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ASD's performance

For the 2020–21 reporting period, ASD achieved its purpose to defend Australia against global threats and advance our national interests through the provision of foreign signals intelligence, cyber security and offensive cyber operations, as directed by Government. This was achieved through the successful delivery of four key activities:

  • foreign signals intelligence
  • cyber security services
  • offensive cyber operations
  • sustain and secure future capability.

ASD’s operating environment continued to be complicated by the impacts of COVID-19 during the 2020–21 reporting period. The outcomes of ASD’s COVID-19 response can be seen in its success in responding to an increased operational tempo while continuing to deliver on its commitments to the Government.

In 2020–21, ASD continued to mature its performance framework, including designing a set of seven performance measures to support the evaluation of ASD’s performance against its key activities and purpose. Because ASD has reconsidered its approach to performance oversight, including the effectiveness and practicality of selected methodologies, these new performance measures were not in place at the conclusion of this reporting period. Performance has therefore been assessed using the performance framework (see Figure 2) published in ASD’s Corporate Plan 2020–21 and the Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS). The performance framework sets out ASD’s purpose, key activities, performance criteria, and key performance indicators (KPIs).

ASD is committed to building its organisational governance capacity to improve its ability to implement an effective performance framework. In 2020–21, ASD established performance registers to track, monitor, and measure ASD’s performance against the enterprise KPIs. This includes refining mechanisms for assessing all major activities conducted by ASD through improving the identification of data sources and maturing the reporting and evaluation process.

Due to the nature of ASD’s work, classified performance information will continue to be reported through existing performance frameworks in classified channels. As per existing processes, this was achieved through the annual classified submission to the PJCIS on administration and expenditure. The ASD Annual Report and its classified submission to the PJCIS together meet ASD’s reporting obligations under both the PGPA Act and the ISA.

ASD reports regularly on mission-related activities via National Intelligence Community (NIC) governance forums coordinated by the Office of National Intelligence (ONI). Additionally, ASD participates in the annual NIC Evaluation, also coordinated by ONI, which reviews mission outcomes and collaboration between NIC agencies. Further, ASD provides full classified financial reporting to the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) through the annual audit of its financial statements. ASD activities are also subject to independent and external review through the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS), with the ANAO also able to conduct audits on any finance and performance matter.

Figure 2: ASD's performance framework  A figure outlining ASDs performance framework, including the eight Key Performance Indicators, the four Performance Criteria and key activities, the strategic objectives and ASD’s purpose. The key activities and performance indicators are outlined in the next sections.