Information technology and cyber warfare will get a significant boost under recommendations contained in the federal government’s $300 billion Defence White Paper.
According to the White Paper, which is titled Defending Australia in the Asia Pacific Century: Force 2030, over the next two decades Australia will place a high priority on assuring access to high quality space-based imagery.
Defence needs this imagery for mapping, charting, navigation and targeting data. In order to assure access to this imagery, Australia will acquire a satellite with remote sensing capabilities. It is likely that this satellite will use a high resolution, cloud-penetrating synthetic aperture radar.
This satellite imagery, which will be shared with the United States, will be augmented with imagery and data from non-classified, commercial sources.
Defence is also seeking to have a common, Defence-wide ICT architecture designed to ensure that “stove-piping” of relevant data doesn’t occur between the various arms of the ADF.
This approach will be bolstered, according to the White Paper, by improving intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance links with the United States.
Defence has also become concerned about the potential impact of cyber warfare on its networked capabilities. “This emerging threat will require significant and sustained investment by Defence in new technology and analytical capability to guard the integrity of its own information,” the Paper says.
The investment in cyber warfare — both defensive and offensive — remains highly classified, the paper says. However it does outline the general capabilities of the ADF’s cyber defence systems, which includes the establishment of a Cyber Security Operations Centre to co-ordinate responses to incidents in cyberspace.
The Cyber Security Operations Centre will be created within the secretive Defence Signals Directorate, which looks after electronic intelligence in Australia. The paper states that while the capability for Cyber Security will reside within Defence, it will also perform broader national security goals. Whole of government co-ordination will be achieved through the appropriate representation within the Centre from relevant government agencies.