2020 Defence Strategic Update

Released on 1 July 2020, the 2020 Defence Strategic Update, combined with the 2020 Force Structure Plan, outlines a new strategy for Defence and the capability investments to deliver it.

Important adjustments to defence policy are set out in the 2020 Defence Strategic Update to respond to the rapid changes in the strategic environment. The Strategic Update replaces the Strategic Defence Framework set out in the 2016 Defence White Paper with three new strategic objectives:

  • to shape Australia’s strategic environment
  • to deter actions against Australia’s interests
  • to respond with credible military force, when required.

While the drivers of change identified in the 2016 Defence White Paper persist, they have accelerated faster than anticipated. Australia now faces an environment of increasing strategic competition, the introduction of more capable military systems, and the increasingly aggressive use of grey-zone tactics to coerce states for a conventional military response.

The implementation of the 2016 Defence White Paper has seen substantial progress in building a more potent, capable and agile Australian Defence Force. Because of this, Defence is much better positioned to defend Australia and its interests.


2020 Defence Strategic Update (PDF, 9.03 MB) 2020 Defence Strategic Update Factsheet (PDF, 1.85 MB) Australia’s Defence Force Posture and Engagement 2016-2020 Factsheet (PDF, 1.86 MB)