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2022 Inaugural Edition
Edited by Jada Fraser and Jan K. Gleiman
Table of contents

Chapter 7



Welcome to the online version of our AUKUS Briefing Book, your first stop for learning about the AUKUS Partnership. The tabs on the left contain summaries of official documents, primary sources, and links to expert analysis and news stories. You can also download the full PDF version.

The purpose of this briefing book is to provide the greater national security community and the public with a resource to better understand the AUKUS partnership and its many initiatives and lines of effort. The first version of this briefing book is organized  and presented to serve both novices and experienced scholar-practitioners. For the  individual who is unfamiliar with the AUKUS partnership, the executive summary and other initial sections contain the most basic, essential, and important information and analysis. For the more experienced scholar or national security practitioner, later chapters serve as a single comprehensive resource containing foundational texts, including official primary source documents, and access or links to the various critical analyses and related research.

Because we are publishing this first edition of the briefing book on the first anniversary of the announcement of the AUKUS partnership, there is far less information available than there will be for future versions of the book. As the AUKUS partnership grows and matures, we expect to update the briefing book regularly. To make this resource more  valuable, Security and Defence PLuS needs your feedback. If you have a recommendation or constructive criticism to help us improve the next version, or take issue with the accuracy of any content, please email us at [email protected].

Executive Summary

On September 15, 2021, the leaders of the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia surprised the world with the announcement of a trilateral partnership called AUKUS.1 According to the joint statement, the AUKUS partnership sought to deepen diplomatic, security, and defense cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region by promoting deeper information and technology sharing as well as deeper integration of security and defense-related science and technology.2 The announcement came as a surprise to even the most connected individuals of the national security communities in all three countries, and many experts agreed that it marked a turning point in Indo-Pacific security and the demonstrated long-term resolve of all three countries (especially Australia) to counter the influence of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the long-term balance of military power.3

The AUKUS announcement held the attention of national and international media for two related reasons. First, the primary initiative of the partnership was an agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom to support Australia in acquiring nuclear-powered submarines for the Royal Australian Navy. The leaders made it clear that the details of such an arrangement would be negotiated over the next 18 months, giving their governments until March 2023 to make the partnership a reality and “determine and optimal pathway forward.”4 This alone would have been big news, as Australia had a reputation for its commitment to nuclear non-proliferation and had, just six years earlier, embarked on a $66 billion (U.S.) defense contract with France’s Naval Group to build 12 diesel-electric submarines to replace its aging Collins-class boats. But the second reason for the attention of national and international media was the fact that neither Australian, UK, nor U.S. leaders had told the leaders of France about the new agreement or that it would mean the cancellation of the contract with the Naval Group, a French defense contractor partially owned by the French government.5

Although it is too soon to effectively assess the possible damage to longer-term relations with France, both the Australian and U.S. governments made real attempts to repair the damage done by the diplomatic gaffe associated with the AUKUS rollout. After France recalled its ambassadors from both Washington, D.C., and Canberra, Australia, the Biden administration and the Morrison government engaged French counterparts and apologized for the oversight. Australia ended up agreeing to pay $584 million (U.S.) to France’s Naval Group in a settlement finalized by the new Australian government of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in May of 2022.6

1 Alexander Ward and Paul McLeary, “Biden Announces Joint Deal with U.K. and Australia to Counter China,”Politico, September 15, 2021, defense-tech-sharing-511877.

2 Joseph Biden, Boris Johnson, and Scott Morrison, “Joint Leaders Statement on AUKUS” (The White House, September 15, 2021), releases/2021/09/15/joint-leaders-statement-on-aukus/.

3 Joe Wheatley, “Fear, Honour, and AUKUS in the Indo-Pacific,” The Strategy Bridge, November 9, 2021,

4 Biden, Johnson, and Morrison, “Joint Leaders Statement on AUKUS.”

5 Dusty Jones, “Why A Submarine Deal Has France At Odds With U.S., U.K. And Australia,” NPR, September19, 2021,

6 Josh Taylor, “Aukus Pact: Australia Pays $830m Penalty for Ditching Non-Nuclear French Submarines,” TheGuardian, June 11, 2022,

AUKUS Partnership Organization

Although this edition of the AUKUS Briefing Book is published more than six months shy of the self-imposed March 2023 deadline for an “optimal pathway,” the three governments have released many details about the partnership and continue to release details periodically. Perhaps the most important details released in the last year have been the framework for operationalizing the entire partnership and the approval of the legally binding agreement to support Australia’s acquisition of nuclear submarines.

At this time, the AUKUS partnership has no overarching binding agreement; however, the“first initiative” of the partnership has a negotiated binding agreement that came into force on February 8, 2022, after each government completed the necessary binding actions. The official short title is the Exchange of Naval Nuclear Propulsion Information Agreement (ENNPIA).

The AUKUS partnership has a three-tiered governance framework consisting of a SeniorOfficials Group, two Joint Steering Groups (each overseeing a major line of effort), and 17 working groups. See diagram below

Senior Officials Group

Nuclear Submarines

Only six countries in the world, all of them nuclear-armed, have nuclear-powered attack submarines. Australia is set to join this exclusive club as the seventh member, and the only one to not possess nuclear weapons.7 The nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs) that are a part of the AUKUS headline initiative have marked differences from diesel-powered attack submarines (SSKs). SSKs, the submarines that were a part of Australia’s original submarine deal with France’s Naval Group, have a distinct disadvantage in that they must resurface periodically to allow their batteries to recharge—an operation known as “snorting.”8 In comparison, SSNs nuclear-powered batteries need only be recharged about every 15 years and only need to surface as crewmembers require it, enabling them to take on longer-range missions. SSNs are also much faster than SSKs. With these advantages, SSNs can both chase and run from targets, while SSKs must wait for targets to come into range.9

Although details are still being developed to guide the optimal path forward, the Australian SSNs are likely to run on highly enriched uranium (HEU). Both the U.S. and UK submarine fleets use HEU to power their SSNs. HEU, compared to low enriched uranium (LEU), does not require as big a reactor, and the fuel has a much longer life span. For instance, the Virginia-class HEU lasts for 33 years—the life of the submarine—while submarines using LEU must be refueled every one to three years.10 The use of HEU for the AUKUS SSNscarries with it additional proliferation concerns— as it can be used to make nuclear weapons—which will be discussed in greater detail below.

nuclear submarines

7 Sam Roggeveen, “How Nuclear Subs Could Transform Australia, Its Alliance and Asia,” The Interpreter, September 16, 2021,

8 Sylvia Pfeifer, Demitri Sevastopulo, and Anna Gross, “The nuclear technology behind Australia’s Aukus submarine deal,” The Financial Times, September 19, 2021,

9 Hugh White, “SSN vs SSK,” The Interpreter, September 29, 2021,

10 Anastasia Kapetas, “Limiting the Nuclear-Proliferation Blowback from the AUKUS Submarine Deal,” The Strategist, September 21, 2021, blowback-from-the-aukus-submarine-deal/.

