ASD's purpose is to defend Australia against global threats and advance Australia’s national interests through the provision of foreign signals intelligence, cyber security and offensive cyber operations, as directed by the Government.
ASD operates in accordance with section 7 of the Intelligence Services Act 2001 (the ISA), which states that ASD's functions are to:
- Collect foreign signals intelligence
- Communicate foreign signals intelligence
- Prevent and disrupt offshore cyber-enabled crime
- Provide cyber security advice and assistance to Australian governments, businesses, and individuals
- Support military operations
- Protect the specialised tools ASD uses to fulfil its functions
- Cooperate with and assist the national security community's performance of its functions.
In order to do this, ASD masters technology and its application to inform (signals intelligence), protect (cyber security) and generate effects (offensive cyber operations).
Underpinning ASD's purpose are five strategic objectives:
- Deliver strategic advantage for Australia by providing intelligence that protects and advances Australia's national interests
- Lead in cyber security, making Australia the safest place to connect online, and foster national cyber security resilience
- Support military operations, enabling the war fighter, and protecting Defence personnel and assets
- Counter cyber-enabled threats, protecting Australia and Australians by countering cyber-enabled crime and disrupting terrorists' use of the internet
- Provide trusted advice and expertise, delivering timely, quality advice to government, law enforcement, businesses and the community.