Friday, March 17, 2023

How a Think Tanker Brought the AUKUS Nuclear Sub Deal Together

Two think tankers were extremely influential in putting together the trilateral AUKUS security pact between the US, UK, and Australia.  Here are some more details from the Wall Street Journal about how the deal came together:

In April 2021, Australia’s top intelligence official went to Washington with an extraordinary proposal: the government in Canberra was looking to acquire nuclear-powered submarines.

Andrew Shearer, the director-general of Australia’s office of national intelligence, made the case in a meeting with Kurt Campbell, the White House coordinator for the Indo-Pacific, for sharing the tightly guarded capability. 

Scott Morrison, who was then serving as Australia’s prime minister, tapped Mr. Shearer, a longtime friend of Mr. Campbell’s, to reach out to the new Biden team. 

After the two men had breakfast at the Hay-Adams hotel on April 30, 2021, Mr. Shearer went to Mr. Campbell’s office at the Old Executive Office Building adjoining the White House and made his case in a 30-minute presentation. 


In 2016, Shearer joined the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) as a Senior Advisor on Asia Pacific Security.  He had previously been Director of Studies at the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney.

Campbell, who also used to work at CSIS, co-founder the Center for a New American Security (CNAS).

Companies that will benefit from the deal include General Dynamics, Huntington Ingalls, BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, Thales, and Rolls-Royce.

General Dynamics, Huntington Ingalls, Lockheed Martin, and BAE Systems are all donor to both CSIS and CNAS.

Lockheed Martin has been a client of The Asia Group, a boutique consulting firm that Campbell founded.