Non-Proliferation Concerns

The announcement of the AUKUS partnership and its headline initiative to deliver eight nuclear-powered attack submarines to Australia raised a range of concerns internationally about the implications for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). This will be the first time that the United States will share nuclear technology with a foreign country since a 1958 mutual defense agreement with the United Kingdom; the United States has not otherwise shared such technology with another state since the NPT went into force in 1970.11

The AUKUS submarine deal would see Australia become the first country to exercise a “loophole” that allows it to remove nuclear material from the inspection system of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).12 One concern is how this precedent could be exploited by other non-nuclear weapons states (NNWS) to divert materials from naval reactors and potentially use that material for weapons production.13 Another concern is thatthe AUKUS submarine deal may create a more permissive environment that would embolden other countries to develop their own HEU-fueled nuclear submarines and their own HEU fuel.14

In recognition of these concerns, the three governments have set out to work in partnershipwith the IAEA to ensure full compliance with existing standards. In addition, the AUKUS countries announced an 18-month consultation process that will determine the safeguards and non-proliferation measures and how to ensure full compliance with each party’s NPT commitments prior to the construction of the submarines.15

11 Shayan Karbassi, “Legal Mechanisms of AUKUS Explained,” Lawfare Blog, September 24, 2021,

12 James Acton, “Why the AUKUS Submarine Deal Is Bad for Nonproliferation—And What to Do About It,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, September 21, 2021, what-to-do-about-it-pub-85399.

13 Cathy Moloney, “AUKUS and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime,” The Interpreter, September 28, 2021,

14 Trevor Findlay and Frank N. von Hippel, “The Australia-UK-U.S. Submarine Deal,” Arms Control Today, Volume 51, Number 9, November 2021,

15 John Carlson, “IAEA Safeguards, the Naval ‘Loophole’ and the AUKUS Proposal,” Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non‑Proliferation, February 24, 2022, loophole-and-the-aukus-proposal/.

The Submarine Gap

Another major peripheral issue with the AUKUS partnership is Australia’s looming “submarine gap.” Loosely defined, the submarine gap explains a situation in which Australia finds itself without a relevant submarine capability in large part due to the aging Collinsclass and the significant time it may take for the AUKUS partnership to deliver its first SSN.

Some experts have argued that Australia already has a significant submarine gap as it has only six Collins-class attack submarines, which can only generate two operational submarines at any one time, with perhaps some surge capability in the most exceptional circumstances. Yet, even with this minimal capability, it was all the way back in 2009 when the Australian Defence White Paper first identified the need to build 12 submarines to replace the Collins class and projected a delivery date from 2025 to 2034.16 The deal with France’s Naval Group was already behind that production timeline when Australia cancelled the deal in September 2021. Now that the AUKUS partnership has Australia starting from scratch, current estimates have the delivery of Australia’s first nuclear submarine in the mid-2040s.17 This means that the Royal Australian Navy must find ways to either extend the life of the six Collins-class submarines, which were expected to begin retirement in the late 2020s, or find some other capability-based solution.18

The looming specter of the submarine gap has motivated several proposals aimed at helping Australia close this gap sooner. For example, the AUKUS working group in the U.S. Congress has proposed that the U.S. Navy immediately (in 2023) allow Australia’s Navy to send officers to train with American sailors and prepare the Australians for eventually getting their own submarines.19 However, those officers would long be retired by the 2040s, when Australia is expected to deliver its own domestically built submarine. Additionally, there has been some discussion about Australia purchasing U.S.-made Virginia-class attack submarines in the interim to help mitigate this gap and help Australia develop its own infrastructure for building and maintaining nuclear- powered submarines.20 Marcus Hellyer of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) has raised the additional options of acquiring a conventional submarine, such as the Swedish A26, or a non-submarine option that uses other technology and domains to produce similar effects, such as B-21 bombers and specialized munitions.21


16 Marcus Hellyer, “Australia Already Has a Submarine Capability Gap,” The Strategist, November 5, 2021,

17 Anthony Galloway, “Expect Submarine Delays, Marles Says, as He Plans for Defence Capability Gap,” Sydney Morning Herald, June 6, 2022, marles-says-as-he-plans-for-defence-capability-gap-20220606-p5argk.html.

18 Department of Defence, “2016 Defence White Paper” (Australian Government, 2016), p91

19 Mallory Shelbourne, “New AUKUS Caucus Bill Calls for U.S.-Australia Sub Training Pipieline,” USNI News,n.d., pipeline.

20 Joseph Trevithick and Thomas Newdick, “Australia Was Poised To Get Virginia Class Nuclear Submarines Says Former Defense Minister,” The War Zone, June 10, 2022, says-former-defense-minister.

21 Marcus Hellyer and Andrew Nicholls, “How to Bridge the Capability Gap in Australia’s Transition to Nuclear-Powered Submarines,” The Strategist, July 21, 2022, bridge-the-capability-gap-in-australias-transition-to-nuclear-powered-submarines/.

Advanced Capabilities

During his visit to the United States in July of 2022, Australian Defence Minister Richard Marles emphasized the importance of the advanced capabilities line of effort of the AUKUS partnership. While most readers will understand the concepts of cyber capabilities and creating an ecosystem for innovation and information sharing between the three countries, the use of quantum technologies, artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomy, and hypersonics are less well understood. The following links provide more detailed information on several of these advanced capabilities:

Advanced Capabilities:


Artificial Intelligence and Autonomy:

Hypersonics and Counter-hypersonics:

Chapter Overview

The following chapters contain critical primary source material regarding the AUKUS partnership.

Chapter 1 – Joint Statements and Official Documents: This section provides a comprehensive collection of documents issued jointly by the three governments. The full text of the ENNPIA agreement and the fact sheet issued on April 5, 2022, provide the most information.

Chapter 2 – Australia Official Statements and Documents: This chapter contains public- facing material from the Australian government. Report 199 and the Australian National Interest Analysis provide in-depth examination of ENNPIA and its benefits to Australian national security. Report 199 also contains input from a minority of organizations that dissented to the AUKUS partnership and/or ENNPIA specifically.

Chapter 3 – United Kingdom Official Statements and Documents: While there are fewer official statements from the United Kingdom, the House of Commons summary of the AUKUS agreement provides an excellent summary of issues from the UK perspective and provides a useful section on additional reading that is very reflective of the articles and greater discourse surrounding AUKUS at the time of publication.

Chapter 4 – United States Official Statements and Documents: The U.S. chapter providesnot only the official releases of the Federal Government and Department of Defense, but also information from the offices of the congressional AUKUS working group and related publications from the Congressional Research Service.

Chapter 5 – International Official Statements and Documents: This chapter contains documents pertaining to the relationship between AUKUS’ nuclear submarine deal and nuclear non-proliferation, including statements from the IAEA and Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

Chapter 6 – Timeline of News and Commentary: This chapter includes a comprehensive (but not exhaustive) month-by-month timeline of major AUKUS developments and relevantcommentaries and analyses from experts in all three AUKUS member countries, and from countries across the region and the world.

Chapter 7 – Glossary

Chapter 1

Joint Statements and Official Documents

This chapter contains all the statements and official documents issued jointly by the three governments in the first year of the AUKUS partnership. Together they represent the coordinated public face of this partnership.

