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Arlington, Va. (April 17, 2024) – In case you missed it, Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) Vice President of International Affairs Dak Hardwick participated in a roundtable with the House Foreign Affairs Committee today focused on AUKUS Pillar II. 

AIA and its members have long been supportive of the trilateral Australia, United Kingdom, United States agreement to provide conventionally armed, nuclear Virginia-class submarines to Australia to provide deterrence capabilities in the South China Sea and technology sharing capabilities between the three allies. Today’s roundtable focused on executing the second pillar of AUKUS that would enable seamless technology sharing and cross collaboration. 

In his opening remarks, Hardwick underscored industry’s key role in addressing threats in the Indo-Pacific — but noted that the U.S. defense trade system must evolve to enable the AUKUS partnership to succeed. “The aerospace and defense industry is poised to collectively innovate and deliver capability to make AUKUS a reality,” Hardwick opened. “For AUKUS Pillar II, operational success hinges on reducing barriers to cooperation and creating opportunities to produce and deliver high-end capabilities quickly. This requires a modern, integrated, and consistent legislative and regulatory system. Establishing a defense trade-friendly regulatory landscape that is demonstrably better than the existing system across all three governments is integral to its success. 

“For AUKUS and overall U.S. defense trade cooperation, the FY24 National Defense Authorization Act ushered in a landmark shift in policy,” Hardwick said. “This legislative change represents Congress’ recognition that a modern defense trade system emphasizes cooperation over control and flexibility over rigidity. Congress’ intent is clear: The AUKUS model is the future of defense trade cooperation with close allies.”

He also stressed the need for ongoing dialogue between industry and government. “As those responsible for delivering the capabilities envisioned under the AUKUS partnership, AIA and our members strongly believe regular, consistent industry feedback is essential to its successful implementation. We do understand that U.S. government officials share similar views,” Hardwick said.

You can read Hardwick’s full testimony here.

You can watch the full roundtable here.

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