Australia is well-placed to shape the Biden administration’s evolving approach to deterrence challenges in the Indo-Pacific, according to new research from the United States Studies Centre (USSC). Washington has proposed a new concept of “integrated deterrence” to better address the multi-dimensional security challenges China presents in the Indo-Pacific – an approach that places a heightened premium on the contributions of close allies and partners like Australia.

Author of Integrated Deterrence in the Indo Pacific: Advancing the Australia-United States Alliance and Visiting Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy and Defence Program, Ambassador Jane Hardy, says “Integration is rapidly becoming the byword for the Biden administration’s defence and security aims.”

“Nowhere is this more important than in the Indo-Pacific, where Beijing’s coercive behaviour across the military, economic and diplomatic spectrum is on display and actively testing relationships with allies and partners,” continues Ambassador Hardy.

The policy brief explores what the Biden administration’s new concept of integrated deterrence means for the Indo-Pacific, and the evolution and requirements of interoperability among the United States and its regional partners.

“The input of close allies like Australia will be critical to the success of the Biden administration’s thinking on integrated deterrence – both in practice and in its conceptual development,” says Ashley Townshend, Director of Foreign Policy and Defence. “This research offers one of the first forays into the public discussion around integrated deterrence from a key US alliance partner," he continues.

“As Ambassador Hardy’s research indicates, the high degree of military interoperability between Australia and the US provides a sound basis for accelerating efforts towards deeper integration,” Townshend notes.

Ambassador Hardy argues, "Washington and Canberra must attend to divergent threat perceptions, sovereign interests, and alignment preferences of diverse regional partners if they hope to secure a broad buy-in to this concept from the region."

Integrated Deterrence in the Indo Pacific: Advancing the Australia-United States Alliance is now available for download.

To book a briefing with USSC Foreign Policy and Defence experts, please email us at

Key points

  • The Biden administration is developing the concept of “integrated deterrence” to advance a networked approach to achieving its defence and security aims across a wide spectrum of strategic competition with China.
  • Australia is at the forefront of complex, multi-nation military exercises in the Indo-Pacific, and already enjoys a considerable presence inside US Indo-Pacific Command, which sound basis for further Australia-US military integration within the Biden administration’s emerging framework of integrated deterrence.
  • The concept of a network is likely to be persuasive in the Indo-Pacific where not all nations are prepared to choose sides between the United States and China. Fostering military interoperability among the largest possible grouping like-minded nations remains essential to the success of integrated deterrence.
  • Deepening combined strategic, diplomatic and military planning between the United States and Australia will be critical to the success of a collective deterrence strategy. This should involve allied planning for high-value deterrence scenarios and the expansion of Australia’s access to US forward operating locations in the Indo-Pacific.

Media enquiries

Taylor Mellor
T +61 2 9114 2622