Our mission and purpose

Defence's mission and purpose is to defend Australia and its national interests in order to advance Australia’s security and prosperity.

In fulfilling this mission and purpose, Defence serves the Government of the day and is accountable to the Commonwealth Parliament, which represents the Australian people, to efficiently and effectively carry out the Government's defence policy.

Defence defends 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 protects and advances 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.

Our priorities

Defence’s primary roles are to protect and advance Australia’s strategic interests through the promotion of security and stability, provide military capabilities to defend Australia and its national interests, and support the Australian community and civilian authorities as directed by the Government.

Defence prioritises the preparedness of current capability to meet Government-directed requirements. Concurrently, Defence is also focused on building a more potent, capable and agile future force to better meet and respond to future challenges. This includes using our current capability to shape and deter within our region, and being able to respond with credible military force.

While Australia’s immediate region will be the focus for defence planning, Defence will continue to invest in relationships, collaborations, and partnerships across the Indo-Pacific and globally. International engagement is integrated as a core function of Defence, aligned with the Strategic Defence Objectives. The Defence Cooperation Program, which currently provides defence assistance to 30 countries, will be enhanced to build the confidence and capacity of our regional partners in the South West Pacific and in South East Asia. As part of this, the ADF will continue to participate in multinational exercises to expand relations with a wide range of partners.

The Department also deals with:

  • international relations and co-operation
  • scientific research and development
  • procurement and purchasing
  • industry development and co-operation.

Our values


The selflessness of character to place the security and interests of our nation and its people ahead of my own.


The strength of character to say and do the right thing, always, especially in the face of adversity.


The humanity of character to value others and treat them with dignity.


The consistency of character to align my thoughts, words and actions to do what is right.


The willingness of character to strive each day to be the best I can be, both professionally and personally.

Our behaviours

  • Act with purpose for Defence and the nation.
  • Be adaptable, innovative and agile.
  • Collaborate and be team-focused.
  • Be accountable and trustworthy.
  • Reflect, learn and improve.
  • Be inclusive and value others.