Early this January, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull prompted his Parliament about the risks cyber warfare. For years, Australia has been lagging behind when it comes to efforts in showing prowess in cyber espionage and intelligence gathering. The government has been lagging when it comes to public spendings on psychological warfare and undermining and influencing its adversary.
All of these are about to change with the government’s efforts in reshaping its military force.
According to ABC News, Australia has launched a new military program to help boost the country’s cyber defences. A team of one hundred men and women will be tasked to protect Australia’s interests from cyber attacks.
Professor Greg Austin of University of New South Wales claimed that this effort is, by far, the biggest shift in the country’s defence strategy. Greg stated that, “the main angle of cyber war is to prevent the enemy’s armed forces from reaching the start line of battle. The aim is to stop their ships being able to sail, stop their jet aircraft from being able to drop bombs and to stop their submarines dead in the water.”
While this new unit is considered a full military outfit, one thing that makes it different is the type of people that will be working for it. In contrast to a standard military unit, this team of elite individuals will be chosen for their brains rather than brawn. Their key objective is to identify high-value foreign targets and preparing to launch its own attacks.
Over there years, Russia has threatened its enemies with a more obvious display of cyber strength. China has been far more reserved and preferred espionage to outright show of military might. Australia, on the other hand, will tread the line between espionage while also conducting counter-offensives against its adversaries.
To quote Prime Minister Turnbull, “this is the new frontier of warfare, it’s the new frontier of espionage.”