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Purpose: Defend and protect Australia and advance its strategic interests

Outcome 1: Defend Australia and its national interests through the conduct of operations and provision of support for the Australian community and civilian authorities in accordance with Government direction.

Outcome 1: Defend Australia and its national interests through the conduct of operations and provision of support for the Australian community and civilian authorities in accordance with Government direction.

Defence achieved Outcome 1 in 2019–20. The Government successfully deployed the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to meet national objectives. The ADF conducted operations to defend Australia’s interests domestically, through the Indo-Pacific region, and globally to promote stability, integrity and cohesion.

Domestically Defence provided both emergency and non-emergency support in accordance with Defence Assistance to the Civil Community arrangements as part of a whole-of-government response where state or territory capacity or resources did not exist or were not available quickly enough. Defence emergency assistance to civil agencies increased overall in 2019–20 due to major bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Defence provided significant assistance to bushfire fighting efforts across Australia, with a deterioration in conditions leading to the declaration of Operation BUSHFIRE ASSIST 2019–2020 on 31 December 2019. As part of Operation BUSHFIRE ASSIST 2019–2020 the Governor-General enacted a Call Out of Reserves to undertake continuous fulltime service in support of civilian agencies. This was the first wide-scale Call Out of the Reserves for national disaster relief in Australian history. Around 3,000 Reservists supported the Operation—about 2,500 under compulsory Call Out and around 500 providing further support.

Defence responded swiftly to the COVID-19 pandemic, establishing the COVID-19 Taskforce in March 2020 to coordinate Defence’s contribution to the whole-of-government response. A further objective of the taskforce was departmental resilience and operational continuity.

Operation COVID-19 ASSIST was subsequently established in April 2020 under the Defence Assistance to the Civil Community framework, as the ADF supported the Commonwealth, state, and territory governments in partnership to protect public health. Defence assistance has included reconnaissance, planning and contact tracing teams; medical assistance in north-west Tasmania; supporting mandatory quarantine arrangements; and supporting state and territory police border controls. Defence Science and Technology Group provided specialist technical support, including diagnostic platform development, virus survivability and fate research, pandemic modelling, trials of a potential COVID-19 prophylactic, production of personal protective equipment, and ventilator repurposing.

The COVID-19 pandemic affected the conduct of operations and activities, specifically in relation to the movement of personnel within the region. However, adjustments were successfully incorporated to minimise this impact as far as possible. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a number of training and international engagement activities were cancelled or postponed, including Operation RENDER SAFE, Exercise PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP, several airborne surveillance
missions and Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2020.

In 2019–20 Defence continued Australia’s international engagement in our immediate neighbourhood and where our wider interests are engaged. Among other activities, Defence supported the international community and continued Australia’s contribution to the international rules-based order and peacekeeping by engaging in operations in the Middle East and Africa.

Within our immediate neighbourhood, Defence successfully transitioned Operation AUGURY-PHILIPPINES to the Enhanced Defence Cooperation Program—Philippines. We continued airborne maritime surveillance missions in South-East Asia and the South-West Pacific, and provided humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to Vanuatu and Fiji.

The ADF also supported the participation of seven nations from the South-West Pacific in the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo staged in Sydney in October 2019. This included providing RAAF transport to and from Australia and ceremonial uniforms for performers. Media coverage of the ADF’s support to the South-West Pacific reached over 100 million people globally and more than half of the South-West Pacific population. The ADF is continuing to build on the successful relationships forged through the event with the development of a South Pacific virtual musical
project during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, the Australian Defence College, in conjunction with Joint Health Command and Joint Logistics Command, developed and implemented a number of online training and awareness courses that were COVID-19 specific. As at end June 2020, Defence organisation personnel had registered approximately 220,000 course completions. The training was also translated into five languages and provided to regional partners on an open web portal, with visitations from 60 countries.

Outside of our immediate region Defence supported enduring coalition and United Nations (UN) operations in the Middle East and Africa; the International Maritime Security Construct and freedom of navigation in the Straits of Hormuz; and enforcement of United Nations sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Australia’s commitment to training Iraqi forces in the Taji Military Complex ceased, and all personnel successfully returned to Australia.

PBS programs contribution to Outcome 1

PBS 1.1

Operations Contributing to the Safety of the Immediate Neighbourhood

PBS 1.2

Operations Supporting Wider Interests

PBS 1.3

Defence Contributions to National Support Tasks in Australia

Outcome 2: Protect and advance Australia’s strategic interests through the provision of strategic policy, the development, delivery and sustainment of military, intelligence and enabling capabilities, and the promotion of regional and global security and stability as directed by Government.

Defence achieved Outcome 2 in 2019–20 while managing and minimising the impact of COVID-19 related restrictions upon activities.

