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Strategic direction

Considerable effort was invested in 2019–20 to generate adjustments to Defence policy, capability and force structure. These adjustments are reflected in the 2020 Defence Strategic Update and 2020 Force Structure Plan, launched by the Prime Minister and the Minister for Defence on 1 July 2020, which sets out the challenges in Australia’s strategic environment and their implications for Defence planning.

In implementing the 2016 Defence White Paper, substantial progress has been made in transforming the Australian Defence Force (ADF) into a more capable, agile and potent force. This has been underpinned by investment in Australia’s military capabilities and industries; a focus on strengthened international engagement, particularly with the United States, Japan, India, New Zealand, South-East Asia and South Pacific nations, and other allies and partners in our region; and ongoing implementation of organisational reform following the 2015 First Principles Review.

The Government has now directed Defence to implement a new strategic policy framework that signals Australia’s ability and willingness to shape our strategic environment, deter actions against our interests and, when required, respond with credible military force.

These objectives are backed by Government investment of approximately $270 billion over the decade to 2029–2030 in new and upgraded Defence capabilities, including more potent and longer-range combat systems and more secure supply chains. The Government will also continue deepening our alliance with the United States and strengthening our regional engagement across the Indo-Pacific, including through the Pacific Step-Up, and will increase the ADF’s ability to respond to natural disasters, including within Australia.

The Government’s plans for Defence capability are underpinned by its policies of developing a strong, sustainable and secure Australian defence industry and supporting leading-edge national innovation. The Government is committed to maximising opportunities for Australian industry, including in regional areas, in Defence projects.