The Government has pledged an additional $138 million in funding between 2010-13 for the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) if re-elected on 21 August.
The promise, part of a multi-billion dollar Labor policy plan for Australia’s defence force, would also see a “strengthening” of the Corporate Enabling Research Program.
The program is geared at developing Defence technology for current and future operations in areas such as cyber and electronic warfare, hypersonics, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
The funding is in line with comments from Defence minister, Greg Combet, in September that there was a growing role for the DSTO in the future defence of the country.
“Staying at the forefront of the technology is key to the ADF’s capability edge," he said. "DSTO contributes directly to maintaining that edge by exploiting, adapting and developing new technology, so that our fighting men and women have the best possible equipment and platforms at their disposal.”
The policy document also pledges to improve Australia’s ability to deal with cyber security attacks via new capital projects to improve signals intelligence collection and analytic capabilities at the Cyber Security Operations Centre.
The centre, announced as part of the Defence White Paper released last year, is housed inside the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) headquarters in Canberra and aims to provide a critical understanding of the threat from sophisticated cyber attacks.
The policy document reiterated that the centre, which opened in January with 51 staff draw from the DSD, would grow to about 130 over the next five years and include personnel drawn from agencies such as ASIO, the ADF, the AFP and the Attorney-General's Department.
The Government also committed to continuing the Defence strategic reform program (SRP) which aims to achieve savings of $20 billion over a ten year period across areas such logistics, procurement, shared services, ICT and maintenance.
As reported by Computerworld Australia, pressure on Defence to ensure that the Strategic Reform Program (SRP) succeeds increased in April with the Minister for Defence, Senator John Faulkner, linking the full implementation of the program to the ability of Australia to defend itself in the future.