Cooperation on Cyber – a new dimension of the US Alliance

Joint media release

  • The Hon Kevin Rudd MP, Minister for Foreign Affairs
  • The Hon Stephen Smith MP, Minister for Defence

15 September 2011

The US and Australian Governments agreed today that a cyber attack on either of them would trigger the mechanisms of the ANZUS Treaty.

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd and Defence Minister Stephen Smith made the announcement today, together with their US counterparts Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta at the annual AUSMIN (Australia-US Ministerial consultations) meeting in San Francisco.

This Joint Statement makes clear that in the event of a cyber attack Australia and the US would consider it together and determine appropriate options to address the threat, reflecting the mutual obligation in Article III of the ANZUS Treaty.

“This represents a new operational dimension the US Alliance. It is appropriate we take this step on the 60th Anniversary of the Alliance,” Mr Rudd said.

Commenting on broader alliance implications, Mr Smith said, “Enhanced Australian-US collaboration on cyber demonstrates the ongoing relevance of the ANZUS Treaty and its responsiveness to new and emerging security challenges.”

“We need to make the most of the exciting opportunities opened up by cyberspace, but we also need to address associated challenges in an informed and determined way.”

The Joint Statement also highlights the value of working collaboratively with a broad range of nations to address mutual threats and challenges emerging in and from cyberspace. 

“Australia and the United States are committed to working together and with others to develop international norms to promote a safe, reliant and trusted cyberspace,” said Mr Rudd.

Refer to the Joint Statement on Cyber and the AUSMIN 2011 Joint Communique.

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