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Defence White Paper 2013: Cyber Security vs. Cyber Warfare

While short-term focus may be on the big ticket Defence equipment purchases and Australia's commitment tolocal defence industry manufacturing, as outlined by the Australian Government in its 2013 Defence White Paper released today, we have reviewed the Paper with particular focus on matters Cyber.  


The 2009 White Paper placed considerable emphasis on ‘cyber warfare’. There was limited focus on cyber security from a wider national security and economic implication or perspective. Recognising the burgeoning challenges in issues cyber, the Defence White Paper 2013 takes a much stronger peacetime and whole of nation, economic and commercial focus than its 2009 predecessor.

The 2013 Paper recognises the critical need to maintain an advantage in cyberspace, guard integrity of information and that the net effect on Australia’s position, both locally and internationally, in the forthcoming years will depend on how well we exploit cyber power. It endorses the key role Defence must play in cyber security, not just from a national security perspective for government but for private citizens and from a commercial / economic prosperity and social wellbeing standpoint.

The Paper also identifies the need for Defence to work with key industry partners and integrating cyber power into a national strategy as a whole-of-nation effort so that Australia is a secure digital environment. 

Addressing the potential impact of malicious cyber activity (particularly given the increased reliance on networked operations by Defence) the Paper also reinforces the increased role Defence will play in the operation of the new Australian Cyber Security Centre announced in January 2013.  

Contact:  Jenni LightowlersSusie Reece JonesAnne Donaldson

 7 May 2013