Security in the Western Pacific: Building Future Capabilities in the Time of AUKUS

Audio Brief

A short, spoken-word summary from CSIS’s Mark Cancian on his report, Security in the Western Pacific: Building Future Capabilities in the Time of AUKUS.

Audio file

This report aims to help the defense industry and governments identify future capabilities to deal with the rising challenge from China. The AUKUS agreement has been a major development in facing this challenge, but insights here apply to the full spectrum of U.S. allies and partners in the Pacific. Although strategists seek to expand the number of submarines, the U.S. submarine fleet will not grow beyond its current size until the 2040s.

What should the United States and its partners do to manage the impending gap in submarine numbers over the coming decades? Wargames of a Chinese invasion, blockade, or gray zone squeeze of Taiwan illuminate capabilities that would be helpful. Early assessments of the war in Ukraine give additional insights. The report recommends moving forward across many possibilities to illuminate the most promising approaches and to provide signals to industry about where it should focus its attention and resources. 

This report was made possible by the generous support of the Thales Corporation.