Australian news, and some related international items

 Australia’s ongoing nuclear submarine debacle – A tangle of overlapping interests’ Michelle Fahy 5 Nov 22

The federal government’s secret hiring from 2015 of numerous former US Navy officials to advise on Australia’s submarine procurement was exposed by The Washington Post a fortnight ago. “Some of the retired admirals have worked for the Australian government while simultaneously consulting for US shipbuilders and the US Navy, including on classified programs,” the Post said. The US officials benefited financially from “a tangle of overlapping interests”. The Post revealed that one former US admiral had been consulting to Australia while also occupying a full time position as chairman of the board of Huntington Ingalls Industries, a US company that builds US nuclear-powered submarines. That arrangement was abandoned in April this year due to conflict of interest concerns.

Australian defence experts Mike Scrafton and Richard Tanter have outlined the implications of these revelations in John Menadue’s public policy journal, Pearls and Irritations.

Mike Scrafton said, “What remains unclear now is the extent to which the abandonment of the French submarine and the decision to pursue a nuclear powered version was influenced by the Americans. The dramatic shift to the AUKUS project casts the role of the ex-US officials in a different light.”

Red flags have been a feature of Australia’s submarine procurement process since the original deal with France’s Naval Group in 2016. Concerns there included the government’s selection of Naval Group despite it being under investigation for corruption in three earlier shipbuilding contracts, with a fourth investigation added after Australia handed Naval Group the deal. Neither this alarming fact, nor other questionable aspects of the deal, triggered a rethink to find a more suitable contractor. The Washington Post revelations now raise even more questions about the backroom dealings in this disastrous extended procurement process.


November 5, 2022 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, secrets and lies, weapons and war

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