1.1 - Exchange of Naval Nuclear Propulsion Information Agreement (ENNPIA).

September 15, 2022

This is the text of the actual agreement between the three countries for Naval Nuclear propulsion information. The document’s preamble states upfront the rationale and key conditions of the agreement, emphasizing common defense objectives, existing arrangements for mutual defense, and a reaffirmation of the commitment to obligations under the NPT.

The rest of the document covers the technical issues including protection, classification, and dissemination of information, guaranties, provisions for intellectual property, and definitions. For example, a country may share its own nuclear propulsion information with another country outside of the agreement, but it may not share information that originated from another AUKUS member with a country outside of AUKUS.

In the final provisions section, the agreement requires a six-month notice if a country wishes to terminate the agreement.

The agreement also contains two annexes for technical requirements and security requirements.

1.2 - Joint Leaders Statement on AUKUS

September 15, 2022

This Joint Leaders Statement marked the official announcement of the creation of “an enhanced security partnership called ‘AUKUS.’” While the second paragraph emphasizes a “deeper” relationship to share a wide range of defense-related information (technology, science, industrial bases, supply chains), it was the third paragraph of the agreement that stole headlines and demonstrated the seriousness of the commitment. That paragraph highlights the commitment of the United States and the United Kingdom to support Australia in acquiring nuclear-powered submarines.

Other key points include:

  • An 18-month timeframe to develop “an optimal pathway,” thus giving the three governments time to work out some critical details. (March 15, 2023)
  • A commitment to maintaining strict adherence to nuclear non-proliferation standards.
  • Collaboration in other areas, including cyber, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, and (non-specific) undersea capabilities.

1.3 - Remarks by President and Prime Ministers

September 15, 2022

The on-the-record remarks of the three leaders added more clarity to the official joint statement. Prime Minister Scott Morrison emphasized how the agreement should enhance Australia’s contribution to the network of partnerships in the Indo-Pacific region, naming specifically ANZUS, ASEAN, the Quad, and Five Eyes, while also mentioning “bilateral strategic partners” and “…our dear Pacific family.” The Australian PM also made clear his administration’s intent to “build these submarines in Adelaide, Australia.” This commentsparked a great deal of analysis in the defense community in the following months as to just how long this would take.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson emphasized the original points from the joint statement, but also highlighted that the agreement would create highly skilled jobs across the United Kingdom.

President Joseph Biden emphasized the strategic advantages of the new relationship to address threats and maintain stability in the Indo-Pacific. He also took the opportunity to mention the importance of France’s role in the Indo-Pacific. (Note: A few days later, France would recall its Ambassador from the United States in protest of the deal.)

1.4 - AUKUS Leaders’ Level Statement

April 5, 2022

Almost seven months after the original AUKUS announcement, the three administrations released the AUKUS Leaders’ Level Statement, and each of the three governments published nearly identical fact sheets on the agreement. The public statement added “hypersonics and counter-hypersonics” as well as “electronic warfare” to the list of areas for expanded information sharing. Just six weeks earlier, Russia massively expanded its invasion of Ukraine in a “special military operation” on three fronts.

1.5 - FACT SHEET: Implementation of the AUKUS partnership

April 6, 2022

This published fact sheet disclosed the extent of behind-the-scenes discussions and high-level meetings. The fact sheet revealed that the partnership was framed around two lines of effort (submarines and advanced capabilities) and had a three-tiered structure for collaboration including a Senior Officials Group, joint steering groups, and lower-level working groups. The Senior Officials Group involves the national security advisors of all three countries meeting periodically to assess progress. There are two joint steering groups, one for each line of effort, and 17 working groups (nine for the submarines line of effort and eight related to the other advanced capabilities line of effort).

Key points:

  • Combined teams conducted site visits in Australia to determine the baseline of Australia’s nuclear stewardship, infrastructure, workforce, and capabilities.
  • The Australian government plans to establish a submarine base on its east coast.
  • The Australian government began the process of readying the infrastructure in South Australia for a nuclear-powered submarine construction yard.
  • AUKUS partners have been in consultations with the IAEA; the IAEA director issued a statement of confidence on March 7, 2022.
  • The advanced capabilities line of effort includes the following eight areas (likely reflective of the working groups):
    • The AUKUS Undersea Robotics Autonomous Systems (AURAS) project
    • The AUKUS Quantum Arrangement (AQuA) to accelerate investments to deliver quantum capabilities focused on positioning, navigation, and timing
    • Artificial intelligence and autonomy
    • Advanced cyber
    • Hypersonic and counter-hypersonic capabilities
    • Electronic warfare
    • Innovation
    • Information sharing

1.6 - Readout of AUKUS Joint Steering Group Meetings

July 31, 2022

This AUKUS Joint Steering Group readout emphasized the steps taken to meet the highest non-proliferation standards and highlighted progress in defining the optimal pathway to providing Australia with conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarines at the earliest possible date. The advanced capabilities working groups set a course to focus on bolstering combined military capabilities, including by accelerating near-term capabilities in hypersonics and counter-hypersonics, as well as cyber. The readout ended with a stated intent to engage with allies and partners on these and other critical defense technologies.

Chapter 2

Australia Official Statements and Documents

Australia is widely seen as the primary beneficiary of the AUKUS partnership. In essence, Australia has the most to gain and the most to lose in the arrangement. The loss of the sunk expenditure on the Naval Group submarine contract, the potential cost of nuclear-powered submarines, and the significant timeline to delivery, coupled with the related submarine capability gap, all make AUKUS a significant political issue in Australia. The official documents of the Australian government reflect the political debate in the Australian Parliament and the efforts of the Department of Defence to explain AUKUS to the general public and news media.

2.1 - Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Joint Statement on AUKUS

September 16, 2021

On the day following the announcement of the AUKUS partnership, Australian PM Morrison and Foreign Minister Marise Payne issued a joint statement focused on informing the general public of the agreement. In the statement, they emphasized the advantages of nuclear-powered submarines over conventional, diesel-powered submarines. They also dedicated several paragraphs to describing the decision to cancel the Attack-class conventional submarine program, which began in 2015 in partnership with France and Lockheed Martin Australia. The two leaders addressed concerns among constituents and the defence industry regarding the potential loss of jobs and the “talent pool” of the submarine workforce. The end of the statement emphasized  additional capabilities that Australia will acquire from the United States, including long-range strike capabilities, and a $1 billion investment to begin building a “sovereign guided weapons manufacturing enterprise.” Additional capabilities to be purchased include:

  • Tomahawk cruise missiles
  • Joint air-to-surface standoff missiles (extended range) (JASSM-ER)
  • Long-range anti-ship missiles (extended range) (LRASM)
  • Precision strike guided missiles for land forces (unspecified)

2.2 - Australia National Interest Analysis

Novermber 22, 2021

On November 22, 2021, the Australian Parliament issued its mandatory analysis of the “Agreement between the Government of Australia, the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the Government of the United States of America for the Exchange of Naval Nuclear Propulsion Information”(ENNPIA). This is a mandatory analysis for new treaties and international agreements or modifications to existing treaties. These are called Australian Treaty National Interest Analysis (ATNIA).

