Military to burn the midnight oil due to need for speed

·2-min read

The Australian military has a need, a need for speed.

Defence Minister Richard Marles used a keynote speech to detail how the defence force needs to overhaul how it approaches military capabilities and work to boost critical technologies and resources faster.

Addressing the American Chamber of Commerce in Adelaide, Mr Marles said Australia, the United States and Britain must work together seamlessly on new technology and weapons to protect against aggression in the Pacific.

He said the three nations needed to use the AUKUS alliance to cut red tape around arms exports, including technology, so they could all move forward together in an increasingly militarised region.

Australia is working with the US to streamline the process of military acquisitions, including technology, due to arms export embargoes imposed by Congress.

"Regulations around transfers of technology, sensitive information and defence material are, of course, understandable," the defence minister said on Wednesday.

"But what is really clear is that if we are to realise the ambition of AUKUS, the transfer of technology and information between Australia and the US needs to be seamless."

Mr Marles told the chamber Australia needed to move to an "innovation mindset" where it wasn't afraid to fail, learn and adapt in the name of speed.

"Defence no longer has the luxury of taking the time to get a capability perfect," he said.

"We must also change our relationship to risk and celebrate the learning that comes from failure."

Mr Marles said the private sector would also have a large role to play in the acquisition of new technology and capabilities and urged them to support the cutting of red tape.

The faster acquisition of next-generation technology such as quantum computing, artificial intelligence, and hypersonic and counter-hypersonic missiles would be used to "help us hold potential adversaries' forces at risk, at a greater distance and increase the cost of aggression against Australia".

"The alliance is at the heart of a greater tempo of defence co-operation and a deeper transfer of critical technology. It underpins the blossoming of the AUKUS agreement," he added.

The trilateral agreement is also being used to boost the industrial base of all nations to make them more self-reliant.

"This will see huge opportunities for Australian companies to be a part of this supply chain, Mr Marles said of constructing nuclear-propelled submarines.

"It will also see US companies invest more in Australian industry."

Investment between the two nations spanned more than $1 trillion each in 2022.