US Congressional members are moving to remove one of the key roadblocks to the export of sensitive US defence technologies to Australia and the UK, speeding the flow of information on capabilities ranging from nuclear powered submarines to hypersonic weapons, quantum computing, and artificial intelligence (AI).
Currently regulations under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations regime (ITAR), prevent much information flowing even to close allies such as the US’s partners in the AUKUS pact.
Information flows only after onerous and time consuming delays.
Now it has been reported that Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and House Foreign Affairs Chair Mike McCaul (R-Texas) want to remove impediments to the flow of technologies to AUKUS pact members.
According to the politico.com website the lawmakers are proposing separate bills to ease US arms export control in a move to deter China from aggression toward Taiwan.
Risch has introduced the Truncating Onerous Regulations For Partners And Enhancing Deterrence Operations, or TORPEDO Act to ease ITAR restrictions.
According to the website Risch said: “Unfortunately, the Biden administration’s implementation of AUKUS is not only failing to move at the speed of relevance given the China threat, but it is also evident both pillars of the agreement face major, structural challenges.”
Meanwhile in the House McCaul is drafting a bipartisan bill that would ramp up technology transfers to allies.
McCaul recently met officials from Australia and the UK, and talked with representatives of defense firms Anduril Industries, Hadrian and BAE Systems at a public roundtable.
Anduril has Australian Defence contracts to rapidly develop an Extra Large Autonomous Undersea Vehicle ((XL-AUV, pictured), while BAE Systems constructs the UK’s nuclear submarine fleet, and constructs and maintains naval vessels in Australia.
McCaul said in a statement that the UK, Australia and industry ‘have been crystal clear about the current challenges related to an operational AUKUS.’