Executive summary

  • The US-Australia alliance in the 21st century is now situated within a complex interplay of emerging regional security architectures in Asia.
  • ‘Non-traditional security’ extends the traditional concept of security to include a variety of referent objects and issues such as resource security, environmental security, food security, energy security and health security.
  • The Alliance should continue to adapt to new models of regional security arrangements in order to deal with non-traditional security challenges.

Threats to security can no longer be solely defined in military and statist terms. In widening and deepening the security calculus, ‘non-traditional security’ encapsulates a variety of issues, critiques of orthodox security approaches, and alternative security problematics. Both Australia and the US now recognize non-traditional security in their national security statements to varying degrees. The non-traditional security agenda is now chiefly constituted of issues including climate change, cyber security and terrorism. Recent AUSMIN talks have also produced formal, Alliance-based cooperation on issues such as space security and cyber security. As the security environment continues to change and become more complex, both regional cooperation and regional engagement must be strengthened. The US-Australia alliance should enhance its collective capacity to make practical contributions to bilateral and regional security.