Laying the foundations for AUKUS: strengthening Australia's high-tech ecosystem in support of advanced capabilities

Australian Defence Force Military equipment International cooperation Military alliances International relations National security Australia Indo-Pacific Region

AUKUS presents the high-level impetus for Australia to uplift its national industrial base to strengthen the foundations for sovereign capability in critical areas. Enhanced technological access and sharing through AUKUS will ultimately only be a partial solution for ensuring the ADF is able to field the capabilities it needs to contend with a hostile Indo-Pacific security environment.

In certain areas, like advanced manufacturing, guided weapons and sustainment capability, Australia requires higher levels of self-reliance and resilience for critical supply chains. Strengthening Australia’s sovereign defence industrial capability both supports ADF capability needs and helps Australia cement itself as a valuable contributor to an integrated trilateral Australia US UK defence industrial base.

Key recommendations:

To strengthen Australia’s high-tech ecosystem in support of AUKUS and sovereign capability, the Australian Government should:

  • Deepen Australia’s understanding of areas of comparative advantage, complementarity, gaps and overlaps with US and UK high-tech ecosystems.
  • Share lessons learned and best practices on models of defence innovation with the United States and the United Kingdom, including to support higher rates of commercialisation.
  • Strengthen government, research, and industry collaboration through the establishment of secure high-tech research precincts for each AUKUS advanced capability stream.
  • Build Australia’s talent pipeline through a high-tech super mobility program and a new 'AUKUS visa'.
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