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Security & Defence PLuS welcomes AUKUS “optimal pathway”

14 March, 2023

Security & Defence PLuS, an education and research program between Arizona State University, King’s College London, and the University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney), welcomes the AUKUS “optimal pathway” announcement today in San Diego, made jointly by President Joe Biden, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

The Executive Director of Security & Defence PLuS, Vice Admiral (Ret’d) Professor Paul Maddison said the announcement paves the way for a new era of close cooperation between the three countries.

“The optimal pathway to a nuclear-propelled, conventionally armed submarine capability for the Royal Australian Navy announced today, provides an elegant, innovative, achievable, and truly joint solution reflecting the deep strategic trust underlying the relationship between Australia, the UK, and the US,” Prof Maddison said.

Of equal significance is the commitment for greater collaboration on the AUKUS “Pillar Two” capabilities such as cyber and artificial intelligence. This is where the three defence departments, defence industries, and research ecosystems will come together to accelerate the generation of competitive advantages in military capabilities, from seabed to space.

“We see the higher education system playing an increased role in the delivery of the AUKUS agreement,” Prof Maddison said.

“Universities are pivotal in informing all aspects of defence force generation, including educating uniformed leaders, leading public discourse on global security, and translating research across all aspects of defence activity into disruptive capabilities for our armed forces and security agencies.”

“As the strategic warning time for major regional conflict continues to be significantly reduced, the need for universities like ours to make critical contributions to national security interests has grown.

“At our three universities, our goal is for Security & Defence PLuS to be viewed by governments and industry as the higher education sector’s key enabler of AUKUS’s education and research requirements.”

Security & Defence PLuS was formed in the spirit of AUKUS and has brought together three globally impactful universities in each of the AUKUS nations to deliver joint education programs and research outcomes aligned with the tripartite strategic intent of the AUKUS agreement.

Most recently, Security & Defence PLuS has established a professional development course to increase understanding of AUKUS trilateral security partnership, and its potential impact on regional and global security. The course, AUKUS in Context: Security and Strategy Implications for the Indo-Pacific and Globally,, will examine key aspects of the partnership, the potential challenges and strategic value of the pact for each member country, and how AUKUS fits into the regional architecture in the Indo-Pacific and globally. Register here:

For more broader information about Security and Defence PLuS visit