This week, Foreign Minister Wong and Defence Minister Marles travel to Washington to meet with their US counterparts for the Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN), the first time the Albanese cabinet will attend the annual diplomatic forum between the two countries’ foreign and defence policy principals. AUSMIN marks an occasion to revisit progress over the past year and articulate a vision for progress moving forward, at a time of significant strategic challenges and opportunities: in the shadow of the ongoing war in Ukraine, as the pathway to nuclear-powered submarines is underway through the enhanced trilateral security partnership “AUKUS,” and just weeks after both countries attended COP27.
Above all, it is a critical opportunity for the Australia-United States alliance to advance an ambitious agenda in the Indo-Pacific.
Ahead of AUSMIN, please find below key publications and USSC experts available for comment.
‘An incomplete project’: Australians’ views of the US Alliance
In this project, funded by the Department of Defence as part of its Strategic Policy Grants Program, the research team from Griffith University, ANU Strategic and Defence Studies Centre and United States Studies Centre engaged communities across every Australian capital city and in selected regions on how Australia should use the US Alliance to its advantage as it navigates strategic challenges in the Indo-Pacific over the next 5-10 years. The project has been led by Professor Andrew O’Neil, Professor Caitlin Byrne, Professor Peter Dean, and Professor Stephan Frühling.
Explainer: AUSMIN 2022
USSC Foreign Policy and Defence Research Fellow Tom Corben, Research Associate Alice Nason and Research Associate Sophie Mayo published this explainer to highlight the topline things to know for this year’s consultation.
USSC expert comments on AUSMIN:
CEO Dr Mike Green
“There is a huge agenda for AUSMIN this week. The major deliverables will come mostly in March with the Defence Strategic Review and AUKUS announcements, but this will be a critical meeting on everything from AUKUS to foreign policy to industrial base cooperation.”
Non-Resident Senior Fellow Stephen Loosley
“This AUSMIN meeting occurs against a backdrop where common Australian and American values are being challenged from Hostomel to Honiara.”
Non-Resident Senior Fellow Bruce Wolpe
"There is every reason to be confident that this upcoming AUSMIN will affirm that there is no daylight between the United States and Australia on the posture of their deep and abiding alliance with respect to China and the strategic issues and challenges that both nations, and their allies, face across the Indo-Pacific. This is the time for very clear and steady resolve to project the interests of both nations for security, stability and peace in the region, and to reaffirm Prime Minister Albanese's guidance and engagement with respect to China to cooperate where we can, and disagree when we must."
Research Fellow Tom Corben
"Contrary to expectations, I don't expect AUKUS to feature in the AUSMIN communiqué in a big way, considering that this is a trilateral – not bilateral – initiative. That said, I think that we should be watching for progress on AUKUS-adjacent lines of effort: things like the naval and sustainment components of the Expanded Force Posture Initiatives, or efforts to streamline US export controls and technology transfer in support of Australia's efforts to develop a sovereign guided weapons enterprise. Making progress on both of these fronts will be crucial to the success of AUKUS Pillars I and II, respectively."