Australia has agreed to host a full US Marine task force in the coming years, Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced at a news conference with US President Barack Obama in Canberra.
She said about 250 US Marines would arrive next year, eventually being built up to 2,500 personnel. [...]
In his speech to parliament Mr Obama will set out his vision of a new Pacific century. A subsequent trip to Darwin on Australia's north coast will symbolise the enhanced military relationship between the two countries. [...]
Analysts said the deployment was the biggest in Australia since World War II. [...]
Mr Obama said the deployment would allow the US to "meet the demands of a lot of partners in the region" in terms of training, exercises and "security architecture".
Later in his visit the US leader is due to visit a memorial in Darwin to honour US and Australian soldiers killed during World War II.
Mr Obama has twice cancelled visits to Australia in the past - in March 2010 as he worked to pass healthcare reform legislation and then in June the same year amid the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
After his stop in Darwin, Mr Obama flies to Indonesia for a summit of Asian leaders.