A new facility for the Australian Cyber Security Centre will house up to 650 workstations, offering significant room for the ACSC to expand. However, a crucial driver for the ACSC’s relocation is that it will boost opportunities for collaboration between the centre’s lead agency — the Australian Signals Directorate — and the other agencies that participate in the ACSC.
The ACSC — which brings together cyber security capabilities from Department of Defence, the Attorney-General’s Department, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) — is currently based out of the Ben Chifley Building in Canberra.
The ACSC move is currently the subject of a parliamentary inquiry, which launched on Friday.
Defence is planning to relocate the ACSC to leased facilities at BP14-16
within the Brindabella Business Park in Canberra. The new offices will
support multiple physical security zones and also provide room for industry, academia and innovation initiatives.
Relocating the centre to an environment that supports working at multiple levels of classification will “facilitate greater levels of collaboration between ASD and its ACSC partners, particularly CERT Australia, the AFP and the ACIC, most of whose personnel currently do not hold the appropriate clearances required to work in the Ben Chifley Building,” states a Department of Defence submission to a parliamentary inquiry into the relocation project.
“Historically, ASD’s information security mission has been focussed on the protection of highly classified information and networks, much of which required ASD staff to work in an appropriately secured environment. Over the last decade ASD’s cyber security mission has increasingly been directed towards the protection and defence of government networks that are connected to the internet. The nature of the work has evolved to the point where operating solely in a highly classified environment is a hindrance to ASD’s delivery of their cyber security mission.”
Relocation of the ACSC was one of the priorities of the national cyber security strategy unveiled in April, following an assessment in February by the Department of Defence that the expansion in the centre’s operations would require new facilities.
Relocating the ACSC “will enable a more integrated partnership between the Government and its operational stakeholders, including businesses, the research and academic community and foreign partners collaborating with the ACSC,” the government’s cyber security strategy stated.
“Relocation may improve the ability of relevant ACSC agencies to quickly recruit new people and offer more flexible arrangements to continue to attract and retain a highly skilled workforce. It will enable the ACSC to accommodate new staff recruited as a result of the Strategy’s implementation.”
The project has an approved budget of $38.8 million (excluding GST), including fit-out and relocation, Defence said.
Subject to parliamentary approval, construction is expected to commence in March next year and be completed by December 2017, with some ACSC work expected to be conducted out of the new HQ by June 2017.