Signed in as:
Signed in as:
Today, Rep. Mike Gallagher and Rep. Joe Courtney (CT-02), Co-Chairs of the AUKUS Working Group and Friends of Australia Caucus, issued the following joint statement to mark the two-year anniversary of the trilateral security agreement between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
“This week marks two years since the historic announcement of the trilateral AUKUS security agreement and a path to ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific. Since September of 2021, bipartisan lawmakers in Congress and the Administration have worked together to fulfill the AUKUS mission through record investments in the submarine industrial base, legislation to clear legal roadblocks, development of next-generation technologies, and ongoing engagements with our partners and allies.
“These efforts are already paying dividends. Shipyards and submarine suppliers across the nation are aggressively hiring and working to meet demand; the first wave of Australian sailors graduated from Nuclear Power School in South Carolina, thanks to our enabling legislation; and our Australian and British counterparts are making strategic investments in support of the unbreakable alliance to strengthen maritime security in the Indo-Pacific.”
“It is time to turbocharge AUKUS to achieve near-term deterrence effects. While we have seen great progress, we have significant work ahead to deliver on AUKUS goals by the ‘earliest possible date’ edict, namely passing and sending Pilar 1 and Pillar 2 enabling legislation to the President’s desk--and adequately resourcing what enables AUKUS’s success. Together, we will continue working expeditiously with our colleagues and partners to achieve that goal, and ensure both our Navy and the AUKUS mission are prepared to deter the security challenges in the Indo-Pacific.”
Media Release September 14, 2023
WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Representatives Joe Courtney (D-CT), the second-highest ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee and the Founder of the bipartisan AUKUS Working Group, welcomed the announcement on next steps for the trilateral AUKUS defense alliance. In an address made onboard the USS Missouri in San Diego, CA, President Joe Biden, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of the United Kingdom, and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of Australia announced the culmination of an 18-month consultation period finalizing the path forward for the U.S. and U.K. to provide Australia with a conventionally armed, nuclear powered submarine capability—the first of the two pillars of AUKUS.
Rep. Courtney joined the three heads of state in San Diego for today’s announcement, which also included plans for a larger presence of United States submarines in Australia for routine port visits, forward deployed forces, and the purchase of U.S. submarines to deliver an interim capability while Australia develops an indigenous nuclear-powered submarine enterprise of their own.
“Today marks a seminal moment in America’s history, and in the deep, enduring democratic values we share with the U.K., Australia, and all of our allies who uphold peace, prosperity, and the international rule of law,” said Rep. Courtney. “Unfortunately, the strategic environment in Europe and the Indo-Pacific has shifted in a direction that threatens those shared values. The AUKUS security agreement unveiled in September 2021 is an effective, intelligent effort to deter potential conflict in the Indo-Pacific by enhancing Australia’s Navy with nuclear-powered submarines. This technology, which the U.S. Navy has only shared once—in 1958, with the British Navy—will extend limitless reach and stealth to the Australian submarine fleet. The plan presented today is the result of hard work over the last eighteen months by the three AUKUS countries, and lays out a clear path to accomplish that task. U.S. Admiral Frank Caldwell, Head of Naval Reactors, has done outstanding work to balance all the components of this effort. All three countries have a lot of hard work ahead to size up their industrial bases and to train Australian sailors to operate this technology, all in a compressed timeline. The presence of all three nations’ heads of state to reveal this plan and declare their determination to successfully execute its many components is a strong statement of commitment to our alliance, which I look forward to upholding in the U.S. Congress on a bipartisan basis.”
AUKUS was originally announced on September 15, 2021. Since then, the U.S., U.K., and Australia have held multiple high-level meetings between senior officials, joint steering groups, and trilateral working groups. Today’s announcement marks the end of the established initial consultation period for AUKUS, and outlines the path forward to provide Australia with its own fleet of nuclear-powered submarines at the nearest possible date, as well as the trilateral strategy to help achieve national security goals in the Indo-Pacific in the near- and mid-term. Click here to read more details from the White House.
Rep. Courtney is the representative of Groton, CT—the “Submarine Capital of the World.” He is the former Chairman and current Ranking Member of the House Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, which oversees all U.S. Navy shipbuilding, and he is the Founder and Co-Chair of both the bipartisan Friends of Australia Caucus, and the bipartisan AUKUS Working Group. Courtney has worked to support the successful implementation of AUKUS since day one.
When AUKUS was first announced in September 2021, Courtney stated that “The decision today to take steps towards augmenting the Australian Navy with nuclear-powered submarines is a game-changing move that will dramatically expand the reach of a key ally in a key region.” Shortly after, the Journal Inquirer’s Eric Bedner published a story titled Courtney: Electric Boat likely to figure in Australian submarine plans.
That same month, Courtney joined former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and other leaders to welcome The Honorable Scott Morrison MP, former Prime Minister of Australia, to the U.S. Capitol for a meeting on the newly announced AUKUS alliance.
In April of 2022, Rep. Courtney was joined by Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), and Blake Moore (R-UT) in forming the new bipartisan AUKUS Working Group, informally known as the “AUKUS Caucus”. The AUKUS Working Group was established to serve as the primary panel in the U.S. Congress for implementation and collaboration on the new undersea alliance.
Last year, the AUKUS Caucus worked successfully to secure the first-ever official support for AUKUS from the U.S. Congress in the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The 2023 NDAA was passed on a strong bipartisan basis of 350-80 before being signed into law, and it included an amendment to establish a submarine officer training pipeline between the U.S. and Australia, helping ensure that Australia’s Navy is trained and ready to pilot their nuclear-powered submarine fleet upon delivery. The amendment was authored by Rep. Courtney, and as Co-Chairs of the AUKUS Working Group, Courtney, Gallagher, Kilmer, and Moore worked together to ensure it was included in the 2023 NDAA.
Rep. Courtney has also worked to ensure that eastern Connecticut’s shipbuilders, suppliers, and submarine industrial base are prepared to take advantage of any opportunities presented by AUKUS. Surging demand for submarines by our own U.S. Navy has already led to back-to-back years of soaring growth at the Electric Boat shipyard in Groton—EB is expected to hire 5,750 new skilled workers this year—and Rep. Courtney has helped lead historic investments by the U.S. Congress that will enable them to help meet demand for the U.S. Navy and for AUKUS.
In the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), for example, Courtney helped authorize more than $750 million in Fiscal Year 2023 alone that will support supplier development, bolstered shipyard infrastructure and facilitization, and expanded skills-training programs specifically for America’s submarine workforce. A snapshot of these investments for Fiscal Year 2023 is provided below:
These investments in America’s submarine industrial base aren’t a one-off—they’re expected to continue for years to come. Last week, Rep. Courtney issued a statement on President Biden’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2024, which included continued investments into the U.S. submarine industrial base, such as:
As a potential key contributor to the success of AUKUS, Courtney has also begun working to increase collaboration between experts and institutions in eastern Connecticut and their counterparts in Australia as new opportunities emerge. Last year, Courtney hosted Commodore Darren Grogan, Australian Naval Attaché, to eastern Connecticut for a visit to the National Institute for Undersea Vehicle Technology (NIUVT) at the University of Connecticut’s Avery Point campus.
Media Release - March 13, 2023