BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – Australia's prime minister used a commemoration of a World War II naval battle on Monday to warn that his country and the United States would not tolerate North Korea's "reckless, dangerous threats" to regional peace. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull spoke at a dawn service in the northeastern city of Townsville where Australians and Americans gathered to remember the pivotal Battle of Coral Sea, which was fought from May 4 to 8, 1942 in waters about 800 km (500 miles) away. U.S. aircraft carriers supported by Australian cruisers stopped a Japanese naval invasion of the Papua New Guinea capital Port Moresby that would have cut communications between Australia and the United States had the Japanese forces prevailed. "Today Australia and the United States continue to work with our allies to address new security threats around the world," Turnbull said. "Together, we're taking a strong message to North Korea that we will not tolerate reckless, dangerous threats to the peace and stability of our region and we are united in our efforts to defeat the terrorists in the Middle East and Afghanistan," he added.
SYDNEY – Australia will invest 7 billion Australian dollars ($5.2 billion) to develop and buy high-tech U.S. drones for joint military operations and to monitor waters including the South China Sea, it said Tuesday. Canberra has been embarking on its largest peacetime naval investment through a massive shipbuilding strategy that includes new submarines, offshore patrol vessels and frigates to shore up its defense capabilities. As part of this, the government will spend AU$1.4 billion to buy the first of six MQ-4C Triton maritime surveillance drones, with the aircraft to enter service from mid-2023, complementing seven P-8A Poseidon planes currently in use. "Together these aircraft will significantly enhance our anti-submarine warfare and maritime strike capability, as well as our search and rescue capability," Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in a statement. "This investment will protect our borders and make our region more secure."
A "strong sovereign capability in space" would make Australia a stronger partner in the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance with the US, the UK, Canada, and New Zealand, according to Colonel (Ret'd) Pamela Melroy, a former US Air Force test pilot and NASA Space Shuttle commander. "Australia needs to embrace this, because you're going to have a much more muscular role in the Five Eyes as a result," Melroy told the conference "Building Australia's Strategy for Space", which was organised by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) in Canberra last week. One example is space surveillance, which involves the detection, tracking, cataloging, and identification of objects in space. With new systems soon to come online, such as Space Fence, the ground-based Space Surveillance Telescope (SST) in Western Australia, and commercial systems, Melroy says Australia should not simply be passing on their raw data to the US. "Australia can and should develop a domestic capability to generate and provide processed information -- not data, information -- that supports its own defence force in real time, but is also of much greater value to our Five Eyes partners," she said.
There has been a shift in thinking about cyberwar, according to professor Greg Austin from the University of New South Wales Canberra Cyber. Today's security threats have expanded in scope and seriousness. There can now be millions -- or even billions -- of dollars at risk when information security isn't handled properly. Since 2006, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and allied nations have run exercises based on the concept of a Cyber Storm. They've focused on "policies, processes, and procedures for identifying and responding to a multi-sector cyber attack targeting critical infrastructure".
Australian Defence Force (ADF) Head of Information Warfare Major General Marcus Thompson is concerned that while the nation has "good" defence capabilities, those capabilities might not be able to scale if Australia was faced with a large-scale attack in a cyber realm. Today's security threats have expanded in scope and seriousness. There can now be millions -- or even billions -- of dollars at risk when information security isn't handled properly. Speaking at the Cyber Storm international conference at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Canberra Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) on Monday, Thompson said it's what keeps him up at night. "If we accept that the opening salvos of the next big fight will play out in cyber space, if they're not already, it's that capacity of the Australian government to respond ... we know we've got good capabilities, but when it comes to scale, I'm a bit worried," he said.