2024 Australian National Defence Strategy unveiled

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Image credit: defence.gov.au

The Australian Government has introduced the inaugural National Defence Strategy, which underscores the imperative for a unified, whole-of-government, and whole-of-nation approach to defence.

Crafted in response to last year’s Defence Strategic Review, the 2024 National Defence Strategy lays out a comprehensive framework aimed at addressing the nation’s complex strategic challenges head-on.

This concept advocates for leveraging all facets of Australia’s national power to achieve a seamlessly integrated approach to security across various domains, including maritime, land, air, space, and cyber.

The strategy emphasises the urgent need for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to undergo a substantial transformation into an integrated and focused force capable of ensuring Australia’s security for decades to come.

It articulates key objectives, including defending Australia and its immediate region, deterring potential adversaries from projecting power through the northern approaches, safeguarding economic connections, contributing to collective security in the Indo-Pacific, and upholding the global rules-based order.

Central to the implementation of the National Defence Strategy is a significant increase in investment in the ADF’s posture, capability, and structure.

Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles hailed the National Defence Strategy as an important step towards ensuring Australia’s security and prosperity.

“The National Defence Strategy outlines how we are transforming the ADF and equipping it to survive in a much less certain world,” he noted.

Marles added, “These transformational reforms are designed to ensure that peace, security, and prosperity are maintained in our region.”

The Australian Government has committed an additional $5.7 billion over the next four years and $50.3 billion over the next decade in Defence funding, surpassing previous trajectories.

This funding boost will support initiatives, including the enhancement of the Navy’s surface combatant fleet, bolstering ADF preparedness for long-range strike capabilities and autonomous systems, and accelerating priority capabilities through the rebuilt Integrated Investment Program (IIP).

Acknowledging that people constitute Defence’s most valuable asset, the strategy also prioritises initiatives to recruit, retain, and develop a highly skilled workforce aligned with the objectives of National Defence.

The government has introduced measures such as the ADF Continuation Bonus and improved access to educational opportunities and health benefits.

Additionally, plans are underway to widen eligibility criteria for recruitment, streamline the recruiting process, and encourage longer service through retention initiatives.