US senators introduce TORPEDO Act to help deliver AUKUS
US Senators Jim Risch and Bill Hagerty have introduced the Truncating Onerous Regulations for Partners and Enhancing Deterrence Operations (TORPEDO) Act, legislation to help enable cooperation with the United Kingdom and Australia.
This new legislation will enable the United States to share sensitive technologies with the United Kingdom and Australia, including advanced defence and other controlled technologies, while also serving to hold the Biden administration to account on implementation and delivery of the AUKUS agreement.
Senator Risch said, “There’s no doubt AUKUS is an ambitious agreement. In order to effectively counter the threats posed by China, the United States must deepen the trilateral Australia-UK-US partnership and build capability that benefits our shared security objectives.”
Explaining further, Senator Risch added, “The TORPEDO Act aims to speed up the implementation process by reforming the US regulatory system so we can cooperate in a timely and efficient manner on the capabilities we and our partners need. This is not the totality of all that is needed, but this is a step in the right direction. I look forward to advancing this effort with my colleagues in the coming weeks.”
As part of supporting the delivery of the AUKUS agreement, the TORPEDO Act will:
- Create a State Department “AUKUS Senior Advisor,” similar to an existing Department of defence role, to drive policy and coordination forward within state and the interagency.
- Authorises the State Department to use existing funds to hire additional personnel to review defence export license requests.
- Expedites the process by which certain US defence, dual-use, and other controlled items and technology may be exported and re-exported to the United Kingdom and Australia.
- Creates a fast-track foreign military sales (FMS) process for defence articles destined for the United Kingdom and Australia. Maintains congressional notification FMS requirements for certain articles.
- Reduces barriers to information sharing among AUKUS partners.
- Adds Australia and the United Kingdom, both National Technology and Industrial Base members, as domestic sources for the purposes of the Defense Production Act.
- Requires reports on AUKUS strategy and impacts on US readiness, details on implementation of both AUKUS pillars, and recommended changes to the export control regimes of each partner.
- Includes a State Department proposal to train private-sector personnel in support of Pillar One.
Senator Hagerty reinforced the comments made by Senator Risch, saying, “While the AUKUS deal could be game-changing in the Indo-Pacific, the Biden Administration is not yet doing what will be required to implement this critical agreement fast enough to get ahead of communist China’s grave and rapidly growing military threats to peace and security in the region.
“I’m pleased to work with Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Jim Risch to introduce the TORPEDO Act, a bold and timely bill to cut through red tape and fundamentally reform US regulations so we can fast-track trilateral efforts by the United States, Australia, and Britain to fully implement the AUKUS goals related to submarines and advanced capabilities,” Senator Hagerty added.