Reaction to announcement on 1 December from the the AUKUS Defense Ministers' Meeting 2023

Reaction to the announcement at the AUKUS Defense Ministers’ Meeting on 1 December 2023

On 1 December 2023, at the Defense Innovation Unit Headquarters in California, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III hosted the Honourable Richard Marles MP, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, Australia and the Right Honourable Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Defence, United Kingdom, to discuss the AUKUS enhanced defense and security partnership.

ADS is delighted for the Defence Ministers’ announcement to establish an AUKUS Advanced Capabilities Industry Forum. We advocated for such an initiative in the document ‘Industry’s Trilateral Take on Defining Success’ for AUKUS‘ published in March 2023 jointly with our counterparts at Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) and subsequently restated the need for it in our ‘AUKUS Pillar II – Recommendations for the UK system‘ paper released on 12 September 2023.

With the return of systemic competition with countries such as China and Russia, our strategic advantage will increasingly rely on a collective capacity to lay the foundations for an effective implementation of AUKUS Pillar I and Pillar II. The ability to do so will depend on our collective commitment to promote an AUKUS culture of industrial cooperation underwriting AUKUS’ initiatives. The establishment of the AUKUS Advanced Capabilities Industry Forum will enable our three countries to deliver on the initial promises of Pillar II and is a concrete step in the right direction.

Within this context, ADS believes that the Forum represents an invaluable opportunity to strengthen industry-government trilateral cooperation. This is essential to make the AUKUS partnership a whole nation endeavour for the three member countries. Industrial synergies, drawing upon a culture of industrial cooperation, will propel innovation in the development of advanced capabilities and in the ways in which we produce and maintain them.

The AUKUS Advanced Capabilities Industry Forum’s role in bringing trilateral defence industry together is the clearest guarantee to unleash the real potential of Pillar II.