WASHINGTON – The appointment of an Australian to a senior position in the command of the U.S. Army’s 79,000-strong contingent in the Asia-Pacific region reflects Washington’s strategic pivot to the region, officials said Monday.
Two-star Australian Army Gen. Richard Burr was appointed to the senior ranks of the U.S. Army Pacific contingent in January, where he has been deputy commander for operations, commanding Gen. Francis Wiercinski said.
“Burr’s presence in our headquarters symbolizes our rebalance and our longstanding alliance and celebrated relationship with Australia,” Wiercinski said.
A former Australian Special Forces soldier, Burr “holds the same authority . . . same duties,” as a U.S. officer, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Pacific, Jim Guzior, said.
The U.S. Army Pacific is headquartered in Hawaii, and is responsible for all forces deployed in a region which stretches from California and Alaska to the Maldives and South Korea.
U.S. President Barack Obama announced a strategic pivot towards Asia in January last year, a move designed to tilt U.S. interests from Europe and the Middle East toward East Asia.