New Agency to oversee acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines

6 July 2023

The Nuclear Powered Submarine Taskforce (the Taskforce) signed off for the last time on 30 June 2023 as it transitioned to the Australian Submarine Agency (the Agency) on 1 July.

The Taskforce, formed in September 2021, was responsible for establishing the pathway for Australia to acquire a conventionally-armed, nuclear-powered submarine capability. Now that pathway is clear, the Agency will be responsible and accountable for the management and oversight of the nuclear-powered submarine program. 

Vice Admiral Jonathan Mead AO RAN has been appointed the inaugural Director-General of the Agency, following his distinguished leadership of the Taskforce.

Speaking at the launch of the ASA at Brindabella Park in Canberra on 30 June, VADM Mead said he was looking forward to the challenge of delivering Australia’s fleet of conventionally-armed nuclear-powered submarines.

“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”.

Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles acknowledged the importance of the Agency and the key role it will play in strengthening Australia’s defence capability.

“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 history,” Mr Marles said.

“The ASA will be critical in delivering a game-changing capability for the defence of Australia and security of our region.”

Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy reinforced what the establishment of the ASA would mean for the Australian jobs industry and economy at large.

“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 in not only growing and developing the Australian industrial base to deliver conventionally-armed nuclear-powered submarines, but will also strengthen our partnership with the US and UK, to deliver a stronger, more secure Australia and Indo-Pacific region”.

The ASA will be headquartered in Canberra, with personnel located throughout sites in SA, Victoria and WA, as well as internationally in the US and UK.

The Agency will be responsible for the cradle-to-grave management of Australia’s conventionally-armed, nuclear-powered submarines including acquisition, delivery, construction, technical governance, sustainment, and disposal.