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Joint Capabilities Group

Information Warfare Division

Information Warfare Division

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 Marcus Thompson, AM has been the Head Information Warfare (HIW) since the Division was established.

IWD is made up of the following branches:

  • Information, Surveillance, Reconnaissance, Electronic Warfare and Cyber (ISREW & Cyber)
  • Space and Communications
  • Joint Command and Control (JC2)
  • Defence Signals Intelligence and Cyber Command (DSCC)
  • Joint Influence Activities Directorate.

About information warfare

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 cyber threat

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.

The role of IWD

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 (insert link) 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. 

Resources

Easy steps to secure your online information (for individuals)

The ASD Essential Eight – effective strategies to mitigate cyber security thrjeats (for businesses and organisations)

Speeches

See Speeches and Transcripts from Joint Capabilities Group’s Senior Leaders

Head of Information Warfare

MAJGEN Marcus Thompson, AM

Deputy Chief Information Warfare Major General Marcus Thompson

Major General Marcus Thompson was appointed to the role of Head Information Warfare for the Australian Defence Force in 2017.

He graduated from the Royal Military College, Duntroon, in 1988 and spent his early years in the Royal Australian Corps of Signals. He has deployed on a number of overseas operations and commanded at every level from Troop to Brigade.

Major General Thompson was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours List. He holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering with honours from the University of New South Wales, a Bachelor of Business from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, a Masters Degree in Defence Studies from the University of Canberra, a Masters Degree in Strategic Studies from Deakin University, and a PhD in Cyber Security from the University of New South Wales.