The analysis determined that the ENNPIA was in the national interest of Australia, stating:

  • “The ENNPIA contributes to Australia’s national interests by allowing Australia to access critical naval nuclear propulsion information from the United States and United Kingdom not otherwise available to Australia. Without access to such restricted information, Australian officials are unable to effectively determine the optimal pathway to acquire nuclear-powered submarines for the royal Australian navy. The ENNPIA is therefore necessary for Australia to adequately and appropriately consider the implications and associated obligations of pursuing the acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines.”

2.3 - Report 199 - Australian Parliament

December 2021

The Joint Standing Committee on Treaties of the Australian Parliament published this report of its review of the ENNPIA. The committee declared its support for the agreement and recommended that Parliament and the government take binding treaty action. The committee completed its review action in just seven days (rather than the standard 20).

Other key points:

  • The analysis points out that there is no provision for exchange of equipment.
  • Training or secondment activities will need additional negotiated agreements.
  • There is no dispute settlement mechanism.
  • $300 million was approved for the operation of the Nuclear-Powered Submarine Task Force (134 staff) to help determine the optimal “viable pathway.”
  • Australia notified the IAEA of its intent in the AUKUS partnership and will continue to engage the IAEA for at least 18months.
  • Nuclear propulsion is considered a non-proscribed military activity within the NPT regime. Non-proscribed military activities are not prohibited by the NPT.
  • Only six countries, all of them nuclear-armed, operate nuclear-powered submarines.

2.4 - Australian Government Brochures

The Australian Department of Defence published three two-page glossary papers on AUKUS as part of its public communications efforts.

AUKUS: Trilateral Security Partnership–Explains that AUKUS is a partnership aimed at deepening defence capability and technology cooperation between the three countries. It explains the strategic context and highlights the first major initiative for nuclear-powered submarines.

Exchange of Naval Nuclear Propulsion Information–Explains the specific agreement on naval nuclear propulsion and reaffirms the obligations of AUKUS partners under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

Nuclear Stewardship and Non-Proliferation–Explains Australia’s policy and the AUKUS commitment to abide by the NPT.

Chapter 3

United Kingdom Official Statements and Documents

The United Kingdom has provided fewer official documents on the AUKUS partnership. While the readout of the Joint Steering Group meetings provides much of the same information as the readouts from the other partner countries, the House of Commons publication on the AUKUS partnership provides a comprehensive early assessment of the partnership and serves as an informative companion to this briefing book.

3.1 - Readout of AUKUS Joint Steering Group Meetings

The readout of the two Joint Steering Group meetings published by the UK provided more detail on AUKUS deliberations than previous documents. According to the readout, the Joint Steering Groups met on separate days in Washington D.C. to discuss each of the two AUKUS lines of effort. Most notable was the additional information on the advanced capabilities. From this document and the subsequently produced Fact Sheets, we can see that hypersonics and counter-hypersonics, electronic warfare, innovation, and information sharing were all added to this line of effort.

Readout of AUKUS Joint Steering Group Meetings

UK Ministry of Defence
December 17, 2021

Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America recently held the inaugural meetings of the AUKUS Trilateral Joint Steering Groups, which were established as part of the governance structure of AUKUS in September 2021. The Joint Steering Group for Advanced Capabilities met on December 9 and the Joint Steering Group for Australia’s Nuclear-Powered Submarine Program met on December 14. Both meetings were held at the Pentagon.

The delegations reaffirmed the Leaders’ vision that was laid out in September 2021 and discussed the intensive work underway across the governments and the significant progress made in the three months since the announcement of AUKUS. The meetings were productive and the participants outlined next steps to continue the positive trajectory in implementation.

During the Joint Steering Group meeting on Advanced Capabilities, participants identified opportunities for collaboration on a range of critical capabilities and technologies. They committed to significantly deepen cooperation and enhance interoperability, and in so doing strengthen security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond. In particular, participants committed to finalising a program of work in relation to advanced capabilities by early 2022. Beyond the four initial areas of focus outlined in the Joint Leaders’ Statement on AUKUS–cyber capabilities, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, and additional undersea capabilities–participants also discussed other additional capabilities and agreed to identify potential opportunities for collaboration in those areas.

During the Joint Steering Group meeting on Australia’s Nuclear-Powered Submarine Program, the participants reaffirmed the trilateral commitment to bring the Australian capability into service at the earliest possible date. The delegations agreed on the next steps over the 18-month consultation period to define the optimal pathway for Australia to acquire nuclear-powered submarines, and for the Working Groups to examine in detail the critical actions necessary to establish an enduring program in Australia. The participants reviewed achievements since September, including the signing of the Exchange of Naval Nuclear Propulsion Information Agreement and the path forward to bring that into force, which will enable full and effective consultation between the governments over the 18-month period.

The participants also discussed how they will work to ensure that the submarine program upholds their longstanding leadership in global non-proliferation, including through continued close consultation with the International Atomic Energy Agency. The participants underscored that the three countries remain steadfast in support of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and its cornerstone, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. They reaffirmed that the three governments will comply with their respective non-proliferation obligations and commitments and that they intend to implement the strongest possible non-proliferation standards.

Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States look forward to continuing to build on this momentum as they work together to deliver advanced defense and technology capabilities, including an Australian nuclear-powered submarine capability.

3.2 - The AUKUS Agreement – House of Commons Library

October 11, 2021

This publication of the House of Commons library provides a holistic summary of major issues surrounding the AUKUS agreement from the UK perspective. Its early assessment of international reactions is particularly informative for understanding the geopolitical positioning of key countries in the region. It also provides a brief assessment of the significance of the partnership to each country and one of the earliest assessments of the long-term implications for non-proliferation. Finally, the document provides several early selections for further reading. Download the full report below.

Chapter 4

United States Official Statements and Documents

This chapter contains official background context on the U.S. motivations and intentions behind the formation and purpose of AUKUS, Congressional support for the pact, including a bipartisan bill in support of joint submarine officer training, as well as a research report regarding the nuclear information exchange component of the initiative.

4.1 - Background press Call on AUKUS

September 15, 2021

This background press call, a transcript of which was later published by the White House, was held the afternoon before US President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison jointly announce the creation of the trilateral security pact, AUKUS. It discusses the motivating reasons behind the formation of the pact, the various AUKUS initiatives and their role in upgrading capabilities to strengthen deterrence in the region, as well as each of the countries’ commitment to safeguarding the rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific.

4.2 - Message to Congress on AUKUS

December 1, 2021

This message from President Biden to the US Congress transmits the text of the “Agreement between the Government of the United States of America, the Government of Australia, and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the “United Kingdom”) for the Exchange of Naval Nuclear Propulsion Information” and expresses the President’s approval and authorization of the Agreement.

4.3 - Congressional Research Service Report: AUKUS Nuclear Cooperation

December 11, 2021

This Congressional Research Service report explains the substance of the “Agreement between the Government of the United States of America, the Government of Australia, and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the “United Kingdom”) for the Exchange of Naval Nuclear Propulsion Information”, as well as provisions of the Atomic Energy Act (AEA) of 1954, as amended (P.L. 83-703; 42 U.S.C. §§2153 et seq.), concerning the content and congressional review of such agreements.

