This article argues that the latest Defence White Paper White Paper provides no insights into how to integrate cyber power into national strategy, set any real strategic direction for an improved whole-of-nation effort.
The 2013 Defence White Paper includes security against major cyber attacks on Australia as an element of our ‘defence of Australia’ national strategic interest. It devotes a separate section to cyber in its strategic outlook. While the White Paper makes heartening comment about the need to integrate cyber power into national strategy, it provides no insights into how this might be achieved, nor does it set any real strategic direction for an improved whole-of-nation effort. It does not attempt to identify any cyber objectives that should underpin Australia’s national security strategy. Australia needs to develop a current baseline cyber posture, derive a consolidated view of all requirements and gaps, and develop future remediation and implementation plans in an integrated fashion. Without this, cyber capability gaps across the Australian Government will continue to hinder the agencies’ ability to plan for and conduct effective operations. Accordingly, this article calls for a comprehensive capabilities-based assessment, a national cyber capability plan, and an implementation plan (with specific actions and implementation responsibilities, timeframes, and performance measures) and a funding strategy for addressing any gaps resulting from the assessment. It also calls for a clearer articulation of operational planning considerations, including dealing with the conflation of electronic warfare and cyber warfare, and the use of uninhabited aerial vehicles for improved intelligence collection and network penetration.