04 December 2014
Preserving the knowledge edge: Surveillance cooperation and the US–Australia alliance in Asia
By Stephan Frühling, James Goldrick and Rory Medcalf
The US–Australia alliance is the bedrock of Australia’s defence policy. Successive governments have looked to the alliance for access to military technology, intelligence and training, as well as a promise of support against direct threats to Australia.
However, Australia, the US and other regional allies today face a rapidly changing strategic environment in the Indo-Pacific. The American ‘rebalance’ to Asia represents recognition by the US that it needs to give greater priority to its management of the changing balance—an effort firmly endorsed by President Obama in his address at theUniversity of Queensland.
Acting alone, Australia couldn’t possibly achieve the level of awareness that the evolving strategic environment demands. In alliance, it has the resources to ‘fill the gaps’ that remain in the US’s coverage of the region. This is why the C4ISR relationship with the US in the Indo-Pacific provides such a critical benefit to both members in the alliance. US–Australian C4ISR cooperation will be essential to the success of the US rebalance, but also to Australia’s own immediate security in a strategic environment in which more and more countries operate high-technology platforms that once used to be the preserve of Australia and its allies.