4.4 - Formation of AUKUS Working Group Announcements

April 6, 2022

On the same day that the U.S. administration (and the other AUKUS partners) announced greater details on the AUKUS agreement and areas of collaboration, members of the U.S. House of representatives announced the formation of an AUKUS working group (aka The AUKUS Caucus) to serve as the “go-to” panel in the U.S. Congress for implementation of and collaboration on the new partnership.

4.5 - Australia – U.S. Submarine Officer Pipeline Act

The U.S. Submarine Officer Pipeline Act, a bipartisan bill, established an exchange program between the U.S. Navy and the Royal Australian Navy to integrate and train Australian sailors for the operation and maintenance of nuclear-powered submarines. Under the program, a minimum of two Australian submarine officers would be selected each year to participate in training with the U.S. Navy. Each such participant will:

  • Receive training in the Navy Nuclear Propulsion School.
  • Enroll in the Submarine Office Basic Course.
  • Be assigned to duty on an operational U.S. submarine at sea.

Chapter 5

International Official Statements and Documents

The documents in this chapter pertain to efforts made through the IAEA to subject activities related to AUKUS trilateral nuclear cooperation to special authorization and review procedures. One document focuses on the U.S., UK, and Australian disapproval of such attempts and pushes back against the suggestion made in the second document that the matter be submitted to an unprecedented IAEA intergovernmental decision-making process. The third document discusses efforts being made by the AUKUS member states to uphold standards in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

5.1 - Chinese Mission to United Nations: Statement by H.E. Ambassador Wang Qun on the Tri-Lateral Nuclear Submarine Cooperation under AUKUS

November 26, 2021

This statement by Wang Qun, Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Vienna, detailed China’s concern over the AUKUS countries’ decision to support Australia in acquiring eight nuclear-powered submarines and warned that such a move presents grave risks to non-proliferation norms. In addition, the statement expressed China’s belief that the pact constitutes the formation of a military bloc that will exacerbate geopolitical tensions in the region. The statement requested that the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom report to IAEA member states detailed information on the non-proliferation risks related to the deal and suggested that, since the matter goes beyond the existing mandate of the agency’s secretariat, it should be subject to a formula to be worked out by the IAEA through the intergovernmental process.

5.2 - AUKUS Statements: IAEA Board of Governors

June, 2022

This document includes the three statements of the US, UK, and Australian official representatives to the IAEA delivered to the IAEA Board of Governors in June 2022. The statements expressed disapproval of the continued efforts made to include an agenda item on AUKUS in the Board of Governors’ meetings as three countries see it as a politically-driven effort that detracts from other important matters that demand the attention of the board. The US, UK, and Australian officials emphasized the IAEA’s Director General’s satisfaction with the engagement and transparency shown by the three countries thus far and reiterated their combined commitment to continue trilateral cooperation in a manner that fully complies with and upholds non-proliferation standards.

Chapter 6

Timeline of News and Commentary

This chapter includes a comprehensive (but not exhaustive) timeline of major AUKUS developments and relevant commentaries and analyses from experts in all three AUKUS member countries, and from countries across the region and the world. Major themes discussed throughout the timeline include reactions to and repercussions of the AUKUS announcement, the strategic value of the pact for the region and each of the member countries, opportunities and challenges associated with the nuclear submarine deal and other areas of non-nuclear technological cooperation, regional receptions of the arrangement, and whether or how AUKUS fits into the growing regional architecture in the Indo-Pacific.

September 2021

As the month of the AUKUS announcement, September 2021 was inundated with expert and observer commentary on the promises and pitfalls of the trilateral defense technology sharing pact between the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. While this timeline seeks to be comprehensive, it is not exhaustive—for a robust list of further reading on analyses published in the month of the AUKUS announcement, please see the “Further Reading” section of the House of Commons report on the AUKUS agreement. Most immediate reactions focused on AUKUS’ headline initiative, a nuclear submarine technology sharing agreement between the US, UK, and Australia that will see Australia acquiring at least eight nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs). The announcement of AUKUS effectively cancelled Australia’s previous conventional submarine deal with France and much of the commentary focused on the repercussions for France’s relations with all three countries. Analysis diverged on the strategic value of AUKUS for the region and each of the member countries. The most common benefits of the deal discussed included cooperation in cyber, AI, and quantum computing to compete with China in technology innovation, application, and rule-making, and improving the military balance in the region. Yet other pieces highlighted concerns regarding proliferation risks as well as timelines for the delivery of SSNs to Australia. Commentaries discussed the individual benefits for each of the three AUKUS countries. For the United States, AUKUS helps fill a gap in meeting operational requirements in the region and further anchors the US to the region. For Australia, observers indicated that AUKUS removes any doubts on its strategic stance in the region regarding US-China competition and greatly enhances its military capabilities. Yet, observers pointed to the uncertainty of American politics and cautioned against the possible implication that AUKUS is tying Australian foreign policy too tightly to the US. For the UK, AUKUS is the most prominent example of a “Global Britain” and its ‘tilt’ towards the Indo-Pacific. Still, many reactions called into question the relevance of the UK’s role in AUKUS. Reactions to the announcement in Southeast Asia were mixed; Indonesia and Malaysia worried about proliferation risks and Singapore and the Philippines welcomed the deal’s contribution to regional security. Taiwan and Japan both expressed their support of the deal, while India greeted the deal in a more subdued manner. Beyond the submarine deal, experts highlighted additional AUKUS-related activities that have the potential to turn Australia into a staging post for US power projection and military operations.

AUKUS – Winners and Losers of the Trilateral Defense Technical Agreement
Date: 09/17/2021
Author: Diana Villiers Negroponte
Publication: Wilson Center

Could the AUKUS Deal Strengthen Deterrence Against China—And Yet Come at a Real Cost to Australia?
Date: 09/20/2021
Author: James Curran
Publication: Council on Foreign Relations – Asia Unbound

The real potential of AUKUS is about far more than submarines
Date: 09/20/2021
Author: Fergus Hanson and Danielle Cave
Publication: Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) – The Strategist

What Does the AUKUS Deal Provide its Participants in Strategic Terms?
Date: 09/21/2021
Author: Sidharth Kaushal
Publication: Royal United Services Institute (RUSI)

Australia seeks to calm ASEAN nerves over AUKUS, nuclear weapons
Date: 09/21/2021
Author: Kentaro Iwamoto
Publication: Nikkei Asian Review

Why the AUKUS Submarine Deal Is Bad for Nonproliferation—And What to Do About It
Date: 09/21/2021
Author: James M. Acton
Publication: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

AUKUS, a Golden Opportunity for “Global Britain”?
Date: 09/23/2021
Author: Georgina Wright
Publication: Institut Montaigne

AUKUS: France’s strategic outcry
Date: 09/24/2021
Author: Eglantine Staunton
Publication: Lowy Institute – The Interpreter

