Concerns Raised About Aukus Deal Impact on US Submarine Availability

The US Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has expressed fresh concerns about the Aukus deal just a day after President Joe Biden assured Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of Australia that the deal would be approved by Congress. In a report published on Thursday, the CBO warned that the sale of nuclear-powered submarines to Australia in the 2030s would reduce the number of attack submarines available to the US Navy. This report may strengthen the concerns of Aukus skeptics who are worried about the impact on the US’s own submarine needs.

The CBO report also questioned whether China would be deterred if the US reduced its number of attack submarines to assist Australia in developing its own submarine force. The report suggested that while the Australian submarines would be based in the Western Pacific region and could respond quickly to conflicts involving Taiwan or other issues in the South China Sea, Australia would still control its own submarines and their participation in any specific conflict could not be guaranteed.

The CBO also highlighted comments by Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles that the Aukus deal did not include any pre-commitments to the US over a Taiwan-related conflict.

These concerns raised by the CBO shed light on the potential challenges and limitations of the Aukus deal for both the US and Australia. While the deal aims to strengthen the Royal Australian Navy’s capabilities and enhance regional security, it also poses questions about the impact on the already struggling US submarine industry and the potential risks of reducing the US Navy’s attack submarine fleet.

Overall, these concerns emphasize the need for careful consideration and analysis of the long-term implications of the Aukus deal, particularly in terms of national security and strategic partnerships in the Indo-Pacific region.


1. What is the Aukus deal?

The Aukus deal is a security partnership between the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom. It involves the transfer of technology and resources to Australia to develop a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines.

2. What are the concerns raised by the Congressional Budget Office?

The Congressional Budget Office has raised concerns that the sale of nuclear-powered submarines to Australia could reduce the number of attack submarines available to the US Navy. The report also questions the impact of this reduction on deterring China’s aggression and raises doubts about Australia’s guaranteed participation in specific conflicts.

3. How does this impact the US submarine industry?

The report suggests that increasing production of attack submarines during a period when the US must also build Columbia class ships per year would be difficult and expensive for the US submarine industry. This raises questions about the feasibility and costs of meeting the demands of both domestic and international submarine requirements.

4. What are the potential risks of the Aukus deal?

One potential risk is the impact on the US Navy’s attack submarine fleet, which could pose challenges to US national security and defense capabilities. Additionally, the deal raises questions about the sovereignty of Australia’s control over the submarines and their involvement in specific conflicts.

5. What are the implications for regional security?

While the Aukus deal aims to enhance regional security in the Indo-Pacific, there are concerns about the impact on existing strategic partnerships and the potential risks of escalating tensions in the region. The deployment of nuclear-powered submarines could have geopolitical ramifications and require careful diplomatic navigation.