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Wittman Joins Bill to Establish Officer Training Pipeline for Australian Submarines

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01) joined his colleagues, Reps. Joe Courtney (CT-02), Mike Gallagher (WI-08), Derek Kilmer (WA-06), Blake Moore (UT-01), Donald Norcross (NJ-01), and Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) in introducing the Australia-U.S. Submarine Officer Pipeline Act. The new bipartisan bill will establish a joint training pipeline between the U.S. Navy and the Royal Australian Navy and will enable the start of U.S.-based training of Commanding Officers for Australia’s future fleet of nuclear-powered submarines under the AUKUS alliance.

The Australia-U.S. Submarine Officer Pipeline Act outlines that the U.S., U.K., and Australia should work strategically to deliver the capabilities outlined in the new undersea alliance, including by engaging with industry partners and by expanding industrial base capacity to support increased submarine production. To prepare for the successful operation of future undersea capabilities, the bill establishes an exchange program between the U.S. Navy and the Royal Australian Navy to integrate and train Australian sailors for the operation and maintenance of nuclear-powered submarines.

“When the U.S., U.K., and Australia committed to the AUKUS Alliance last year, all three nations reassured the rest of the world that rogue, authoritarian-led nations will not triumph in today’s world nor will they in years to come,” said Rep. Wittman. “AUKUS is one of the most momentous and historic security partnerships that the U.S. has committed to in decades. The Australia-U.S. Submarines Officer Pipeline Act is an encouraging step forward in the process of ensuring that our valued allies are able to effectively learn, train, and employ nuclear-powered submarines. I am honored to join Chairman Courtney and my colleagues to introduce this vital legislation.”

The Australia-U.S. Submarine Officer Pipeline Act will help facilitate the delivery and ensure the future success of Australia’s fleet of nuclear-powered submarines under the AUKUS alliance.

Under the program, a minimum of two Australian submarine officers would be selected each year to participate in training with the U.S. Navy. Each such participant will:

·     Receive training in the Navy Nuclear Propulsion School

·     Enroll in the Submarine Office Basic Course

·     Be assigned to duty on an operational U.S. submarine at sea

On September 15, 2021, joint leaders of the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom announced the creation of AUKUS to enhance each country’s shared commitment to international rules-based order, and deepen diplomatic, security, and defense cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.