The US government has introduced legislation that would enable Royal Australian Navy officers to train on US nuclear submarines in the lead up to Australia acquiring the capability.
The legislation was drafted by the US Congress’ AUKUS Working Group, a group of US lawmakers which was created in April to support the various AUKUS initiatives. Dubbed the ‘The Australia-U.S. Submarine Officer Pipeline Act’, it will allow the RAN to send at least two submarine warfare officers to attend the US Navy Nuclear Propulsion School, take the Submarine Officer Basic Course, and deploy aboard a US submarine.
“The new bipartisan bill will establish a joint training pipeline between the US Navy and the Royal Australian Navy, and will enable the start of US-based training of Commanding Officers for Australia’s future fleet of nuclear-powered submarines under the AUKUS alliance,” the AUKUS working group said in a news release.
In a separate statement, Representative Joe Courtney, a member of the AUKUS working group and the chair of the House Armed Services Seapower and Project Forces subcommittee, said, “The AUKUS alliance is the most important national security partnership that America has entered into in decades.
“Its centrepiece is creating an Australian nuclear-powered undersea fleet of submarines, which all three allies are actively designing,” Courtney added. “While that work is ongoing, it makes sense to open the US Navy’s nuclear training programs to Australia’s naval officers to acquire proficiency in the operation of nuclear submarines.”