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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Prime Minister of Australia

Release of the Defence Strategic Review

Media release
24 Apr 2023
Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Defence

Today the Albanese Government has released the public version of the Defence Strategic Review (the Review), the Government's response to the Review, and the National Defence Statement 2023.

Commissioned in the first 100 days of Government, the Review sets the agenda for ambitious, but necessary, reform to Defence's posture and structure.

The Government's response to the Review sets out a blueprint for Australia's strategic policy, defence planning and resourcing over the coming decades.

The Albanese Government has agreed, or agreed in-principle with further work required, to the public Review recommendations, and has identified six priority areas for immediate action:

  • Acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines through AUKUS to improve our deterrence capabilities;
  • Developing the Australian Defence Force's (ADF) ability to precisely strike targets at longer-range and manufacture munitions in Australia;
  • Improving the ADF's ability to operate from Australia's northern bases;
  • Initiatives to improve the growth and retention of a highly skilled Defence workforce;
  • Lifting our capacity to rapidly translate disruptive new technologies into ADF capability, in close partnership with Australian industry; and
  • Deepening of our diplomatic and defence partnerships with key partners in the Indo-Pacific.

Realising the ambition of the Review will require a whole-of-government effort, coupled with a significant financial commitment and major reform.

The Government is making the hard decisions necessary to cancel or reprioritise Defence projects or activities that are no longer suited to our strategic circumstances, as outlined in the Review.

The Albanese Government's response to the Review includes specific directions to Defence with immediate effect, while establishing a methodical and comprehensive process for long-term and sustainable implementation.

To inform this, the Government has accepted the Review's recommendation for an inaugural National Defence Strategy in 2024, which will be updated biennially.

The National Defence Strategy will encompass a comprehensive plan of Defence policy, planning, capabilities and resourcing, including reprioritisation of the Integrated Investment Program, in line with the recommendations of the Review.

The Albanese Government will work with industry, the community and stakeholders to implement the work and the recommendations of the Review.

We thank His Excellency Professor the Hon Stephen Smith and former Chief of the Defence Force, Sir Angus Houston for their work.

The public version of the Defence Strategic Review is available at: Defence Strategic Review.

Quotes attributable to the Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon. Anthony Albanese MP:

"My Government commissioned the Defence Strategic Review to assess whether Australia had the necessary defence capability, posture and preparedness to best defend Australia and its interests in the strategic environment we now face.

"We support the strategic direction and key findings set out in the Review, which will strengthen our national security and ensure our readiness for future challenges.

"The Government will continue to invest in our capabilities and invest in our relationships to help build a more secure Australia and a more stable and prosperous region."

Quotes attributable to the Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon. Richard Marles MP:

"The Defence Strategic Review, and the Government's response, is about maintaining peace, security and prosperity in our region.

"There are a lot of tough decisions which need to be made, but in doing so, we are making them in the best interest of our Defence Force and our nation.

"Work to implement the Review starts today, ensuring our ADF and our Defence personnel has the capability they need to keep Australians safe."

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