Thursday, January 24, 2013

Australian National Security Strategy Emphasizes Cybersecurity

The Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, launched "Strong and Secure: A Strategy for Australia’s National Security" at the Australian National University in Canberra, on 23 January 2013. The 58 page document is available as a 3.4 Mbyte PDF file 3.44MB and RTF 1.37MB. Also available are a Media release on the National Security Strategy and the text of the PM's speech "Australia's National Security Beyond the 9/11 Decade". In the list of key national security risks, "Malicious cyber activity" is placed third, ahead of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

DSD Cyber Security Operations Centre, 13 January 2010, DoD photo
The PM also mentioned that an "Australian Cyber Security Centre" would be separately announced. The policy document also mentions as a priority "Integrated cyber policy and operations
to enhance the defence of our digital networks". This would be a welcome change in the government's current approach, which is to announce cyber-security strategies, such as the Cyber Security White paper, and then  not properly resource and implement them. Also the approach has been fragmented, with different government agencies having separate uncoordinated initiatives and not involving the private sector, or state governments. The Australian Defence Department officially opened its Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC) at the Defence Signals Directorate in Canberra on 15 Januar 2010. Unfortunately the government chose not to support the non-government AusCERT , leaving the private sector open to attack.

Some excerpts from the "Strong and Secure: A Strategy for Australia’s National Security" document:



A unified national security system that anticipates threats, protects the nation and shapes the world in Australia’s interest


  • To protect and strengthen our sovereignty
  • To ensure a safe and resilient population
  • To secure our assets, infrastructure and institutions


  • Espionage and foreign interference
  • Instability in developing and fragile states
  • Malicious cyber activity
  • Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction
  • Serious and organised crime
  • State-based conflict or coercion significantly affecting Australia’s interests
  • Terrorism and violent extremism


Countering terrorism, espionage and foreign interference
Deterring and defeating attacks on Australia and Australia’s interests
Preserving Australia’s border integrity
Preventing, detecting and disrupting serious and organised crime
Promoting a secure international environment conducive to advancing Australia’s interests
Strengthening the resilience of Australia’s people, assets, infrastructure and institutions
The Australia–United States Alliance
Understanding and being influential in the world, particularly the Asia-Pacific


Economic uncertainty and global reordering

  • Ongoing global economic uncertainty and volatility
  • Shift in economic and strategic weight, and trade flows towards the Asia–Pacific region creating new risks and opportunities for Australia
  • Active middle powers increasingly influential in the region; but the United States - China relationship will be the single most influential force in shaping the strategic environment
  • Multilateralism is becoming more important for regional security and at the same time more difficult

Continuing importance of non-state actors

  • Persistent threat from terrorism and increasingly sophisticated serious and organised crime, aided by money laundering and corruption
  • Technology enabling remote but pervasive threats - for example malicious cyber activity
  • Increasing influence of legitimate non-state actors such as private companies

Fragility and conflict in at-risk areas

  • Low likelihood of major power war, but probable ongoing low-level instability in Australia’s region
  • Fragile states and instability in the Middle East and South Asia will remain a challenge
  • Possibility for strategic shocks or local conflicts
  • High demand for international development assistance

Broader global challenges with national security implications

  • Resource security and scarcity
  • Climate change
  • Changing demographics
  • Increasing urbanisation
  • Increasing online engagement
  • Resurgence of violent political groups
  • Corruption


Enhanced regional engagement in support of security and prosperity in the Asian-Century
Integrated cyber policy and operations to enhance the defence of our digital networks
Effective partnerships to achieve innovative and efficient national security outcomes

Executive Summary

This National Security Strategy (the Strategy) is Australia’s first. It provides an overarching framework for our national security efforts, and sets priorities for the next five years. The Strategy is an important next step following the 2008 National Security Statement, which articulated Australia’s national security agenda and set in motion reforms to strengthen the national security community.
The Strategy is in two parts:
  • Part I explains the national security framework - our vision and objectives, and the activities we undertake to achieve these objectives.
  • Part II looks to the future - it examines the strategic outlook and sets priorities to ensure Australia embraces the opportunities and confronts the challenges of the Asian Century.
The Strategy lays out the pillars of Australia’s national security, and sets directions for the next five years. It will aid in focusing the Government’s pursuit of policies and objectives identified in the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper. The Strategy will help inform prioritisation of our resources in a time of fiscal constraint.
Importantly, the Strategy also serves to inform the Australian public, industry and our international partners of our approach to national security. The Strategy will be implemented through enhanced annual planning and budgeting arrangements across national security agencies. There will be a greater focus on partnerships that will see the strengthening of ties with states, territories and business.
Building on the existing strong foundation, our vision for Australia’s national security is for a unified system that anticipates threats, protects the nation, and shapes the world in our interests.
Chapter One discusses Australia’s national security objectives: to ensure a safe and resilient population; to protect and strengthen our sovereignty; to secure our assets, infrastructure and institutions; and to promote a favourable international environment. These objectives anchor decision-making and planning for the national security community.
Chapter Two explains the evolution of Australia’s strategic environment. Given our geography and alliances, our approach to security has always emphasised the defence of our nation and its borders. Naturally, there has been a focus on our own region. Our efforts are reflected in our many regional partnerships. Importantly, our international engagement is imbued with our commitment to liberal democratic values, such as the rule of law, human rights, and equality of opportunity.
The events of the past decade were instrumental in shaping our approach to national security. We have built our capacity to combat terrorism and transnational crime, including through an expansion of our intelligence and law enforcement capability. We developed a more integrated approach to supporting regional stability, for example through our assistance to Timor-Leste and Solomon Islands. This experience also shaped our strong emphasis on civil-military cooperation in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Chapter Two concludes with a summary of the important national security challenges that Australia will continue to face, and the opportunities we must look to seize.

