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China and Russia are outpacing the US and its allies in military technology development, Australian defense official warns

Erin Snodgrass   

China and Russia are outpacing the US and its allies in military technology development, Australian defense official warns
  • An Australian defense official is warning about military tech gaps between the US and China.
  • The official said the US must fully implement a trilateral security partnership to better prepare.

The US and Australia must reinforce their industrial partnership and step up military preparations in the Indo-Pacific region amid China's increasingly aggressive behavior in the South China Sea, a high-ranking Australian defense official said this week.

Hugh Jeffrey, Australia's Deputy Secretary of Strategy, Policy, and Industry, issued the warning while delivering a keynote speech for a Tuesday event hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington, DC-based think tank.

Jeffrey's comments come after years of rising tensions in the Indo-Pacific region. The US has responded by working to bolster its presence throughout Asia.

During his speech, Jeffrey applauded US defense officials for acknowledging that the country's Cold War-era military infrastructure is unlikely to stand the tense geopolitical tests of today, the South China Morning Post reported.

"Russia and China are outpacing the US and its allies," Jeffrey said, according to the outlet, which noted that he was discussing military technology.

"Our ability to co-innovate, co-invest, and co-produce today will determine who wins the battle for military advantage tomorrow," he continued, according to SCMP.

He encouraged the Biden administration to continue working with Australia to ascertain regional risks and fully implement AUKUS, a trilateral security partnership between the US, the UK, and Australia focused on the Indo-Pacific region.

The alliance was announced in 2021 but has yet to be fully adopted. AUKUS, among other things, gives Australia's defense arm the ability to build nuclear submarines in what many assume is an effort to keep a lid on the Chinese Navy in the South China Sea.

Business Insider previously reported that the subs will likely take decades to deliver.

But China has already significantly expanded its fleet of subs and is increasingly surveying nearby waters, including near Taiwan and between Indonesia and Australia.

The US has taken several steps in recent months to boost readiness in the region. The US Army is training with international allies and partners to bolster forces for land combat as the chance of a future fight in the Pacific rises.

The US Army Pacific's Commanding General told BI last month that efforts are being made to fight China's "aggressive, insidious" behavior.

The Department of Defense said in a recent China Military Power Report that China is "the only competitor" to the US with the intent and capacity to change the global order.


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