American military analysts will soon be sent to work at the Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO) in Canberra as both allies intensify joint efforts to scrutinise the moves of states like China, Russia and North Korea in the region.

On Sunday, Marles and U.S Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin visited Lavarack Barracks in Townsville to meet military personnel taking part in the Operation Talisman Sabre exercises

The U.S and Australia announced that they would establish a “Combined Intelligence Centre — Australia” within the DIO by next year, saying the new entity would “enhance long-standing intelligence cooperation”.

It comes in the wake of the AUSMIN talks between the two nations on Saturday.

Defence Minister Richard Marles said that while the U.S and Australia already had deep intelligence ties and shared large amounts of information, the announcement represented a “significant step forward” towards “seamless” intelligence ties.

“It does enable us to do joint work and you will then see more joint [intelligence] products coming out of this,” he said.

“This is a unit which is going to produce intelligence for both of our defence forces … and I think that’s important.”

“You’ll get an American perspective into the American system seen from Australia. And that is not insignificant.”

Marles’ declined to say what the joint intelligence centre would work on, and the joint communique issued after AUSMIN says only that it will look at “analysing issues of shared strategic concern in the Indo-Pacific.”

But U.S analysts from the Defence Intelligence Agency and their Australian counterparts say they are very likely to focus sharply on China’s military footprint in the region and its moves to cement security ties with countries across Asia and the Pacific.

The Defence Minister also denied the United States was making the move because it had been unsettled by the security pact signed by China and Solomon Islands last year — a move which blindsided Australian officials and undermined American confidence in Canberra’s intelligence capabilities in the Pacific.

Marles made the comments after travelling to Townsville with U.S Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin on Sunday, the day after they held joint talks with Foreign Minister Penny Wong and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Brisbane on Saturday.

The two men travelled to Lavarack Barracks to meet some of the thousands of military personnel taking part in the massive Operation Talisman Sabre military exercises.

Both paid tribute to the four Australian aviators who are still missing after crashing into waters off Queensland’s coast, and met with soldiers from all the 13 nations who are participating in the war games this year.

Secretary Austin said the exercises strengthened the “unbreakable alliance” between Australia and the United States, while Marles declared it would be “connectedness” between the participating nations and “enhance the security of the Indo-Pacific.