the Australian Navy Vice Adm. Ray Griggs and U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey L. Bleich, toured naval facilities, and delivered remarks to students, faculty and staff at the Australian Defence College (ADC).
“This was a productive and enjoyable visit,” said Ferguson. “I came here on behalf of the Secretary of the Navy and Chief of Naval Operations to discuss our enduring presence and engagement in the Pacific.”
Meetings with VCNO and the Australian navy staff focused on the recent U.S. force posture review, the status of the two respective navies, and plans for continued military to military exercises and engagement.
“Our long-term economic and security interests are linked to developments in the Asia-Pacific; we place a high premium on our presence and support to allies and partners in the region,” said Ferguson. “This visit further solidified the strong relationship we enjoy with the Australian navy.”
In remarks to the ADC in Canberra, Ferguson talked about the U.S. Navy’s longstanding presence in the Pacific, the free flow of commerce, maritime security, and the U.S. defense strategy.
The ADC was established in 1999 to meet the strategic needs of the Australian Defence Force for joint professional military education and to prepare Australian and foreign military and government officials for joint and combined assignments. More than 160 military and civilian students, faculty and staff from 20 different countries turned out for Ferguson’s presentation.
“The U.S. is a Pacific maritime nation, and our strategy underscores our commitment to our allies and partners in this region,” said Ferguson. “Our interests demand enduring presence; we are here to stay.”
In Darwin, Ferguson visited HMAS Coonawarra to meet with the Australian navy staff before touring the harbor to get a first-hand view of available support facilities for the planned rotational deployment of U.S. Marines to the region.
Ferguson is traveling throughout the U.S. Pacific fleet to meet with regional partners and U.S. personnel to discuss U.S. Navy Pacific engagement. He will visit Singapore and Guam next.
Naval Today Staff , February 23, 2012; Image: navy