Australia has a formal alliance with the United States known as the ANZUS Treaty, which was concluded in 1951. The ANZUS Treaty binds Australia and the United States to consult on mutual threats, and, in accordance with our respective constitutional processes, to act to meet common dangers. It was invoked by Australia for the first time in response to the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001.
The Alliance is the foundation of defence and security cooperation between Australia and the United States. This increases Australia's ability to protect itself and its interests by providing access to world-leading defence hardware and technologies, access to training courses and combined exercises, and to vital intelligence capabilities. Such cooperation supports joint efforts against terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. For more information about the defence relationship, see the Department of Defence's website.
The Australia-US Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) are held between foreign and defence ministers on an annual basis, and are hosted alternately by Australia and the United States. Formal consultations among senior officials include policy planning talks, political-military discussions and military-military talks. The 2010 AUSMIN confirmed the enduring value of the Australia-US Alliance and its adaptability in meeting contemporary and evolving strategic challenges.
Australia, the United States and Japan have a ministerial-level Trilateral Security Dialogue, which advances practical trilateral cooperation to promote stability and security in the Asia-Pacific region. Trilateral cooperation complements and enhances the strong bilateral relationships between Australia, Japan and the United States.