Policy & History

Australia is a vital ally and partner of the United States. The United States and Australia maintain a robust relationship underpinned by shared democratic values, common interests, and cultural affinities. Economic, academic, and people-to-people ties are vibrant and strong. The two countries marked the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations in 2015.

Defense ties and cooperation are exceptionally close, and Australian forces have fought together with the United States military in every significant conflict since World War I. The ANZUS security treaty, concluded in 1951, serves as the foundation of defense and security cooperation between the countries. The Treaty, which enjoys broad bipartisan support in Australia as its pre-eminent formal security treaty alliance, was invoked for the first time—by Australia—in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The two countries signed the U.S.-Australia Force Posture Agreement at the annual Australia-United States Ministerial consultations (AUSMIN) in August 2014, paving the way for even closer defense and security cooperation, and are now working together to advance force posture initiatives under the Agreement. In October 2016 our defense agencies signed a Joint Statement on Defense Cooperation to serve as a guide for future cooperation.

The U.S.-Australia alliance is an anchor for peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region and around the world. The United States and Australia share an interest in maintaining freedom of navigation and overflight and other lawful uses of the sea, including in the South China Sea. The United States and Australia also work closely in Afghanistan and Iraq, and cooperate closely on efforts to degrade and defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and address the challenges of foreign terrorist fighters and violent extremism. The United States and Australia attach high priority to controlling and eventually eliminating chemical weapons, other weapons of mass destruction, and anti-personnel landmines. In addition to AUSMIN consultations, Australia and the United States engage in a trilateral security dialogue with Japan .

The United States and Australia have signed tax and defense trade cooperation treaties, as well as agreements on science and technology, emergency management cooperation, and social security. They also have concluded a mutual legal assistance treaty to enhance bilateral cooperation on legal and counter-narcotics issues. In addition, a number of U.S. institutions conduct cooperative scientific activities in Australia. Our two countries cooperate on global environmental issues such as climate change and preserving marine environments. The United States and Australia are responding to the Zika virus epidemic worldwide, as well as supporting the Global Health Security Agenda to accelerate measureable progress toward a world safe and secure from infectious disease threats.

More information about U.S.-Australia relations is available here…