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21 November 2022

New AUKUS agency is focused on much more than nuclear submarines, conference hears

The AUKUS security partnership should promote and maintain long-term stability in the Indo-Pacific region, the director of a new international initiative involving King’s told a conference this week.


The AUKUS pact between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States was announced in September 2021 and supported Australia to acquire nuclear-powered submarines for the Royal Australian Navy. 

Professor Craig Stockings, University of New South Wales’ Director of Security & Defence PLuS, said the AUKUS partnership was about more the nuclear submarines and will bring peace and stability in a challenging geopolitical environment.

He made the statements during the launch of Security & Defence PLuS at the Advancing AUKUS Conference on 14 November 2022. The conference took place at University of New South Wales (UNSW) Canberra. 

Security & Defence PLuS is a core initiative of the PLuS Alliance, a collaboration between Arizona State University, King’s College London, and UNSW that combines the expertise of the three leading defence research intensive universities with defence industry and government sectors to solve complex military challenges. Security & Defence PLuS focuses on advancing and supporting statecraft, research and commercialisation of competitive advantage capabilities for AUKUS defence forces, and policy in the spirit of the AUKUS partnership.

While much good work has been done to date in Australia to bring academia, industry and the defence and policy community together to begin to frame answers to the questions that underpin the AUKUS initiative, the PLuS Alliance intends to go one step further, and to make AUKUS-related connections across all three nations.”

Professor Craig Stockings

Professor John Gearson, Head of King’s School of Security Studies, stated that the university is committed to the PLuS Alliance and ensuring the success of Security and Defence PLuS. Speaking at the conference, he stated the initiative will gather pace as it “continues to focus on its delivery and challenges to global order.”

The Advancing AUKUS Conference brought together experts, academics, leading policymakers and commentators to discuss the new partnership.

Professor Stockings said that when the AUKUS agreement was announced last year, all headlines around the security partnership focused on the delivery of nuclear-powered, conventionally-armed submarines to the Royal Australian Navy. But AUKUS was about a great deal more than technology and weaponry.

“AUKUS is a group of like-minded countries interested in maintaining the status quo in the Indo-Pacific area,” he said.

"AUKUS is not about fighting. It's about deterrence and ensuring our way of life. Why are submarines necessary for that? They provide a deterrent to dissuade anyone from breaking the rules-based order.”

Watch a recording of the Advancing AUKUS Conference

In this story

John Gearson

Head of the School of Security Studies