Australia’s hosting of U.S. war games alienates the region and must end – July 22nd, 2021


  • Australia should no longer host Talisman Sabre military exercises 
  • Talisman Sabre has a negative impact on the safety of our region, environment and community health during COVID-19
  • Australia should focus on engaging positively with our neighbours in the region

Talisman Sabre 2021 (TS21), the largest land war practice in the region, is currently taking place in Australia. The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN), calls on the Australian Government to stop hosting these belligerent operations, which alienates Australia from its neighbours, threatens public health and the environment.

Over 17,000 soldiers including 8,000 U.S. military personnel and nearly 800 from other countries will descend on Australia to conduct war manoeuvres.

This will be the ninth occasion of these exercises and will take place around Townsville, Queensland as well as in New South Wales, with the war manoeuvres will reach their peak between July 18-31.

TS21 have a clear offensive aim and will include training in urban fighting, amphibious landings, air combat and more, including the use of live ammunition.

These activities will make the Pacific region a more militarised and dangerous place and will only further distance us from our neighbours. Furthermore, it is another step in U.S. militarisation in Australia, which includes permanent stationing of troops and U.S. bases.

TS21 will also negatively on the environment, with exercises taking place within the Great Barrier Reef marine park. It will also risk the spread of COVID-19 with thousands of foreign troops flying into Australia as citizens remain stranded overseas.

Annette Brownlie, Chairperson of IPAN: “These military exercises alienate Australia from our neighbours and friends in the Pacific region. We should be looking to work productively as part of the Pacific region to face climate change, combat COVID-19 and maintain peace, Talisman Sabre goes against all of these.

Dr Vince Scappatura, Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at Macquarie University: “The Talisman Sabre military exercises are depicted as a benign effort to improve defence readiness and ‘interoperability’ between the armed forces of the US, Australia and other regional partners. In fact, they send a clear signal that Australia is committed to integrating its armed forces into a US-led warfighting strategy to encircle China and preserve American primacy. The weapons systems and operational concepts being tested during the exercises are explicitly aimed at ‘penetrating and disintegrating’ China’s defence systems around its territories and near territories. These are not exercises to secure the defence of Australia but rather of America’s ability to project its military power wherever and whenever it desires across the Indo-Pacific and indeed the world.”