Earlier this year, Australia unveiled its 2022-23 federal budget, which shows a strong commitment to cybersecurity. The A$9.9 billion ($6.8 billion) investment will be allocated and spent by the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) over the next 10 years under a new program called Resilience, Effects , Defense, Space, Intelligence, Cyber and Enablers (REDSPICE). In 2020, Australia pledged A$1.35 billion to security agencies under a program called Cyber Enhanced Situational Awareness and Response (CESAR).
“REDSPICE ensures that Australia keeps pace with the rapid growth of cyber capabilities of potential adversaries,” Defense Minister Peter Dutton said in a joint press release. “It provides new intelligence capabilities, new cyber defenses to protect our most critical systems, and is a real power boost to ASD’s ability to fight back in cyberspace.”
REDSPICE Blueprint presents an action plan
According to the REDSPICE Blueprint, the goal of the initiative is to build on Australia’s strong cybersecurity foundation by expanding the range and sophistication of the country’s offensive and defensive intelligence and cybersecurity capabilities. The strategic objectives of the programs are to provide strategic advantage, lead cybersecurity, support military operations, counter cyber threats, and provide trusted advice and expertise. Overall, the theme is to capture and maintain the Australian public’s confidence in the government’s ability to protect against cybersecurity threats.
The Blueprint details the specific outcomes the program is working towards:
- Current cyber offensive triple power
- Double Persistent Cyber Hunting Activities
- Increase the use of advanced artificial intelligence, machine learning and cloud technology
- Quadruple its global footprint
- Add 1,900 new analysts, technologists, corporate staff and enabling roles across Australia and the world
- Have 40% of staff located outside of Canberra.
“This investment in the ASD recognizes the deteriorating strategic circumstances in our region, characterized by rapid military expansion, increasing coercive behavior and increased cyberattacks,” Dutton added in the press release. “He acknowledges that the nature of the conflict has changed, with cyberattacks now generally preceding other forms of military intervention – most recently demonstrated by offensive cyber activity against Ukraine.”
Where is the funding going
According to ZDNET, the investment will also fund the following cybersecurity-related projects:
- Consumer data rights measures (A$38.4 million)
- A fourth cyber hub within the Australian Taxation Office (A$30.2 million)
- Shaping critical and emerging global technology standards (A$18.6 million)
- Further digitization of the transport sector (A$13.6).
“The REDSPICE project is an essential investment in our digital sovereignty. There are growing cyber threats and we are taking action to secure our country,” Deputy Minister Hastie said in the press release. “It will create highly skilled jobs and equip the next generation of Australians to defend our critical infrastructure. The Morrison Government’s investment in ASD will enable our cyber operators to fight back against our adversaries and protect Australia and our online interests.