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The Future of the Australian-U.S. Security Relationship


The Future of the Australian-U.S. Security Relationship - Cover

Authored by Dr. Rod Lyon, Prof. William T. Tow.

December 2003

50 Pages

Brief Synopsis

The authors assess the future of the Australian-U.S. security relationship within the context of the Canberra's transformation and strategic shift. They conclude that this relationship will remain important and will be strengthened in some ways--interdependence will be central to Australian strategy--but they consider the building of large-scale American military bases in Australia unlikely. The challenge, they note, will be sustaining political support within Australian for this type of relationship.

Summary

Australia is an increasingly important ally for the United States. It is willing to be part of challenging global missions, and its strong economy and growing self-confi dence suggest a more prominent role in both global and regional affairs. Moreover, its government has worked hard to strengthen the link between Canberra and Washington. Political and strategic affinities between the two countries have been refl ected in--and complemented by--practiced military interoperability, as the two allies have sustained a pattern of security cooperation in relation to East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq in the last 4 years.

This growing collaboration between the two countries suggests that a reinvention of the traditional bilateral security relationship is taking place. At the core of this process lies an agreement about the need for engaging in more proactive strategic behavior in the changing global security environment, and a mutual acceptance of looming military and technological interdependence. But this new alliance relationship is already testing the boundaries of bipartisan support for security policy within Australia. Issues of strategic doctrine, defense planning, and procurement are becoming topics of fierce policy debate. Such discussion is likely to be sharpened in the years ahead as Australia’s security relationship with the United States settles into a new framework.


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