The Information Warfare Division (IWD) was formed in 2017 under Joint Capabilities Group within the Department of Defence. Its formation was part of an initiative by the Australian Government to combat threats to Australia’s national interests in the information environment.
Major General Susan Coyle, CSC, DSM is the current Head of Information Warfare Division (HIW).
Information Warfare Division is:
The Division’s role is to make sure the Australian Defence Force (ADF) has the right people, skills, equipment and resources to combat the growing threat of information warfare to our warfighting capability and Australia’s national interests.
IWD is developing the information warfare capabilities for the ADF to employ in all its activities, such as protecting its networks and missions systems, conducting exercises and training events, supporting the community and our region in disaster relief, stability and security operations through to full conflict and war.
The capabilities IWD develops are put into operation by the ADF. Chief of Joint Operations is responsible for how the capabilities are used to meet the directions of the Australian Government.
For IWD to meet its role, the Division works closely with industry, academia, businesses, corporations and other government agencies. Together we aim to better understand emerging information warfare threats to enable the ADF to protect Australia and its national interests.
Over the next three years to 2024, Defence will be running the ADF Cyber Gap Program which is aimed at students who are studying or enrolling in a tertiary cyber qualification. For successful candidates, Defence will pay students’ course fees for 12 months, offer cyber work experience, cyber mentoring and help with job applications. There’s no obligation to join the ADF at the end of the Program, however interested candidates are welcome to apply. To find out more, visit The ADF Cyber Gap Program site.
The digital age has changed the character of conflict and warfare.
Our lives are now completely dependent on the technology the digital age has provided. Our activities are increasingly reliant on digital information. This means the information environment can be described as an all-encompassing space which connects all of us through our use of technology.
The traditional warfighting domains of air, land and sea have evolved to include space and information/cyberspace as a result of technology.
Information warfare in a military context is described as: “The contest for the provision and assurance of information to support friendly decision-making, whilst denying and degrading that of adversaries.”
A key objective of information warfare is to achieve information superiority over an adversary and therefore gain an advantage which can be exploited in the traditional air, land and sea domains.
The ADF must be competitive in the information environment.
The use of information in warfare is as old as warfare itself. Cyberspace has simply made it easier, faster and more effective for information warfare threats to operate on a large scale.
Cyberspace is challenging our concepts of how we will fight future conflict – from the conduct of cyber operations in a new warfighting domain to the impact cyberspace has on the traditional physical warfighting domains.
It also challenges how we will recruit and build a future workforce.
The cyber threat is not just an issue for the ADF to consider. All Australians have a role to play in protecting the nation against cyber threats. For information on how to keep yourself, your friends, your family and your workplace safe online, visit ASD’s Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) website.
Susan Coyle was born in Kyogle, NSW on 21 May 1970. After completing a Bachelor of Science degree at the Australian Defence Force Academy she graduated from the Royal Military College in 1992 into the Royal Australian Corps of Signals. She has worked at the tactical, operational and strategic level in a variety of comm and and staff appointments including Commander Joint Task Force 633, Commander 6th Brigade, inaugural Commander Task Group Afghanistan, and Commanding Officer 17th Signal Regiment.
Major General Coyle has received a Distinguished Service Medal as the Deputy Commander JTF 636 / Commander Task Group Afghanistan on Operation SLIPPER / HIGHROAD, and a Conspicuous S ervice Cross as the Commanding Officer 17th Signal Regiment. She holds post-graduate qualifications in a Master of Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College, a Master in Organisational Development and Strategic Human Resource Management from the University of New England, and a Master of Management in Defence Studies from the University of Canberra..
Major General Coyle currently holds the appointment of Head of Information Warfare for the Australian Defence Force.
This page was last updated 3rd March 2021.