The Australian Submarine Agency (ASA) – which will be responsible and accountable for the management and oversight of the nuclear-powered submarine program – has been officially established.
FILE IMAGE: Artist’s concept of a possible SSN-AUKUS, Australia’s future nuclear-powered submarine. Image supplied.
Vice Admiral Jonathan Mead is the new agency’s inaugural Director-General.
Minister for Defence Richard Marles said that as chief of the Nuclear-Powered Submarine Taskforce, Vice Admiral Mead demonstrated his leadership and judgement in supporting the establishment of the pathway to acquire this critical capability through the AUKUS partnership.
“This is a significant day, marking our next step towards the acquisition of conventionally-armed, nuclear-powered submarines, which is the single biggest investment in our defence capability in our history,” Mr Marles said.
“The Australian Submarine Agency will be critical in delivering a game-changing capability for the defence of Australia and security of our region.
“I congratulate Vice Admiral Mead on his appointment as inaugural Director-General and all members of the ASA for the work they have done to date, and the work they will do to deliver this capability.”
ASA currently has more than 350 staff from the Australian Defence Force and Australian Public Service, including many who have transitioned from the Nuclear-Powered Submarine Taskforce and others who have joined recently.
It is expected to almost double to more than 680 staff over the next year, drawing on a diverse skillset required to deliver this significant endeavour.
ASA will be headquartered in Canberra, with personnel located across the country and overseas, in the United States and United Kingdom, working with communities, unions, industry and governments to deliver the nuclear-powered submarine program.
ASA is a statutory agency within the Defence portfolio and will report to the Minister for Defence.
Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy said the Australian Submarine Agency would also be vital in developing the capability needed to operate our nuclear-powered submarines.
“Our acquisition of conventionally-armed nuclear-powered submarines will generate 20,000 jobs for the Australian economy,” Mr Conroy said.
“The agency will play a critical role, not only in growing and developing the Australian industrial base to deliver conventionally-armed, nuclear-powered submarines, but will also strengthen our partnership with the US and the UK, to deliver a stronger, more secure Australia and Indo-Pacific region.”
Vice Admiral Mead said he was proud to lead the Australian Submarine Agency and recognised the significance of the task ahead.
“This nation-building program will be the most transformative industrial and technical endeavour in our history,” Vice Admiral Mead said.
“I am committed to continuing to work with our AUKUS partners and all Australian stakeholders to deliver Australia’s fleet of nuclear-powered submarines.”