Dec 7, 2022
Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles, who also serves as defense minister, and British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace met with Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark A. Milley at the Pentagon.
Since September 2021 when the trilateral security partnership was announced, progress has been made toward Australia acquiring conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarines, Austin said.
The United States is committed to ensuring that Australia acquires this capability at the earliest possible date and in adherence with the highest nonproliferation standards, Austin added.
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The three nations have also accelerated the development of other advanced capabilities for warfighters, Austin said.
"More than ever, our three countries here have similar outlook on the key challenges and opportunities confronting our world. AUKUS will enhance our shared ability to sustain peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific," Austin said.
Echoing Austin's remarks, Marles said the three nations are working hard to pursue nuclear-powered submarines for Australia and other advanced military capabilities.
The importance of pursuing these advancements comes at a time where the strategic circumstances around the world are complex and serious, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region, he added.
Before coming to the Pentagon, Marles visited submarine builder Electric Boat, where he viewed the complexity of building nuclear-powered submarines.
Wallace described the trilateral relations as strong and enduring with the shared values of freedom, democracy and rule of law, along with freedom of navigation.
Nuclear-powered submarines and other advanced capabilities will provide Australia with strategic reach, he said.
"We will do everything we can to help get you at that capability," Wallace said.