Defence launches 'Information Warfare Division'

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 offensiveoperations.

“It will integrate existing operations fromacross our defence forces to protect and support our ADF deployedpersonnel and systems,” Tehan added.

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

“We have thebest military commanders I think ofany nation,” he said. “These are decisionswhich ultimately they take inconsultation 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 anoutstanding capability when it comesto cyber within the Australian military and within the Australianmilitary intelligence. What today's announcement is about is ensuringthat we keep level with othercountries and that we keep ourcapacity.

"This is not about catchingup, this is about making sure we arestaying at the cutting edge."

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