Far from breaking with the past, AUKUS advances Australia’s commitment to collective defence
Date: 09/24/2021
Author: Ashley Townshend
Publication: Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) – The Strategist

Don’t Sink the Nuclear Submarine Deal: The Benefits of AUKUS Outweigh the Proliferation Risks
Date: 09/27/2021
Author: Caitlin Talmadge
Publication: Foreign Affairs

AUKUS: Good Goals, Bad Implementation
Date: 09/27/2021
Author: Bradley Bowman and Mark Montgomery
Publication: DefenseOne

AUKUS is deeper than just submarines
Date: 09/29/2021
Author: Arzan Tarapore
Publication: East Asia Forum

China’s AUKUS Response Highlights Beijing’s Bunker Mentality
Date: 09/30/2021
Author: Bonnie Girard
Publication: The Diplomat

October 2021

As the dust began to settle following the excitement and speculation surrounding the AUKUS announcement, much of the analysis in October highlighted potential challenges for effectively and efficiently implementing the submarine deal. Some of the potential challenges discussed included cost, timeframe, safety, negotiations on what proportion of the subs would be built in Australia, infrastructure requirements for their arrival, uncertainty regarding which nuclear regulatory regime the subs would operate under, negotiations on education and training matters, and nuclear maintenance. While many experts focused on the issues associated with the protracted timeline for submarine delivery, others pointed out near-term benefits of the arrangement, such as AUKUS-related US aircraft deployments to Australia. Contrary to analyses that argued AUKUS enhances deterrence in the Indo-Pacific, other observers contented that AUKUS would only contribute to a regional arms race in Asia, increase tensions, and potentially cause China and Russia to double down on their own naval partnership. Some critiques of the deal pointed to the over-militarization of US Asia policy and failure to address other important issues in the region, namely in the economic sphere. Several pieces highlighted AUKUS as evidence of an updated US approach to the region—one that increasingly prioritizes minilateralism and elevates the importance of the maritime domain. Commentaries continued to track the post-AUKUS fall-out with France. Of note, observers called attention to France’s decision to undergo a strategic review of its Indo- Pacific policy and pointed out the potential shift to prioritize France-Japan and France- India partnerships over Anglo-French cooperation in the region.

More Than Submarines: Implications of AUKUS in the Air Domain
Date: 10/05/2021
Author: Douglas D. Jackson
Publication: Council of Foreign Relations – Asia Unbound

In defence of AUKUS
Date: 10/05/2021
Author: Oriana Skylar Mastro and Zack Cooper
Publication: Lowy Institute – The Interpreter

The AUKUS trade-off
Date: 10/11/20
Author: Dana Allin and Erik Jones
Publication: International Institutes for Strategic Studies (IISS) – The Survival Editors’ Blog

AUKUS: U.S. Navy Nuclear-Powered Forward Presence Key to Australian Nuclear Submarine and China Deterrence
Date: 10/12/2021
Author: Brett Sadler
Publication: Heritage Foundation

AUKUS and the dawn of realpolitik minilateralism in the Indo-Pacific
Date: 10/13/21
Author: Alessio Patalano
Publication: Nikkei Asian Review

Southeast Asian Responses to AUKUS: Arms Racing, Non-Proliferation and Regional Stability
Date: 10/14/2021
Author: William Choong and Ian Storey
Publication: ISEAS Yusof Ishak Institute

AUKUS spurs French strategic review with tilt toward Japan, India
Date: 10/19/2021
Author: Eri Sugiura
Publication: Nikkei Asian Review

America Is Turning Asia Into a Powder Keg: The Perils of a Military-First Approach
Date: 10/22/2021
Author: Van Jackson
Publication: Foreign Affairs

AUKUS and Australia’s Nuclear Capabilities
Date: 10/27/2021
Author: Mercy A. Kuo
Publication: The Diplomat

The unintended consequences of the AUKUS deal
Date: 10/29/2021
Author: Lyle Goldstein
Publication: Defense News

November 2021

In November, AUKUS progressed with Australia’s signing of the The Exchange of Naval Nuclear Propulsion Information Agreement, or ENNPIA, marking the initial steps towards implementing the nuclear-powered submarine deal. Analyses continued to grapple with the implications of AUKUS for each of the member countries, the region, and the globe. Much of the commentary focused on the specific benefits and drawbacks for Australia of AUKUS, with several pieces contending Australia to be the main player with the most to gain (and lose) from the deal. Yet, other observers sought to highlight the UK’s central role in initiating AUKUS amidst minimization of its relevance in some commentaries, and still others pointed to the myriad factors that motivated US interests in AUKUS. In acknowledgement of the US-France Joint Statement issued at the end of October, some observers contended that bilateral relations were on the mend. Experts weighed in on the possibility of Japan joining AUKUS in the future. Commentary on the implications for and reception of AUKUS in the Pacific Islands suggested misalignment between Australian and Pacific Islander interests.

What drove the United States to AUKUS?
Date: 11/03/2021
Author: Charles Edel
Publication: Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) – The Strategist

AUKUS and Australia’s relations in the Pacific
Date: 11/04/2021
Author: Soli Middleby, Anna Powles, and Joanne Wallis
Publication: East Asia Forum

It’s AUKUS, not A(UK)US
Date: 11/10/2021
Author: Euan Graham
Publication: Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) – The Strategist

Japan ‘more than willing’ to help ensure AUKUS success
Date: 11/12/2021
Author: Jack Norton
Publication: Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) – The Strategist

AUKUS, Japan and the Indo-Pacific: Strategic rationales and challenges
Date: 11/2021
Author: Michito Tsuroka
Publication: European University Institute

The AUKUS Trilateral Security Partnership and what It Means for Australia
Date: 11/15/2021
Author: Thomas Wilkins
Publication: Sasakawa Peace Foundation

After the AUKUS Crisis, Are France-U.S. Relations Back on Track?
Date: 11/16/2021
Author: Pierre Macros
Publication: Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)

Australia Signs Nuclear Propulsion Sharing Agreement with U.K., U.S.
Date: 11/22/2021
Author: Dzirhan Mahadzir
Publication: USNI News

Why did AUKUS happen? Because the World Changed
Date: 11/24/2021
Author: Michael Shoebridge
Publication: The International Centre for Defence and Security (ICDS)

December 2021

In December, Australia, the UK, and the US held the inaugural meetings of the AUKUS Trilateral Joint Steering Groups at the Pentagon. The debate maintained a focus on what each of the member countries stands to gain or lose through AUKUS, with some observers arguing that AUKUS was not a strong signal of US commitment to the region. Commentators continued to contest whether and to what degree AUKUS curtailed Australian sovereignty over its foreign and defense policy. Experts extended analysis on what AUKUS means for the UK and underscored the benefits to the British economy and military industries. Experts weighed in on AUKUS’ implications for Taiwan, maintaining it represented a near-term success in signaling resolve to deter China, but arguing that more needed to be done directly with Taiwan. Opinions in India remained divided on whether AUKUS provided more maneuverability in its relations with China, complemented or detracted from the Quad, and enhanced security in the Indian Ocean or detracted from Indian influence. Concerns surrounding AUKUS’ implications for nonproliferation continued to be a focus of much of the analysis as China and Russia raised the issue at the IAEA Board of Governors meeting. The discourse on AUKUS continued to expand beyond the nuclear submarine deal to place more emphasis on the technology-related aspects of cooperation as well as how AUKUS fits into the evolving Indo-Pacific architecture.

