Security, IT essential capabilities: Defence

Latest Defence Capability Plan update highlights importance of domestic IT industry to the nation's defence

Electronic warfare, high-end systems integration and software support have been identified by the Department of Defence as critical domestic industries for the future defence capabilities of the country.

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Detailing the importance of the capabilities in the latest update of the 2009 Defence Capability Plan (DCP) — which builds on the strategic goals set out in the 2009 Force 2030 white paper — Defence said it deemed IT to be a be Priority Industry Capabilities (PICs) and strategically important to the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

“PICs are those industry capabilities which would confer an essential strategic advantage by being resident within Australia and which, if not available, would significantly undermine defence self-reliance and ADF operational capability,” the update reads.

Detailing the need for electronic warfare capabilities, the update said the country needed a responsive and effective electronic warfare industry sector that could adapt and integrate new systems to meet the Defence’s operational military and security requirements.

This included electronic warfare countermeasures development and validation, electronic warfare reprogramming and system integration of overseas-developed systems, the management of threat libraries, and selective product development to maintain high-end electronic warfare knowledge and capacity.

High-end system and ‘system of systems’ integration was needed to integrate complex systems onboard ADF platforms and conduct ‘system of systems’ integration of off-the-shelf capabilities into the ADF’s command and control networks.

“This capability is essential to choose a mix of the best systems for the ADF, without relying on specific products and solutions offered by overseas suppliers,” the update reads. ”It is also essential to deliver the ADF’s Network Centric Warfare vision.”

Read more about information security in CIO Australia’s security category.

The Defence update also notes through-life and real-time support of mission critical and safety critical software was needed for real time, or near real time, adjustment to software associated with critical systems.

“As some critical systems change and support activities cannot occur over the ‘usual’ software upgrade timelines, Defence requires a local industry capability to manage its own systems and data, and to adapt systems to meet our requirements,” the update reads.

Additionally the update outlines an important role for geospatial information and systems, Protection of networks, and Repair and maintenance of specialist airborne early warning and control systems computers and communications as ‘ Strategic Industry Capabilities’, or SICs.

“The timely provision of analysed and accurate geospatial data (including electronic warfare-related threat library data) to the ADF cannot be accomplished without the provision of secure communications links, programming assistance and through-life support for hardware and software,” the update reads.

Both cyber security and geospatial systems were identified as major priorities in the original Force 2030 white paper released in May 2009.

The OECD has also recently highlighted the risks of cyber warfare and cyber security to nations in a recent study.

“The effects of cyber attacks are difficult to predict – on the one hand they may be less powerful than hoped but may also have more extensive outcomes arising from the interconnectedness of systems, resulting in unwanted damage to perpetrators and their allies,” the study reads.

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More about: Australian Defence Force, Department of Defence, OECD
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