End of year message

A message from the Secretary of the Department of Defence and the Chief of the Defence Force

6 December 2023

As 2023 comes to a close, we would like to acknowledge your achievements from across the Defence enterprise and thank you for the significant contributions you have all made.

This year has again shown the outstanding levels of dedication, innovation, integrity and excellence that each of you demonstrate every day, enabling us to deliver outcomes that meet our mission and purpose.

The release of National Defence, the Government’s response to the Defence Strategic Review (DSR), called for ambitious reforms to policy, strategy, posture and capability settings to meet our complex strategic environment and national security challenges. Together we have increased collaboration across Groups and Services, whole-of-government and with industry to act with urgency on the Government’s 6 immediate priority areas. Your expertise, skills and contribution to this modernisation agenda enabled significant progress in implementing the DSR recommendations.

Our people are our first priority, and key to our military capability. Efforts to support, grow and retain our Australian Defence Force (ADF) and Australian Public Service (APS) workforce have continued throughout the year. Establishment of the Defence People System, including appointment of the inaugural Chief of Personnel, will see Defence build a stronger, more integrated workforce. Further development of the Defence Employee Value Proposition was also a priority to support our current and future workforce through benefits, opportunities and conditions available in our unique organisation.

Thank you to everyone who made a submission to the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide. The Royal Commission received more than 5,800 submissions and, as at last month, Defence had produced more than 172,000 documents and responded to 580 notices. This includes more than 1,600 questions answered in relation to Defence, and more than 1,900 questions answered by individual officers about their areas of responsibility. Defence will continue to do all it can to assist the important work of the Royal Commission throughout the final stages of the inquiry.

We conducted many exercises and activities alongside our international partners in 2023, including Exercises Talisman Sabre, Malabar and Bersama Lima, as well as our flagship regional engagement activity, Indo-Pacific Endeavour. Through these activities we deepened bilateral relationships, strengthened people-to-people links, enhanced interoperability and supported the international rules-based order.

Through Operation Kudu we continued to train recruits of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the United Kingdom to prepare them to defend their nation and people against Russia’s illegal invasion. We also deployed an E-7A Wedgetail aircraft to Germany to provide early warning in the event of any threats outside of Ukraine against the gateway for humanitarian and military assistance. Defence initiated Operation Beech following the tragic events in the Hamas-Israel conflict. Aircraft and personnel were deployed to support contingency planning and operations as part of our support to the whole-of-government humanitarian and evacuation response to the conflict.

We also supported the United Kingdom for the Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III, with members of Australia’s Federation Guard marching in The Coronation Procession and Defence personnel supporting events in Australia.

We know that this can sometimes be a difficult time of year, and we ask that you take time to look after yourself and your colleagues. Support services are available for ADF and APS personnel and we encourage you to seek help if needed.

We wish you all a safe and joyful holiday season. For those who remain on duty over the holiday period, within Australia and overseas, we thank you for continuing to serve and protect our nation.

We look forward with great enthusiasm to working alongside you all in 2024.

Thank you

Greg Moriarty


Department of Defence

Angus J Campbell AO DSC


Chief of the Defence Force