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At the 15 September 2011 AUSMIN talks in San Francisco, Australian and US officials took advantage of the 60th anniversary of the signing of the ANZUS Treaty to announce the alliance would now extend into cyberspace.

It was the first time, outside of NATO, that two allies had formalised their joint cooperation in cyberspace. The then Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, Defence Minister Stephen Smith and their US counterparts, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, issued a joint statement outlining this transformation of the alliance: Mindful of our longstanding defense relationship and the 1951 Security Treaty between Australia, New Zealand, and the United States of America (ANZUS Treaty), our Governments share the view that, in the event of a cyber attack that threatens the territorial integrity, political independence or security of either of our nations, Australia and the United States would consult together and determine appropriate options to address the threat.

This is a critically important evolution of the ANZUS alliance. As more and more of our lives are carried out on computer networks, it makes sense that the potential for future conflict and maintenance of national security would also be within the cyber domain and that the ANZUS treaty could be invoked in that context.

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