Much Ado About AUKUS

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Zack and Melanie are joined by Adam Mount, senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists, to discuss the AUKUS security agreement between Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom. What does the pact say about these countries’ assessment of the influence and ambition of China in the Indo-Pacific? France, which had an agreement to provide Australia with conventionally-powered submarines, was dropped in favor of the United States and United Kingdom helping Australia to develop nuclear-propelled submarines. Can AUKUS members repair their relationships with France? The deal provides a framework for cooperation between the countries on sharing information related to cyber, AI, quantum computing, and other technology. How might this arrangement affect national security as well as societies in the coming decades? Finally, should we be concerned about proliferation?

Zack wishes the administration would be more forthright about how it worked to secure the return of hostages from China, Adam is unhappy with the departure of an important voice on nuclear issues from the Pentagon, and Melanie is happy it’s finally autumn!



Andrew S. Erickson, “Australia Badly Needs Nuclear Submarines,” Foreign Policy, Sept. 20, 2021,

Ashley Townshend, “Far From Breaking with the Past, AUKUS Advances Australia’s Commitment to Collective Defence,” The Strategist, Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Sept. 24, 2021,

Caitlin Talmadge, “Don’t Sink the Nuclear Submarine Deal,” Foreign Affairs, Sept. 27, 2021,

Daniel Baer, “Sub Snub Has Paris in a Tizzy over AUKUS,” Foreign Policy, Sept. 17, 2021,

Gender Champions in Nuclear Policy,

James M. Acton, “Why the AUKUS Submarine Deal Is Bad for Nonproliferation—And What to Do About It,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Sept. 21, 2021,

IPA Talent Exchange Program, Partnership for Public Service,

Jen Psaki, “Press Briefing by Press Secretary,” The White House, Sept. 27, 2021,

Josh Zumbrun, “World Bank Cancels Flagship ‘Doing Business’ Report After Investigation,” Wall Street Journal, Sept. 16, 2021,

Lindsay Hughes, “Does Australia Need Nuclear-Powered Submarines and a Nuclear-Power Sector?”, Future Directions International, Feb. 25, 2021,


Image: State Department (Photo by Freddie Everett)