Briefing paper

Australia and the United States have entered a new era of strategic competition with China. Following decades of US military supremacy in the Indo-Pacific, Washington’s approach to regional defence strategy is being re-evaluated in light of a shifting balance of power.

Australia recognises the challenges to the United States’ ongoing ability to provide a conventional security umbrella for Indo-Pacific nations as well as the opportunities afforded by the US alliance network. It is working to improve its security and regional stability by leveraging the Australia-US alliance and contributing to the development of collective deterrence. The new Australia-United Kingdom-United States trilateral defence technology pact (AUKUS) illustrates this approach.

This policy brief proceeds in four parts. Part one explores what the Biden Administration’s new concept of integrated deterrence means for the Indo-Pacific. Part two looks at the evolution and requirements of interoperability among the United States and its regional partners and part three assesses the evolving state of defence integration between the United States and Australia. Finally, the brief concludes with three recommendations for deepening integrated deterrence through the Australia-US alliance.

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