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Key Activity 1: Foreign signals intelligence

Performance Criterion: ASD’s foreign signals intelligence informs strategic, operational and tactical decision-making.

2020-21 Result: Achieved.

During 2020–21, ASD continued to generate foreign signals intelligence that provided the Government with insight into global strategic and military developments, enabling effective operational and tactical decision-making. ASD’s achievement against this performance criterion was evaluated through qualitative assessment of the impact of foreign signals intelligence on Australia’s strategic, operational and tactical decision-makers.

Key Performance Indicator 1

ASD’s intelligence product, technical expertise and advice deliver strategic advantage and enable National Intelligence Community (NIC) operations.

During 2020–21, ASD provided intelligence products, technical expertise and advice to the NIC on threats to national security. An example of ASD’s activities in this regard would be tracking the foreign communications of extremists who were a threat to Australians and Australian interests. ASD actively participates in frequent engagement and evaluation processes with the wider NIC. This has enabled ASD to focus its efforts on what is critical to the NIC, ensuring relevant and vital contributions to whole-of-government activities with high-impact collection, analysis, data and linguistic support. ASD also seeks opportunities to engage the support of partners in meeting Australian requirements. Additionally, ASD has embedded liaison officers in key departments who have proven to be valuable in supporting intelligence needs and decision-making.

Key Performance Indicator 2

ASD’s foreign signals intelligence and technical expertise effectively supports military operations.

During 2020–21, ASD foreign signals intelligence was used to support deployed Australian Defence Force (ADF) elements and helped inform tactical and operational decision-making. ASD maintains strong ties to Defence and the ADF and conducts regular engagement to review requirements. This ensured that key Defence and ADF outcomes were well understood by ASD and addressed. Stakeholders in Defence and the ADF confirmed that ASD’s foreign signals intelligence and technical expertise were high impact, and provided effective support to military operations. ASD also delivered advanced cyber training to ADF personnel to improve defensive and offensive cyber capabilities.