What is AUKUS and what is it not?
Date: 12/2021
Author: Michael Shoebridge
Publication: Australian Strategic Policy Institute

AUKUS sub deal triggers debate on nuclear safeguards
Date: 12/01/2021
Author: Fumi Matsumoto and Koya Jibiki
Publication: Nikkei Asian Review

AUKUS: Why Britain Was the Big Winner
Date: 12/02/2021
Author: David Camroux
Publication: The Diplomat

SPECIAL REPORT: U.S., Australia Increasing Tech Transfer to Take on China
Date: 12/10/2021
Author: Yasmin Tadjdeh
Publication: National Defense

AUKUS and the Indo-Pacific: Stakeholders Weigh their Wins and Losses
Date: 12/10/2021
Author: Harsh V. Pant and Rahul Kamath
Publication: Observer Research Foundation

Changing My Mind About AUKUS
Date: 12/16/2021
Author: Sam Roggeveen
Publication: War on the Rocks

How the United States Can Use AUKUS to Strengthen Nuclear Nonproliferation
Date: 12/16/2021
Author: Ariel (Eli) Levite and Toby Dalton
Publication: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Australian parliamentary inquiry upholds AUKUS information agreement
Date: 12/17/2021
Publication: Kyodo News

AUKUS Short- and Long-Term Implications for Taiwan
Date: 12/28/2021
Author: Fu S. Mei
Publication: Pacific Forum – PacNet

January 2022

In January, the Australian and British Foreign and Defence Ministers held talks for the first time since the AUKUS pact was announced, emphasizing the importance of the three countries’ cooperation in cyberspace, quantum technology, and AI. The discourse on AUKUS shifted to place a greater emphasis on the possibility of expanding the pact to include other partners, such as South Korea and Japan. Commentators explored how AUKUS may contribute to a shift toward multipolarity in the Indo-Pacific. Other analysis highlighted the connection between ensuring AUKUS’ enduring success and the need to remove impediments to tactical-to-national integration across the Australian national security enterprise.

Australia’s AUKUS Opportunity: Fixing National to Tactical 
Date: 01/03/2022
Author: Douglas Robertson and Chris McInnes
Publication: ADBR

AUKUS, Alliance Coordination, and South Korea
Date: 01/04/2022
Author: Sea Young (Sarah) Kim
Publication: Korea Economic Institute of America

Reshaping the Indo-Pacific Construct through Strategic Geopolitical Convergences: AUKUS as a Harbinger of a Multipolar Hegemony in the Religion
Date: 01/20/2022
Author: Rashi Randev
Publication: Air University – Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs

Australia, Britain work on advancing AUKUS deal as China’s clout grows
Date: 01/21/2022
Publication: South China Morning Post

Is ‘AUKUS Plus’ a Viable Option?
Date: 01/26/2022
Author: Jagannath Panda
Publication: The Diplomat

February 2022

In February, the three Foreign Ministers of the member countries met to discuss progress made in implementing initiatives within the AUKUS trilateral security partnership, and the Exchange of Naval Nuclear Propulsion Information Agreement entered into force this month. In another February development, the diplomatic repercussions of the AUKUS announcement continued as France removed Australia from its list of key Indo-Pacific partners. Analysts highlighted the steps Australia took to safeguard nonproliferation norms and underscored the importance of Australia’s membership in both AUKUS and the Quad, the two primary groupings that are expected to have the most impact on how regional and international orders are rearranged. Polling on Southeast Asian views of regional groupings revealed mixed opinions on AUKUS, with a slight lean toward negative perceptions related to concerns over the weakening of ASEAN centrality, a regional arms race in Asia, and the risk of undermining the nuclear weapons regime against proliferation.

The Quad and AUKUS show messy, creative democracies hard a work
Date: 02/14/2022
Author: Michael Shoebridge
Publication: Australian Strategic Policy Insititue (ASPI) – The Strategist

AUKUS partners ready to exchange naval nuclear propulsion information
Date: 02/22/2022
Author: Fatima Bahtić
Publication: Naval Today

AUKUS: France drops Australia as key Indo-Pacific partner after sub snub 
Date: 02/23/2022
Publication: South China Morning Post

Southeast Asians’ View of Quad and AUKUS: Some Thaw, But Not Yet Warm
Date: 02/23/2022
Author: William Choong
Publication: Flucrum

March 2022

In March, former Australian Prime Minister Morrison revealed that a new submarine base would be built on the east coast of Australia to support the nation’s future nuclear- powered submarines, providing deployment opportunities in both the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Analysts suggested that, given their shared values and strategic visions for the Indo-Pacific, an AUKUS-France partnership should be seriously considered. Commentaries argued the need for both Quad and AUKUS member countries to reconcile the groupings’ exclusive orientations with more inclusive agendas by better articulating their benefit to the region. Experts explained the significant potential of AUKUS to revolutionize the way partner countries co-develop and co-produce armaments while underscoring the various barriers that must be first be overcome to achieve that goal.

Australia to Build Additional Submarine Base to Bolster Its Efforts Under AUKUS Pact
Date: 03/07/2022
Author: Fatima Bahtić
Publication: Naval Today
Reframing France’s Relationship With AUKUS
Date: 03/18/2022
Author: Simmi Saini Wittlåck
Publication: Institute for Security and Development Policy — ISDP Voices

AUKUS, The QUAD and the EU: Inclusive and Exclusive Visions for the Info-Pacific
Date: 03/18/2022
Author: Rory Medcalf
Publication: Italian Institute for International Political Studies

Making AUKUS Work
Date: 03/22/2022
Author: Jennifer D.P. Moroney and Alan Tidwell
Publication: Rand — The Rand Blog

April 2022

April was a busy month for AUKUS, with the leaders of the three member countries issuing a joint statement and releasing a fact sheet on the implementation of AUKUS. The joint statement’s mention of furthering technology cooperation to include hypersonics and electronic warfare capabilities was a focus of much of the analysis. Experts argued that this enhanced focus on the non-nuclear technological cooperation could open avenues for cooperation with other partners. The U.S. Congress also announced that an AUKUS Working Group would be formed. Of additional note, reports about Japan’s informal invitation to join AUKUS—which turned out to be false— prompted a flurry of expert commentary on the benefits of and barriers to realizing “JAUKUS.” Debate continued about what the implications of AUKUS meant for the three member countries and whether the grouping might function as a de facto alliance.

