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Annual Report 2013-14

Volume 1, Part 2 : Performance

Program 1.5: Intelligence Capabilities

The Deputy Secretary Intelligence and Security, Mr Stephen Meekin, oversees the activities of the three Defence intelligence agencies—the Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation, the Defence Intelligence Organisation and the Australian Signals Directorate—and the Defence Security Authority including the Australian Government Security Vetting Agency.


During 2013–14, the Intelligence and Security Group met the majority of its deliverables and continued to deliver timely intelligence.

Of particular note was the key role the Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation played in supporting the international search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean.

The Defence Security Authority began developing a security risk management governance framework, which will embed a risk-based approach to security within Defence. The new framework will strengthen Defence’s approach to security by formalising the reporting of security risks and guiding the application of security risk management across Defence management. The authority is streamlining the vetting process and implementing business efficiencies to reduce the gap between vetting capacity and demand.

The Cyber Security Operations Centre contributed to addressing the cyber security threat. Hosted at the Australian Signals Directorate, the centre continued to work closely within Defence and with other government agencies to ensure that Australia is both protected against emerging cyber threats and adequately positioned to meet the Government’s requirement to implement the Top 4 Strategies to Mitigate Targeted Cyber Intrusions—a new mandatory requirement in 2013 under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997.

The Australian Signals Directorate established a dedicated team to engage actively with Commonwealth, state
and territory governments to enhance their cyber security posture through threat assessments, security alerts,
and guidance and defensive measures; revision of the Australian Government Information Security Manual;
and vulnerability assessments.

The Group continued to play an active role in ADF operations and exercises.

The Group placed significant emphasis on ensuring that its activities were compliant with the Intelligence Services Act 2001 and other relevant legislation. This was achieved through mandatory and comprehensive training and regular liaison with the Office of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security.

The Group maintained strong and effective international relationships, cooperating closely with its international intelligence and security partners. Defence intelligence collection and assessments are valued by the Group’s international partners.

The Foreign Language Directive, released in April 2014, provides strategic policy direction for the management of Defence’s foreign language capability, including foreign language training and testing of Defence personnel, management and administration of claimed and self-claimed language skilled Defence personnel, and governance and review of Defence’s foreign language capability.

The Group continued its recruitment and retention strategies to ensure that skilled and experienced ADF and
APS personnel were available. These strategies include targeted university recruitment drives, recruitment of graduates through the Intelligence and Security Development Program, incentives for staff with specific language and technical talents, and enhanced use of online recruitment tools.

Table 3.15: Program 1.5 deliverables

Deliverable

Status

Provide timely, accurate and high-quality intelligence and security support in accordance with government priorities to support the ADF, policy and wider security operations

Met

Deliver enhanced capabilities to better exploit next generation technologies, improve intelligence assessment, and enhance the security of the Government’s information

Met

Provide advice and assistance to the Government on the security and integrity of electronic information, cryptography and communications technology

Met

Meet the Australian Government Security Vetting Agency’s key performance results as specified in the agency’s Service Level Charter

Partially met

The agency met three of the four key performance indicators. The agency did not meet 45 per cent of KPI 1—‘meet clearance benchmarks in 95 per cent of cases’—largely due to reform activities and problematic incorporation of a new ICT system.

Strengthen the management framework of the Australian Government Security Vetting Agency

Met

Provide management and strategic direction for Defence’s foreign language capability

Met

Ensure the effectiveness of the intelligence and security governance and compliance framework

Met

Strengthen the workforce through targeted recruitment, retention and training initiatives

Met

Ensure effective and efficient transfer of expertise, capabilities and intelligence across key international partnerships, and strengthen collaboration with national agencies

Met

Contribute to reform outcomes

Met

Table 3.16: Program 1.5 key performance indicators

Key performance indicator

Status

Deliver intelligence and security services to meet Defence and government requirements

Met

Develop next generation intelligence, geospatial and security assessment capabilities including Geoint, Sigint and Cyber

Met

Strengthen the approach to security across Defence and government

Substantially met

The Defence Security Authority is streamlining the vetting process and implementing business efficiencies in order to reduce the gap between vetting capacity and demand. This will allow a focus on the revalidation backlog, which will strengthen security across government by reducing personnel security risk.

Deliver strategic guidance and management support to meet Defence’s foreign language requirements

Met

Achieve best practice in governance and compliance

Met

Ensure that the intelligence and security workforce is developed and skilled

Met

Deliver intelligence capability dividends through international and national partnerships

Met

Chief Operating Officer overview

The Associate Secretary and Chief Operating Officer (COO), Mr Brendan Sargeant, is responsible for
strategic reform, support and policy advice to Defence. The role integrates the work of different parts
of Defence to get more effective and efficient outcomes, particularly in the areas of service delivery.

The COO area consists of the Defence Support and Reform Group (Program 1.6), the Chief Information Officer Group (Program 1.7) and the Defence People Group (Program 1.8). The Reform and Corporate Services Division and the Defence Legal Division sit under Program 1.6 and report directly to the COO.

These Groups create and sustain the environment within which the people of Defence live and work. They do
this separately and in combination by mobilising internal and external resources.

The core purpose of the COO is to orchestrate service delivery for the Defence organisation as a whole.
This work is focused on ensuring that Defence can deliver its required outcomes and is exercised through:

  • providing effective and efficient enabling services (including policy services)
  • establishing standards and monitoring service delivery performance
  • managing the Defence Corporate Plan, Defence Annual Plan, Strategic Risk Framework and organisational performance reporting system
  • coordinating enterprise reform
  • providing coordinated and substantive advice to the Defence ministers, the Secretary and the Chief of the
    Defence Force, offering practical, cost-effective approaches to fulfil the Government’s defence responsibilities.

In 2013–14, a total of 7,029 submissions and items of correspondence were completed in support of Defence’s ministerial team. Defence brought forward 38 cabinet submissions, memorandums and briefings to Cabinet
and the National Security Committee of Cabinet for consideration. The minister was provided with 310 briefings
on Defence’s and other departments’ submissions to Cabinet meetings.

Further information on reform is available in Chapter 6, Reform and cultural change.

Table 3.17: Chief Operating Officer deliverables

Deliverable

Status

Oversee, integrate and coordinate reforms

Met

Ensure that policy advice provided to the Government is accurate, timely and responsive, and offers practical and cost-effective approaches to fulfil the Government’s defence responsibilities

Met

Promote and protect Defence’s reputation by increasing public awareness of Defence activities and achievements and strengthening Defence capabilities in media-related activities

Met

Provide overarching strategic guidance, policy and supporting plans to implement the recommendations of the reviews into the culture of the ADF and Defence. Resourcing of individual initiatives in support of Pathway to Change comes from the individual Groups and Services, as appropriate

Met

Table 3.18: Chief Operating Officer key performance indicators

Key performance indicator

Status

The ministers are satisfied with the timeliness and quality of advice, including Cabinet documentation, provided by the department

Substantially met

While overall timings were met, on occasion Question Time briefs were provided after the time nominated by the minister’s office.

Defence Cabinet submission processes have been revised to improve the timeliness of Cabinet submissions provided to the minister for agreement.