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AUKUS countries begin Pillar 2 effort, focusing on unmanned systems and AI

The US is making investments in its submarine industrial base to help meet AUKUS and US Navy needs. (Janes/Michael Fabey)

Country members of the AUKUS security pact – Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States – have begun to work towards Pillar 2 of the pact, according to US officials.

“We have begun efforts associated with Pillar 2,” Kurt Campbell, deputy assistant to the president and co-ordinator for Indo-Pacific Affairs on the National Security Council, said on 26 June during an AUKUS discussion at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Speaking during the same discussion, Admiral Michael Gilday, US chief of naval operations, said, “Examples that I can speak about involve AI [artificial intelligence] and unmanned [systems], which are closely linked. The AI being the plug on top of the water bottle, which would be the platform.”

Adm Gilday added, “We're doing [unmanned] work in the Middle East. We're about to do more in South America. And we'll join both the Australians and the Brits for a big unmanned exercise that the Australians are going to host in the fall.”

At the same time, Adm Gilday said the countries are executing other elements for AUKUS.

“It's a phased approach that's been very transparent – in terms of our beginning to conduct more port visits with the Australians; to then forward deploying our submarines, perhaps up to four, near Perth; to then co-crewing those submarines with the Australians in a very deliberate manner; and then finally getting us to a point where Australia's sovereign readying and can then take custody of the sale of US submarines, and eventually produce their own,” he said.

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