The announcement of enhanced defense collaboration between the UK, US, and Australia underlines crucial global alignment in multiple areas.
There are many interesting elements to the new AUKUS pact between the United Kingdom, Australia, and the USA – from the way it was announced to the tenor of many of the reactions. There are a number of less talked-about points behind the headlines that are also worth looking at.
1. It’s not all about submarines
The coverage has focused on nuclear and diesel submarines from France and Australia. Given the geopolitics, the amazing hardware is a critical and fascinating component, but this is also about other types of confrontation.
Critically, cyber is a crucial element, recognising the threat the three nations and their allies face from cyber warfare, as well as the opportunities inherent in data and capability sharing. The joint statement says, “This is an historic opportunity for the three nations, with like-minded allies and partners, to protect shared values and promote security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.”
A critical driver for the pact is the substantial defence spending from China in submarines and aircraft of their own. You can be sure that China’s investment in Cyber weapons is equally concerning.
Once the dust settles, we will see a commitment to collaboration coming from the highest level of allied governments with huge potential to disrupt adversarial cyber threats.
We know from our experiences with Ripjar’s Labyrinth platform how powerful technologies can make sense of large scale structured and unstructured data to understand threats. Data sharing and collaboration across jurisdictions will make AUKUS truly formidable, but will also provide some complex challenges. Extreme caution will be needed around data segmentation, classification and control.
2. Advanced technology is central
The AUKUS leaders are ambitious. The White House statement even talks about Quantum computing. While we will have to see if that part of their vision is fully realised, we can be sure that Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning will be utilised like never before.
“In the last 5 years, the rule books have been torn up. As a result, immense compute power and complex machine learning algorithms are within reach of sophisticated individual hackers, never mind state-sponsored adversaries.”
It is essential to enlist the latest public and private sector technology to combat emerging threats. AUKUS provides a robust framework for Australian, UK and US agencies and their vendors to work together to build the formidable capabilities we need.
The commercial sector will have a significant role to play in the AUKUS developments. We have seen first-hand the importance of strong systems integration partners such as Accenture in delivering capability vision in a timely efficient manner.
3. AUKUS – more of the same?
Australia, the United Kingdom and the US already work together on aspects relating to cyber and intelligence. The Five Eyes alliance adds New Zealand and Canada to the other three nations and has been in existence since 1941. The English-speaking nations share intelligence to counter threats of different types.
The experiences of previous collaboration will be an important catalyst to future AUKUS collaboration. Aside from the English language, there are strong cultural and technological ties between teams in the different jurisdictions. It is no coincidence that Ripjar itself has experience in all three pact countries.
AUKUS truly is a historic pact, and we welcome every opportunity to support the work being done to bring security and stability to the region and the world.