Commentary | 30 June 2011

Resident power: the case for an enhanced US military presence in Australia

In this Lowy Strategic Snapshot, Dr Toshi Yoshihara, Associate Professor at the US Naval War College, makes a strong case for an expanded US military presence in Australia. Dr Yoshihara argues that the rise of China and India, together with the proliferation of precision-guided strike capabilities in Asia, requires rethinking America's existing regional military basing arrangements. Australia's pivotal location brings its geostrategic importance into sharper focus for US defence planners.

‘Both Canberra and Washington share a profound desire to uphold the current maritime system, premised as it is on unfettered access to the commons. The growth of Chinese and Indian sea power will accelerate the “Asianisation” of the US Navy.’

  • Toshi Yoshihara

In this Lowy Strategic Snapshot, Dr Toshi Yoshihara, Associate Professor at the US Naval War College, makes a strong case for an expanded US military presence in Australia. Dr Yoshihara argues that the rise of China and India, together with the proliferation of precision-guided strike capabilities in Asia, requires rethinking America's existing regional military basing arrangements. Australia's pivotal location brings its geostrategic importance into sharper focus for US defence planners.

‘Both Canberra and Washington share a profound desire to uphold the current maritime system, premised as it is on unfettered access to the commons. The growth of Chinese and Indian sea power will accelerate the “Asianisation” of the US Navy.’

  • Toshi Yoshihara

Key Findings

  • The US Navy will need to shift its attention to Asia as the Chinese and Indian navies grow.
  • US forces must be distributed evenly across the region in durable locations.
  • According to the Lowy Institute’s 2011 foreign policy poll, 55 per cent of Australians are in favour of basing US military forces in Australia (20 per cent strongly in favour).