Australia’s Deputy PM Pushes for AUKUS Progress on US and UK Trip

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Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles is set to embark on a trip to the United States and the United Kingdom to accelerate progress on the AUKUS security partnership. As part of this partnership, Australia aims to purchase nuclear-powered submarines from the US within the next decade. Marles, who is also Australia’s defense minister, plans to hold meetings with top US defense officials, including Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and the secretary of the navy. Additionally, he intends to meet with key figures in the UK, such as Grant Shapps, the new British Secretary of State for Defence, and Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden.

Marles expressed his enthusiasm about the visit, highlighting the opportunity to strengthen ties with his counterparts in the US and the UK. He emphasized the significance of building on the progress that has been made so far in Australia’s acquisition of conventionally-armed, nuclear-powered submarines.

The timing of Marles’ trip coincides with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s recent visit to the US, during which he urged lawmakers to pass the necessary legislation for the AUKUS deal to move forward. Over the past year, concerns have been raised in the US Congress regarding the potential impact of the deal on the country’s military readiness, leading to delays in legislation related to technology sharing between Australia and the US.

The AUKUS agreement, signed in September 2021, aims to establish a comprehensive security and technology pact between Australia, the UK, and the US. Its key objective is to enable Australia to operate its own fleet of nuclear-powered submarines by the 2030s. The agreement also seeks to facilitate cooperation and sharing of technology and research in critical areas like quantum computing and artificial intelligence.

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However, an independent congressional report published in October 2022 raised concerns that the sale of US-made Virginia-class nuclear-powered submarines to Australia could result in a reduction in the number of vessels available to the American navy. The report highlighted the difficulties and costs associated with increasing production to compensate for the submarines sold to Australia. Furthermore, due to Australia’s control over the submarines, their participation in any specific conflict cannot be guaranteed, as emphasized in the report.

In a leaked letter from December 2022, two prominent US senators echoed similar concerns, urging President Joe Biden to prevent a potential shortage of vessels for the US Navy.

Despite these concerns, both Albanese and Biden expressed confidence last week that the necessary AUKUS legislation would soon be passed by Congress. Australia also plans to introduce its own comparable legislation before the end of 2023.

In conclusion, Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles is embarking on a US and UK visit to expedite progress on the AUKUS security partnership. The aim is to enable Australia to acquire nuclear-powered submarines from the US within the next decade. However, concerns raised in the US Congress about potential impacts on military readiness and vessel availability have led to delays in corresponding legislation. The AUKUS agreement is expected to strengthen security cooperation among Australia, the UK, and the US, while also fostering technology and research collaboration in critical areas.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Related to the Above News

What is the purpose of Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles' trip to the United States and the United Kingdom?

Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles' trip aims to accelerate progress on the AUKUS security partnership and facilitate the acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines from the US by Australia.

Who will Marles be meeting during his trip?

Marles plans to hold meetings with top US defense officials, including Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and the secretary of the navy. He also intends to meet with key figures in the UK, such as the British Secretary of State for Defence, Grant Shapps, and Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden.

What is the AUKUS agreement?

The AUKUS agreement is a comprehensive security and technology pact between Australia, the UK, and the US. Its main objective is to enable Australia to operate its own fleet of nuclear-powered submarines by the 2030s. The agreement also promotes cooperation and technology sharing in critical areas like quantum computing and artificial intelligence.

What concerns have been raised in the US Congress about the AUKUS deal?

Concerns have been raised about the potential impact of the deal on the US military's readiness and the reduction in the number of available vessels for the American navy. There have been delays in passing legislation related to technology sharing between Australia and the US due to these concerns.

What does the independent congressional report published in October 2022 say about the AUKUS deal?

The report raised concerns about the potential shortage of vessels for the US Navy if US-made submarines are sold to Australia. It highlighted the difficulties and costs associated with increasing production to compensate for the submarines sold to Australia. The report also emphasized the uncertainty of Australia's participation in specific conflicts due to their control over the submarines.

How confident are Prime Minister Albanese and President Biden about the AUKUS legislation being passed in Congress?

Both Prime Minister Albanese and President Biden expressed confidence that the necessary AUKUS legislation would soon be passed by Congress.

When is Australia planning to introduce its own legislation in relation to the AUKUS deal?

Australia plans to introduce its own comparable legislation regarding the AUKUS deal before the end of 2023.

Please note that the FAQs provided on this page are based on the news article published. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, it is always recommended to consult relevant authorities or professionals before making any decisions or taking action based on the FAQs or the news article.

Advait Gupta
Advait Gupta
Advait is our expert writer and manager for the Artificial Intelligence category. His passion for AI research and its advancements drives him to deliver in-depth articles that explore the frontiers of this rapidly evolving field. Advait's articles delve into the latest breakthroughs, trends, and ethical considerations, keeping readers at the forefront of AI knowledge.

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