National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan expressed his admiration for the leaders and national teams involved in the AUKUS alliance, which was able to finalize the agreement in just 18 months. On Air Force One traveling to San Diego, Sullivan noted that the timeline “reflects hard work and leader-level engagement.”
Sullivan revealed that Biden’s meeting with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will address the international multiphase process that begins over the next few years as a result of the recent announcement.
The first step in this process, according to Sullivan, will involve training Australian sailors, engineers, technicians, and other personnel to “take on the responsibility and stewardship of nuclear propulsion.” The aim is to regularize the rotational deployment of US and UK submarines in Australia throughout the 2020s and to deliver three Virginia-class boats from the US to Australia by the 2030s, with the option to increase to five if necessary.
The final phase of the initiative will involve designing and developing the deployment of a new nuclear-powered boat. Sullivan emphasized that this represents a significant long-term investment by the US in core alliances in the Indo-Pacific region, linking allies in the Atlantic with allies in the Pacific.
Furthermore, the national security advisor recognized the burden-sharing among US allies, especially in the context of the war in Ukraine. He reassured that this initiative will benefit all of the nations involved.
Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States have released a joint statement on Monday announcing the implementation of AUKUS.
To deliver conventionally-armed, nuclear-powered submarines to Australia at the earliest possible date, the three nations plan to pursue a phased approach that includes embedding Australian military and civilian personnel with the US Navy and Royal Navy to accelerate training, increasing SSN port visits to Australia, and starting forward rotations of SSNs to Australia.
The United States also plans to sell Australia three Virginia class submarines, with the potential to sell two more if needed, to systematically grow Australia’s sovereign SSN capability and support capacity.
The joint statement highlights the shared commitment of the three nations to advancing mutually beneficial objectives in the Indo-Pacific region, protecting freedom and human rights, and upholding the rules-based international order.
President Biden landed in San Diego along with his daughter Ashley Biden and granddaughter Natalie Biden at 12:19 pm. Upon arrival, the President introduced the two to his greeters, and they all entered the Beast. No questions were taken from the press.
At 12:24 pm, the motorcade began rolling towards the trilateral meeting with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.