BLUF

ASPI’s Peter Jennings argues that Australia’s decision to purchase nuclear-powered submarines was the right decision.

Summary

ASPI’s Peter Jennings believes that now, more than at any time since the end of World War II, the strategic interests of Australia, the US and the UK closely align—and the new AUKUS alliance (Australia, the UK and the US) is a very good start. Jennings argues that:

  • AUKUS must pool its scientific, industrial and defence capabilities in ways that add strength to a collective and successful pushback against Beijing.
  • Washington expects Australia to look after its own security needs and play a leading role in stabilising the Pacific and Southeast Asia.
  • The Alliance and new submarine deal will come at a cost. Australia may have to increase Defence spending to around three or even four per cent of GDP.
  • Even if the intent is to build onshore, the immediate objective should be to get the first few Australian boats built in either the UK or the US.
  • Australia must also start preparing by training a large cadre of nuclear-trained personnel.
  • Work must commence on a new east-coast Navy base (Port Kembla may be the best choice).
  • Australia needs to make a substantial effort in restoring our relationship with France.

Jennings argues that AUKUS will likely cause China to pause and think about its international risk-taking. The stronger AUKUS is, he says, the less likely there will be an attack on Taiwan.