Australia’s American Alliance and the networking of forces in East Asia


As the region’s security order is becoming unsettled, Australia has begun to adjust aspects of its strategic policy in response to these changes. This paper examines the evolution of Australian defence and security policy so as to assess the extent to which Australia’s experience sheds light on changes to the structure of East Asia’s security order. In response to the PRC’s selective contestation of US hegemony, Australia has tightened its relationship with the USA, developed new strategic partnerships, committed to increasing its military capabilities while also actively engaging with security multilateralism. Through this, it is helping American regional hegemony develop an emerging networked quality. Its experience also shows the ongoing the dependence of the medium powers on the USA. Their operational and strategic limitations mean that while it has been restructured somewhat through diversification and networking, the East Asian hegemonic order remains organised around the USA.

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    Australian did not begin to take decisive steps to respond to the changing regional setting until the post-2001 period (Gyngell 2017).

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    These are: Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement (2010),; Information Servicing Agreement (2012) and Transfer of Defence Technology and Equipment Agreement (2014), all accessed on 2 September 2019.


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Bisley, N. Australia’s American Alliance and the networking of forces in East Asia. Int Polit 57, 208–224 (2020).

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  • Australia
  • Australian defence policy
  • East Asia
  • Hegemony