AUKUS Highlights the Strength of International Partnerships: Pentagon Official
AUKUS Highlights the Strength of International Partnerships: Pentagon Official

The AUKUS security partnership between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States aims to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific region. This alliance demonstrates the Defense Department's commitment to strengthening international relationships, according to a senior Pentagon official.

Madeline Mortelmans, the acting assistant secretary of defense for strategies, plans, and capabilities, emphasized the importance of partnerships in executing the 2022 National Defense Strategy (NDS). She highlighted the significant impact AUKUS will have on the Department of Defense's approach to strategic competition.

Speaking at a panel hosted by the Center for a New American Security, a national security think tank in Washington, Mortelmans said, "When I talk about the 2022 NDS, and what's different about it, I always highlight and observe that almost every U.S. strategy, for years, has emphasized the importance of our allies and partners."

She added, "What's different about this NDS is a call to action to do things differently, to drive change in breaking down barriers to how we work with allies and partners. We aim to involve them sooner in our planning processes and consider their roles at every stage of planning, operations, and activities. In this context, AUKUS aligns perfectly with our National Defense Strategy."

AUKUS, established in September 2021, focuses on technology exchanges and developing Australia's nuclear-powered submarine fleet. Under "Pillar 1" of the agreement, Australia will purchase three Virginia-class, conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarines to replace its current diesel-electric fleet by the 2030s.

The three countries will also collaborate on the "SSN-AUKUS" platform, combining their shared submarine technology. This advanced platform is expected to be deployed by the U.K. in the 2030s and by Australia in the 2040s.

The second pillar of the agreement aims to develop joint capabilities, enhancing interoperability among the nations. This includes advancements in cyber capabilities, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, and additional undersea capabilities.

Mortelmans noted that significant progress has been made since the AUKUS agreement was first announced.

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