Defence undertook a Strategic Policy Review to assess the strategic underpinnings of the 2016 Defence White Paper. The outcomes of the review have been published in the 2020 Defence Strategic Update. The Strategic Update and the 2020 Force Structure Plan will ensure the ADF remains agile and ready to respond to a range of developments in Australia’s strategic environment over the coming decade.

Military, intelligence, and enabling capabilities were delivered and sustained to support operational outcomes and meet preparedness requirements. Acquisition projects were delivered to agreed parameters of scope and cost, and sustainment of military equipment met agreed availability targets. Provision of intelligence priorities including high-quality strategic-level intelligence assessments supported operations, organisation and whole-of-government policy,
and capability development. Science and technology strategic research activities continued to create opportunities to provide Defence with a capability edge. With the support of enabling service delivery groups, Defence Capability Managers achieved the required preparedness levels and operational outcomes.

Defence successfully generated capabilities to meet preparedness requirements. Preparedness levels were challenged by the unprecedented requirement to support Operation BUSHFIRE ASSIST 2019–2020 and Operation COVID-19 ASSIST, and the impact of COVID-19 on Defence business. Planning and prioritisation were used to generate capability at the required level of preparedness for the defence of Australia and its national interests.

In 2019–20, Defence worked closely with industry to build a robust and internationally competitive defence industrial base. This included extensive consultation in preparing the Sovereign Industrial Capability Priorities.
These priorities are:

  • Collins class submarine maintenance and technology upgrade
  • Continuous shipbuilding program (including rolling submarine acquisition)
  • Land combat vehicle and technology upgrade
  • Enhanced active and passive phased array radar capability
  • Combat clothing survivability and signature reduction technologies
  • Advanced signal processing capability in electronic warfare, cyber and information security, and signature management technologies and operations
  • Surveillance and intelligence data collection, analysis dissemination and complex systems integration
  • Test, evaluation, certification and systems assurance
  • Munitions and small arms research, design, development and manufacture
  • Aerospace platform deeper maintenance and structural integrity.

Implementation plans for combat clothing and for munitions and small arms were both published in December 2019, and an implementation plan for land combat vehicles will be published in August 2020. Implementation plans for the remaining seven priorities will be released in the second half of 2020.

The Defence Innovation Hub, the Next Generation Technologies Fund, the Global Supply Chain Program and Defence industry grant programs continued to deliver practical outcomes for industry. The Australian Defence Export Office continued to implement the Defence Export Strategy, including through Team Defence Australia led industry attendance at pre-COVID-19 international trade shows and trade missions, and through the Defence Global Competitiveness Grants program.

Defence enhanced international engagement by continuing investment in the Defence Cooperation Program, increasing the number of training positions for international military students in Australia, and raising Defence’s broader international profile. Additional overseas positions were created, notably to enhance Defence science and technology cooperation. Defence also regularly meets with allies and partners to discuss national naval shipbuilding issues.

We continued to enhance health and welfare services to Australian Defence Force members and families through support for transitions, support during casualty and critical incidents, mobility, and community capacity building. Defence’s community capacity building has provided community centres and grants through the Family Support Funding Program. We continued to provide practical support to ADF members transitioning from the military, including transition seminars and expos, and post-transition surveys to enhance transition outcomes for members.

Overall Defence sustained core deliverables during the COVID-19 pandemic and continued to build on the reform initiatives of the First Principles Review throughout 2019–20.

PBS program contributing to Outcome 2

PBS 2.1

Strategic Policy and Intelligence

PBS 2.2

Defence Executive Support

PBS 2.3

Defence Finance

PBS 2.4

Joint Capabilities

PBS 2.5

Navy Capabilities

PBS 2.6

Army Capabilities

PBS 2.7

Air Force Capabilities

PBS 2.8

Australian Defence Force Headquarters

PBS 2.9

Capability Acquisition and Sustainment

PBS 2.10

Estate and Infrastructure

PBS 2.11

Chief Information Officer

PBS 2.12

Defence People

PBS 2.13

Defence Science and Technology

PBS 2.14

Defence Force Superannuation Benefits

PBS 2.15

Defence Force Superannuation Nominal Interest

PBS 2.16

Housing Assistance

PBS 2.17

Other Administered

Alignment between Defence’s Purpose, Outcomes, Corporate Plan Performance Criteria and Portfolio Budget Statement Programs

Defence maintains a clear line of sight between the Defence Corporate Plan, Portfolio Budget Statements, Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements and Annual Report. Figure 3.2 provides detail of the alignment.

Diagram shows the linkages between Defence's Purpose to our two Outcomes, the Defence Corporate Plan performance criteria and Portfolio Budget Statements programs.
Figure 3.2: Linkages between Defence Purpose, Outcomes, Performance Criteria and Portfolio Budget Statements