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Briefing paper

New technologies are being developed—and old technologies are being employed in innovative ways—that force the United States and Australia to reexamine previous notions of what behaviors are judged as provocative or reassuring.

Emerging technologies, such as missiles and missile defense, space, and autonomy and uncrewed systems, are introducing new dynamics to the Indo-Pacific region. These altered dynamics are bringing new considerations to classic problems, possess the potential to exacerbate Indo-Pacific regional tensions, and actively challenge policy-makers to keep pace with rapid innovation trends. Most concerning, however, is that these technological changes are occurring within the context of an increasingly competitive Indo-Pacific region.

Key issues:

  • Ongoing changes and rapid shifts in the geopolitics, economics and military balance of the Indo-Pacific region are causing the countries there to reconsider threat perceptions and defense approaches.
  • New technologies are creating opportunities for states to disrupt strategic stability, because technology is expanding what states can do with reduced risk.
  • The U.S.-Australia alliance has an important role to play in contributing to both strategic stability and deterrence but realizing this goal will require risk acceptance as part of future policy and strategy.
  • AUKUS sets the right tone for the U.S.-Australia alliance; more will be needed to enhance regional stability through alliance efforts.
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