Explaining Australia’s sharp turn to information warfare

To Inform is to Influence

BY Greg Austin

Australia’s place in the Asian military scene took a sharp turn last week when the Turnbull Government announced the creation of the country’s modified version of a US Cyber Command. The move followed the 2016 Defence White Paper, which foreshadowed a near doubling of defence spending in the decade, including 1700 new posts in cyber or cyber-related roles. What combination of threat or opportunity pushed Australia into this position?

We can identify the departure point of the new policy as occurring after the 2013 Defence White Paper was published. That document noted merely that ‘Defence will continue to integrate cyber capabilities into routine planning and command and control processes in addition to maintaining and remediating the networks and systems’. The key concepts of ‘information superiority’ or ‘information dominance’ does not explicitly appear. It painted a picture of a Defence organisation hamstrung by…

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