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Austin Notes Progress on Development of Australia's Nuclear-Powered Sub

The U.S. and Australia signaled their continued commitment to AUKUS, which is the trilateral security pact among Australia, the United Kingdom and the U.S., formed in 2021, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said today.

"We've already made significant progress on developing the optimal pathway for Australia to acquire a conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarine capability at the earliest possible date. Our discussion today will help us to make further progress in our alliances and trilateral reach with AUKUS," the defense secretary said as he hosted an honor cordon and meeting at the Pentagon, welcoming Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Richard Marles.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Richard Marles pose for a photo on the steps on the Pentagon.
Pentagon Meeting
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Richard Marles participate in an honor cordon during a bilateral exchange at the Pentagon, Feb. 3, 2023.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Alexander Kubitza
VIRIN: 230203-D-PM193-3036

Austin said that in his December meeting with Marles, they agreed to deepen defense cooperation and force posture and to strengthen coordination on regional priorities. At that meeting they also agreed to increase resilience in the face of climate change and better integrate the defense industry.  

"We also pledged to find new ways to work closely with Japan, as we pursue a common vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific, as a region where all countries can chart their own course and all states respect international rules and norms and where all disputes are resolved peacefully," he said.

"All of this is yet another reminder that our unbreakable alliance is capable of great things. It has, indeed, endured for generations, and it remains vital to regional peace and security," Austin said.

U.S. and Australian sailors stand on a submarine.
Training Time
U.S. sailors assigned to the USS Mississippi and explosive ordnance support personnel from Thales Australia lower an inert Tomahawk missile training shape into the submarine while moored at HMAS Stirling Navy Base on Garden Island, Dec. 1, 2022.
Photo By: Marine Corps Lance Cpl. John Hall
VIRIN: 221201-M-AS595-1110
A jet soars into the air.
Mission Ready
An EA-18G Growler with the 82nd Wing, Royal Australian Air Force, Amberley, Australia, takes off for a mission during Exercise Red Flag 23-1 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Jan. 24, 2023.
Photo By: William R. Lewis, Air Force
VIRIN: 230124-F-UT528-1031
The two leaders also exchanged views on the upcoming public release of the Australian Defense Strategic Review. 

Marles said it's great to be back in the Pentagon again. He and Austin met here Dec. 7, along with British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace. 

Marles echoed Austin's comments on a shared vision and appreciation for democracy and a rules-based order, as well as commitment to regional security through AUCKUS.

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