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U.S. to Bolster Aussie Military Presence

Continuing its effort to combat China’s power in the Pacific, the U.S. will reportedly increase its Army and Navy presence in northern Australia. Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel are finalizing a pact with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott to increase U.S. Marines’ deployment in the country to 2,500 by 2017, up from the current 1,150 troops. Hagel told reporters Monday that the U.S. and Australia are also in talks for collaboration regarding missile defense and cybersecurity. Australia offered military help to the U.S. regarding Iraq, but Kerry stressed that “there will be no reintroduction of American combat forces into Iraq. That is the beginning of the discussion.” President Obama has made it an administration goal to “pivot” toward Asia and increase U.S. power in the Pacific region.