September 06, 2023

Duckworth Stresses Importance of AUKUS Partnership to Indo-Pacific Regional Security


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – After last month leading a Congressional Delegation trip to Southeast Asia, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today stressed the importance of deepening U.S. security partnerships with Australia and the United Kingdom to help strengthen and support the Indo-Pacific region. In today’s U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on AUKUS—the security pact between the U.S., the United Kingdom and Australia—Duckworth highlighted the need for deeper engagement in the Indo-Pacific region and questioned how this partnership can strengthen our nations’ joint capabilities and impact the region as a whole. A video of today’s hearing is available here.

“Last month, I led a CODEL to the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand, to examine the many significant opportunities that face the United States in the Indo-Pacific region,” Duckworth said. “The White House touts AUKUS as ‘a new security partnership that will promote a free and open Indo-Pacific that is secure and stable.’ I agree – the positive impact of AUKUS extends beyond our three allied countries. … How will our partner nations in Southeast Asia benefit from a stronger trilateral relationship—and an enhanced Indo-Pacific presence—from the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom?”

During today’s hearing, Duckworth questioned Bureau of Political Military Affairs Assistant Secretary Jessica Lewis, Acting Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Policy and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans and Capabilities Mara E. Karlin Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Kin Moy.

As a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations and U.S. Senate Armed Services committees, Duckworth is a proven leader on strengthening our relations with Indo-Pacific nations and security in the region. Last month she traveled to Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines to increase ties and reinforce support between Southeast Asia and the United States. Duckworth also successfully included a modified version of her Strengthen Taiwan’s Security Act in last year’s NDAA to help Taiwan enhance its military defenses. Duckworth’s Southeast Asia Partnership Expansion Act is included in the Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act to help expand and fund critical training opportunities to build interoperability with our Southeast Asian partners and improve our cooperation on cybersecurity, which builds upon a provision she successfully wrote into the FY21 NDAA.  In her time in the Senate she’s led trips to Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore to help bolster U.S. relationships and partnerships.