2021-09-16 Intelligence Brief

Australia

The US, UK and Australia have announced a new tri-lateral security partnership, AUKUS. (BBC)

The broad agreement encompasses a variety of areas, including sharing of information and technology around intelligence and quantum technology, as well as the acquisition of cruise missiles. Most important is the decision to support domestic construction of at least 8 nuclear powered attack submarines, using U.S. and UK technologies.

Comment:

Paramount in the announcement is the decision by the U.S. and the UK to export strategic nuclear weapons technology to a non-nuclear power.

It seems likely this will provoke a strong Chinese response, but more interesting will be the impacts on non-nuclear powers involved in tensions with neighbors, such as Iran and Saudi Arabia. The U.S. has authorized a new norm.