The Marine Corps has restored its Unit Deployment Program to levels not seen since before the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and training with international partners in the Pacific is going to expand over the next year.
About 1,150 Marines will go to Australia in the spring of 2015 to replace those there now, and plans are on track to move about 5,000 Marines to Guam. A rotation to the Philippines is still being considered.
Lt. Gen. John Toolan, commander of Marine Corps Forces Pacific, said there will be more than 400 operations ranging from major exercises to subject-matter expert exchanges between the U.S. and it’s foreign partners.
“As we rebalance in the Pacific, our Marines and sailors should expect the number of training exercises and expertise exchanges to increase as our partners further develop their amphibious, expeditionary and (humanitarian assistance and disaster response) capabilities,” Toolan said.
The U.S. allies want to develop skills that U.S. sea services have already mastered, said Col. Dan Masur, assistant chief of operations at MARFORPAC.
“The Navy-Marine Corps team has the skill sets and the resources our partners and allies in the region want, mainly amphibious, maritime security, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capabilities,” he said.
There are ongoing projects underway in order to position Marines closer to the country’s allies in the region, and to allow the U.S. and its partners to work closer together.