U.S. May Boost Warplanes in Australia

Secretary of State John Kerry arrived Monday in Australia, where he and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will engage in talks with Australian defense minister David Johnston. According to briefing notes, a plan to rotate more U.S. fighter jets and bombers into an Australian military base near Darwin will be discussed, along with proposals for a larger ballistic-missile defense shield for U.S. allies in the Asia-Pacific region. “The interest here is for tactical aircraft, for closer cooperation between the Australian and U.S. air forces,” said one official. Defense strategists are said to value Australian facilities (as opposed to similar ones in Japan, Guam, and South Korea) because of its safer distance from China in the event of a missile strike.