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Austin Says Progress Made on Developing Australia's Nuclear-Powered Subs

Australian, United Kingdom and U.S. officials met today to discuss AUKUS, the security pact between the three allies.

Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles 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. 

A group of people meet around a large table.
Pentagon Meeting
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III meets with British Secretary of State for Defense Ben Wallace and Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles at the Pentagon, Dec. 7, 2022.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Alexander Kubitza
VIRIN: 221207-D-PM193-2076

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. 

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. 

People crowd on a dock to look at a submarine.
Submarine Mooring
Virginia-class submarine USS New Hampshire is moored at Electric Boat shipyard in Groton, Conn., June 21, 2008.
Photo By: Navy Seaman John Narewski
VIRIN: 080621-O-D0439-001

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. 

A submarine is docked at a pier.
Port Visit
Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine USS West Virginia conducts a port visit at U.S. Navy Support Facility, Diego Garcia during a scheduled patrol, Oct. 25, 2022.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Jan David De Luna Mercado
VIRIN: 221025-N-EJ241-1118A

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. 

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