October 18, 2022

AUKUS Has Big Technology Hurdles with Some Very Big Rewards

By Richard Fontaine

Implementing the nuclear submarine agreement is an opportunity for wider defence collaboration between the US, the UK, and Australia.

At just over a year since the AUKUS announcement, dramatic, leader-level diplomacy has now given way to more prosaic efforts at implementation.

On a recent visit to Australia, and after consultations on the pact in Washington, I have a new appreciation for the promise – and the potential barriers – to AUKUS’ execution. The agreement remains extraordinarily promising, but tangible results will make the measure of its success.

Amid the rise of Chinese power and the changing Indo-Pacific dynamic, allies like Australia and the US must work together even more closely than before.

Enthusiasm for AUKUS endures at senior levels on both sides of the Pacific, which stands to reason: its fulfillment would add real allied defence capability in the region where it matters most. As the military balance across the Indo-Pacific deteriorates in China’s direction, AUKUS can represent a step toward repairing it.

It’s worth recalling that the pact is fundamentally a defence technology sharing agreement. It is not primarily a new diplomatic platform and certainly does not represent some new tripartite alliance.

Rather, AUKUS is a mechanism that would permit collaboration on technologies – including but not limited to nuclear propulsion for submarines – that would otherwise be impossible. That, in turn, promises to supply each of the three members with new military capabilities they would lack in the absence of it.

Read the full article from AFR.

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