The government will spend $38.7 billion on national security with some of the funds allocated to defending against cyberattacks as part of its Cyber Security Strategy.
In an attempt to protect government IT systems against targeted attacks and enable quick responses in the event of incidents, the Australian Cyber Security Centre will deliver intelligence, cyber security and offensive operations in support of the Australian Government and Australian Defense Force (ADF).
The government will invest in the creation of cyber security ‘SPRINT teams’ and a Cyber Security Response Fund, according to a joint statement from the minister of defence, Christopher Pyne and minister of defence industry, Senator Linda Reynolds.
Defence Budget papers for 2019-20 show the department will continue to support and implement whole-of-government security reforms and launch the new Defence Industry Security Program to protect against the threat of foreign espionage and interference.
To provide a strategic advantage for Defence, including for future ADF operations, the department will continue to implement the Defence Strategic Workforce Plan, including growing its cyber and intelligence workforce.
Defence conducts strategic research into high-impact areas for future Defence capability, anticipating advances in emerging science and technology that pose threats and opportunities. Its capability development options will continue to be enhanced through collaboration with research and industry partners, nationally and globally.
Key to the department’s strategy will be workforce that includes people with skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). To ensure this, there will be a release of the first Defence Industry Skilling and STEM Strategy to help industry meet workforce skills requirements over the coming decade.
The boost to cyber security will be important to the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), the agency responsible for keeping track of global threats and advances the national interest through the provision of foreign signals intelligence, cyber security and offensive cyber operations.
In a speech to the Lowy Institute in March this year, Mike Burgess, director-general ASD, said the agency uses specialised tools and techniques to disrupt adversaries’ communications, or interfere with the way they operate online.
“When people think of offensive cyber – they focus on the high-end of the spectrum involving computer network attack operations to destroy an adversary’s communication device,” he said.
“Yes, this is something that ASD does, but in very specific circumstances, and within a strict legal framework.”