Is AUKUS really an ‘Alliance’?
Date: 04/01/2022
Author: Thomas Wilkins
Publication: National University of Singapore — Institute of South Asian Studies

AUKUS submarine deal gets a boost in US congress
Date: 04/02/2022
Author: Farrah Tomazin
Publication: The Sydney Morning Herald

AUKUS can be a good platform for cooperation with India
Date: 04/04/2022
Author: David Brewster
Publication: Lowy Institute — The Interpreter

AUKUS nations commit to developing hypersonic, drone subs, cyber
Date: 04/05/2022
Author: Colin Clark
Publication: Breaking Defense

The Case for ‘JAUKUS’
Date: 04/15/2022
Author: Philip Shetler-Jones
Publication: Japan Forward

AUKUS Members Strengthen Cooperation in Developing Hypersonic Missles
Date: 04/25/2022
Publication: Warsaw Institute

May 2022

In May, analyses of AUKUS placed it in the broader developing regional architecture in the Indo-Pacific. Observers focused on whether, and how, it fit alongside other groupings like the Quad and how regional players’ (dis)engagement with AUKUS could shape its future trajectory. Experts weighed in on the specific challenges Australia faces in implementing and sustaining AUKUS and highlighted the need to invest more in the foreign service. Commentators continued to speculate on AUKUS’ near-to-mid-term implications for Australia.

ASPI AUKUS update 1: May 2022
Date: 05/2022
Author: Marcus Hellyer and Ben Stevens
Publication: Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) — Strategic Insights

Making Australia fit for AUKUS
Date: 05/04/2022
Author: Lesley Seebeck
Publication: Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) — The Strategist

AUKUS and the Eastern Indo-Pacfic’s Evolving Security Architecture
Date: 05/10/2022
Author: Girish Luthra
Publication: Observer Research Foundation

AUKUS: More than meets the eye
Date: 05/17/2022
Author: Jada Fraser
Publication: Low Institute — The Interpreter

How Much Will AUKUS Change Australia?
Date: 05/24/2022
Author: Zack Cooper
Publication: Marsh McLennan – Brink

June 2022

A major development for AUKUS in June, the U.S. Congress introduced the bipartisan “Australia-U.S. Submarine Officer Pipeline Act,” which would help the Royal Australian Navy train its future submarine warfare officers with U.S. sailors. Experts underscored the need to address the challenges to AUKUS-related technology cooperation posed by the U.S. export control process. Meanwhile, China sought to halt progress on the nuclear submarine deal by maintaining that every IAEA member must reach a consensus and decide on the matter jointly before the three AUKUS countries take any further action. In another nuclear-related development, physicists proposed a new method for inspecting nuclear fuel onboard SSNs that would not endanger military secrets. Australia-France relations took a step forward with new Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese vowing to mend the bilateral relationship and announcing that the country would pay a €555m ($584m; £476m) settlement with France’s Naval Group. Analyses reflected on the messy conception of AUKUS but concluded that it will have important long-term implications, particularly for Australia, as an important addition to the growing minilateral architecture in the region. Commentators picked up on comments made by the Australian Defence Minister that U.S. and Australian forces must not be just interoperable but “interchangeable.” Some see this as further evidence that Australia is ceding foreign policy autonomy to its alliance partner.

The Quad and AUKUS strengthen Australia’s hand in a contested Into-Pacific
Date: 06/01/2022
Author: Thomas Wilkins
Publication: Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) — The Strategist

The NTIB Is Dying: Is AUKUS Next? Congress Must Apply Life Support Soon
Date: 06/01/2022
Author: William C. Greenwalt
Publication: American Enterprise Institute

China says all IAEA member states must agree before AUKUS nuclear sub project begins
Date: 06/07/2022
Author: Liu Zhen
Publication: South China Morning Post

New AUKUS Caucus Bill Calls for U.S.-Australia Sub Training Pipeline
Date: 06/15/2022
Author: Mallory Shelbourne
Publication: USNI News

AUKUS: Australia’s new PM vows ‘reset’ with France after submarine row
Date: 06/24/2022
Author: Tiffanie Turnbull
Publication: BBC News

Nuclear breakthrough hands AUKUS deal huge boost to safeguard military secrets
Date: 06/26/2022
Author: Ian Randall
Publication: Express

July 2022

While AUKUS commentary continued to spotlight the nuclear submarine deal as speculation swirled on whether Australia would be supplied with British or American subs, several pieces highlighted the importance of the partnership’s cooperation in critical defense technologies. Remarks by Australian Defence Minister Marles on the intent to bring U.S.-Australia interoperability into a new era of “interchangeability” prompted reactions ranging from excited approval to wary caution. Also of note, two Chinese think tanks published a report on AUKUS that strongly condemns the partnership.

Laying the foundations for AUKUS: Strengthening Australia’s high-tech ecosystem in support of advanced capabilities
Date: 07/07/2022
Author: Jennifer Jackett
Publication: United States Studies Center

Australian Defense Minister: AUKUS Subs a Huge Project to ‘Pull Off’
Date: 07/07/2022
Author: Richard R. Burgess
Publication: Sea Power Magazine

France can help Albanese fix AUKUS
Date: 07/14/2022
Author: Alan Kuperman
Publication: Lowy Institute — The Interpreter

Australia to Pick Nuclear Submarine Design in Early 2023, Says Official
Date: 07/14/2022
Author: Heather Mongilio
Publication: USNI News

AUKUS innovation potential is bigger than the subs
Date: 07/18/2022
Author: Joseph Brookes
Publication: InnovationAUS

Australia almost no chance to buy any submarine from current US building program, experts say
Date: 07/20/2022
Author: Tory Shepherd
Publication: The Guardian

CACDA Succesfully Held the Press Conference about the Research Report on the Nuclear Proliferation Risk of AUKUS Collaboration on Nuclear-powered Submarines
Date: 07/20/2022
Author: 军控协会
Publication: China Arms Control and Disarmament Association

Beijing warns AUKUS submarine project sets a ‘dangerous precedent’ and threatens non-proliferation
Date: 07/21/2022
Author: Stephen Dziedzic
Publication: ABC News

How to bridge the capability gap in Australia’s transition to nuclear-powered submarines
Date: 07/21/2022
Author: Marcus Hellyer and Andrew Nicholls
Publication: Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) — The Strategist

Marles’ alliance rapture discards Australia’s self-reliance
Date: 07/24/2022
Author: James Curran
Publication: The Financial Review

French navy warns AUKUS nuclear submarine plan will be ‘much more difficult’ for Australia
Date: 07/24/2022
Author: Andrew Greene
Publication: ABC News

Indonesia criticizes submarine loophole in nuclear non-proliferation treaty that underpins AUKUS deal
Date: 07/29/2022
Author: Stephen Dziedzic
Publication: ABC News

Chapter 7


AEA – Atomic Energy Act of 1954

ANZUS – Australia-New Zealand-United States Security Treaty

ASEAN – Association of Southeast Asian Nations

ATNIA – Australian Treaty National Interest Analysis

AUKUS – The enhanced trilateral security partnership between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States

AURAS – AUKUS Undersea Robotics Autonomous Systems

AQUA – AUKUS Quantum Arrangement

ENNPIA – Exchange of Naval Nuclear Propulsion Information Agreement

IAEA – International Atomic Energy Agency

JASSM-ER – Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (Extended Range)

LRASM – Long-Range Anti-Ship Missiles (Extended Range)

NPT – Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons

NTIB – National Technology and Industrial Base

SSN – Nuclear-powered attack submarines