Defence launches 'Information Warfare Division'

Authorised to conduct offensive operations, subject to government oversight

The Australian Defence Force is launching a new ‘Information Warfare Division’ responsible for ‘electronic warfare’, the government announced today.

The unit will be responsible for “military cyber operations, military intelligence, joint electronic warfare, information operations and space operations,” the minister assisting the prime minister for cyber security, Dan Tehan, said this morning.

The division is authorised to conduct self-defence, passive defence, active defence and offensive operations.

“It will integrate existing operations from across our defence forces to protect and support our ADF deployed personnel and systems,” Tehan added.

Any offensive actions would be subject to ministerial oversight, Tehan noted.

“We have the best military commanders I think of any nation,” he said. “These are decisions which ultimately they take in consultation with the Government.”

The exact cost of the new unit was not disclosed, but it will be funded from the $400 million outlined in the 2016 Defence White Paper to boost the ADF’s cyber capabilities.

It is understood Defence adjusted its recruitment requirements in order to bring the skilled staff it needed into the unit, relaxing its ‘physical entry standards’.

The unit will have 100 staff when it launches tomorrow, expected to increase to 900 staff over the next ten years.

Not catch up

The new unit was not a matter ‘catching up’ with the cyber might of other nations, Tehan said.

“We have an outstanding capability when it comes to cyber within the Australian military and within the Australian military intelligence. What today's announcement is about is ensuring that we keep level with other countries and that we keep our capacity.

"This is not about catching up, this is about making sure we are staying at the cutting edge."

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Tags cyber warfareAustralian Defence Force (ADF)ADFAustralian Signals Directorate (ASD)Information Warfare Division

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