Expanding alliance: ANZUS cooperation and Asia-Pacific security

Andrew Davies, Peter Jennings, Benjamin Schreer, Daniel Nichola

Research output: Book/ReportOther report


Nearing a sprightly 65 years of age, the alliance between Australia and the US, underpinned by the formal ANZUS Treaty of 1951, continues to be a central part of Australian defence and security thinking and an instrument of American policy in the Asia-Pacific. But Asia's strategic outlook has changed almost unrecognisably from the 1950s to today. Economic and financial systems, the sources of global wealth and power, military and communications technology and even the political structures of Asia-Pacific countries have all transformed dramatically since the end of World War II. How is it that an alliance conceived as a bulwark against a resurgence of Japanese militarism and which cut its military and intelligence teeth in the Cold War is still relevant to today's strategic concerns? The answer is partly - and importantly - that the core values of the ANZUS members are strongly aligned, and successive Australian governments and American presidential administrations have seen great value in working with like-minded partners to ensure Asia-Pacific security. That's seen ANZUS adapt to strategic change several times during its existence. Far from becoming a historical curiosity, today it's not just relevant, but of greater importance than has been the case in the past few decades. Everything old is new again in the 'Asian century'. To explore new ideas on how to strengthen the US-Australian alliance, ASPI conducted a high-level strategic dialogue in Honolulu in July this year. The 'Honolulu dialogue' brought together a group of distinguished policymakers, military officials and academics from both countries with deep expertise in the alliance relationship. The aim of the dialogue was to elicit lateral thinking about the alliance at a time when strategic, economic and political circumstances bring fresh challenges to bilateral cooperation. Discussions canvassed the future strategic environment; the forthcoming Australian Defence White Paper; budget, sovereignty and expectation risks; and cooperation in the maritime, land, air, cyber, space and intelligence domains. A key purpose of the Honolulu dialogue was to help ASPI develop policy recommendations on the alliance relationship for government. This report is the product of those discussions.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBarton, ACT
PublisherAustralian Strategic Policy Institute
Number of pages36
ISBN (Print)9781925229042
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


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