Chapter Three sets out Australia’s fundamental approach to national security and how this approach reflects the current national security environment. It describes the eight pillars of our approach to national security:
  • Countering terrorism, espionage and foreign interference.
  • Deterring and defeating attacks on Australia and Australia’s interests.
  • Preserving our border integrity.
  • Preventing, detecting and disrupting serious and organised crime.
  • Promoting a secure international environment conducive to advancing Australia’s interests.
  • Strengthening the resilience of Australia’s people, assets, infrastructure and institutions.
  • The Australia–United States Alliance.
  • Understanding and being influential in the world, particularly the Asia–Pacific.
The second part of the Strategy looks to the future. In particular, Chapter Four examines the strategic outlook to anticipate challenges and opportunities in the years ahead. Most importantly, it examines the shifting geopolitical environment of the Asian Century. As the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper made clear, our approach to national security must make the most of the transformative economic and strategic changes occurring in Asia.
Asia’s economic growth will increase pressure on water resources and food and energy supplies, with implications for global markets and stability. The growing economic and political weight of China, India and other Asian powers, is also changing the established strategic order, including as a result of their increased military spending.
Neither strategic competition nor the growth in defence capabilities of regional countries makes conflict in the region inevitable or even more likely. Major regional powers understand that a war would be catastrophic. Deepening relationships between states across the region and the increasingly complex interdependencies that now underpin the Asia–Pacific also act as strong stabilising forces.

But there is no room for complacency. The interdependencies that make conflict less likely also make the potential consequences of even the most minor conflicts more far reaching.The increasing capability of armed forces in the region likewise increases the potential for minor clashes to have dangerous outcomes. A concerted effort will be required to shape a peaceful and stable order. Trust and entrenched patterns of dialogue and cooperation will be critical.The threat posed by non-state actors is also likely to evolve and possibly expand - new technology will be harnessed by criminals and terrorists, as they continue to augment their tactics and approaches.
Chapter Five considers the implications of the strategic outlook for Australia’s national security arrangements. It outlines three priorities for the next five years, to achieve our vision for our national security:
  • Enhanced engagement in support of regional security and prosperity in the Asian Century.
  • Integrated cyber policy and operations to enhance the defence of our digital networks.
  • Effective partnerships to achieve innovative and efficient national security outcomes.
... There are also more immediate national security
challenges facing governments around the globe.
In particular, non-state actors such as criminal and
terrorist organisations pose an enduring challenge.
Organised crime is becoming more sophisticated.
Our systems, methods and tools for dealing with it
must keep pace—cyber-enabled crime in particular
requires innovative responses that protect both the
rights and security of citizens. Terrorism remains a
serious threat requiring vigilance through a proactive
intelligence effort, strong partnerships with states and
territories, across business, the Australian community
and our international counterparts.
... In recent times, new and more complex national
security challenges have received greater global
attention. The growing number of malicious cyber
incidents has juxtaposed the dangers of a
hyper-connected world against the considerable
economic and social benefits afforded by the Internet.
Our national security and law enforcement agencies
are now focusing more urgently on how best to
combat cyber-based threats, but not at the expense
of Australians’ privacy and the broader benefits the
online environment brings.
... Malicious cyber activity: Every day, Australian
governments, businesses and individuals face a
range of cyber-related threats such as state-based
and commercial espionage, identity theft, and denial
and disruption of services. If left unchecked,
cyber-related threats have the potential to undermine
confidence in our social and economic stability and
our prosperity.
... Other activities, like our efforts to promote
international norms for cyberspace, see our
diplomats, international lawyers and policy specialists
working with industry, the not-for-profit sector and
foreign governments to shape a secure, open and
accessible online environment that directly benefits
our national security, societal safety and digital
... Serious and organised crime: Serious and
organised crime can undermine our border integrity
and security. It can erode confidence in institutions
and law enforcement agencies, and damage our
economic prosperity and regional stability. It can
involve the procurement, distribution and use of illegal
weapons. This type of crime is highly adaptive and
may link to, or exacerbate, other significant issues
of national security, such as terrorism and malicious
cyber activity.
... States have always used espionage as a tool to
pursue national interests. Today, our reliance on
cyberspace has increased our exposure to this threat.
Espionage and foreign interference activities against
Australia place a range of our national interests at
risk, including: classified government information;
commercial information with direct consequences for
business and the economy; intellectual property; and
the private information of our citizens.

From: Strong and Secure: A Strategy for Australia’s National Security, Australian Government, 23 January 2013

No comments: