Annual Report
2012–13

National security and international policy

The National Security and International Policy Group advanced the Government’s policy objectives through provision of advice, coordination and leadership on:

  • foreign trade, overseas aid and international law priorities
  • defence, homeland and border security priorities and intelligence coordination and cooperation
  • national security policy and planning
  • the development of a secure coordinated and effective national security information management and whole of government cyber policy.

The Group comprises three divisions:

  • Cyber Policy and Homeland Security Division
  • Defence, Intelligence and Information Sharing Division
  • International Division.

Highlights 2012–13

In 2012–13 the National Security and International Policy Group provided advice to the Prime Minister on national security and international policy initiatives, including:

  • supporting the Prime Minister’s leadership of Australia’s whole of government engagement with Afghanistan, including planning for the completion of Australia’s military and civilian deployment in Uruzgan province by the end of 2013
  • enhancing ties with key regional partners by supporting the Prime Minister’s visits to India (15 to 17 October 2012) and China (5 to 10 April 2013) – these visits resulted in strengthened bilateral architecture with both countries including agreement to annual leaders meetings and to upgraded Ministerial contact
  • strengthening engagement with Indonesia by supporting the annual leaders meeting in Darwin in July and the Prime Minister’s attendance at the Bali Democracy Forum in November as well as participation in the memorial service marking the tenth anniversary of the October 2002 Bali bombings
  • helping secure Australia’s seat as a non-permanent member of the United Nations (UN) Security Council in 2013–14 through support of the Prime Minister in bilateral meetings and at regional and multilateral summits, particularly the UN General Assembly Leaders Week in New York in September 2012
  • helping secure key Australian economic and political regional goals through policy advice and support for the Prime Minister’s attendance at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting in Vladivostok in September 2012, the Asia–Europe Meeting (ASEM) on 4–7 November 2012 in Vientiane and the East Asia Summit (EAS) in Phnom Penh on 19–21 November 2012
  • advancing Australia’s trade liberalisation agenda by providing whole of government coordination and supporting the Prime Minister’s advocacy on bilateral free trade agreements with China, India, Japan and South Korea
  • deepening ties in the Pacific by supporting the Prime Minister’s attendance at the Pacific Islands Forum in Rarotonga in August 2012, visits to New Zealand in February 2013 and Papua New Guinea in May 2013
  • leading the preparation and launch of Australia’s first National Security Strategy
  • leading establishment of the central initiative of the National Security Strategy – the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) which facilitates a cohesive and effective whole of government response to cyber incidents
  • delivering the annual Coordinated National Security Budget in partnership with Finance, Treasury and the National Security Community
  • supporting the Secretaries Committee on National Security that considered all items considered by the National Security Committee of Cabinet
  • formalising New Zealand’s membership of the National Counter-Terrorism Committee (NCTC) to create the Australia – New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee (ANZCTC); and streamlining and improving the ANZCTC’s business processes
  • hosting a multi-agency taskforce to support the work of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers and developing an implementation strategy for the recommendations of the Panel’s Report
  • revising the Australian Government Crisis Management Framework, which sets out the roles and responsibilities of Ministers and senior officials in responding to a crisis.

Figure 2.2 KPIs for the National Security and International Policy Group

National security and international policy (Program component 1.1.2) Met
High level of satisfaction of the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and Cabinet committee chairs and the Parliamentary Secretary with the quality and timeliness of advice, briefing, activities and/or support.
Successful national leadership and coordination of the National Security Community and the national intelligence community, including on cyber policy and information sharing.
Advancement of the Government’s international priorities that promote Australia’s security, prosperity, international profile and influence.
Provision of whole of government responses to major national security related crises or emergencies.
Successful development and whole of government integration of foreign and international security strategies as required by the Government.
High level satisfaction with the quality of support provided by the departmental secretariat to bodies supported by the Department, including the National Counter-Terrorism Committee and the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor.
Satisfaction of other central agencies, portfolio departments and other key stakeholders, with the cooperation and collaboration of the Department.
Compliance with all relevant legislation.

Cyber Policy and Homeland Security Division

The Cyber Policy and Homeland Security Division advises on policy and strategy in the areas of border security, counter-terrorism, cyber policy, crisis coordination and law enforcement.

Border protection

We led the coordination and provision of advice to the Prime Minister on countering people smuggling and irregular maritime arrivals. In particular, we coordinated and provided support to the multi-agency Border Protection Taskforce, chaired by PM&C. We also hosted a multi-agency taskforce to support the work of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers and developed the implementation strategy for the recommendations of the Panel’s Report.

We advised on the Prime Minister’s engagement with foreign leaders on irregular migration and people smuggling issues. We also contributed to the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service reform agenda.

Counter-terrorism

In 2012 New Zealand joined Australia’s counter-terrorism coordination efforts and the national committee was renamed the Australia-New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee (ANZTC). We coordinated the activities of the ANZCTC, managing committee business, including meetings in December 2012 and June 2013.

We provided advice to the Prime Minister on COAG’s counter-terrorism legislation review and two international terrorism incidents.

We supported the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor (INSLM), Mr Bret Walker SC, to develop his annual report to the Prime Minister on 20 December 2012. The report focused on the powers available under the counter-terrorism legislative regime. We also assisted the INSLM in conducting public hearings in accordance with the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor Act 2010.

Cyber policy

The 2013 National Security Strategy emphasised the need for better integration of cyber policy and operations. To achieve this, we worked with other agencies to develop the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), which will be Australia’s premier cyber security capability, and the Cyber Security Operations Board (CSOB), to oversee Australia’s operational cyber security capabilities.

We led the interdepartmental Cyber Policy Group and International Engagement Group, which together ensured effective cooperation and coordination of cyber policy across government. Internationally, we promoted Australia’s positions on key cyber issues, such as internet governance, including at the Budapest Conference on Cyberspace. In consultation with relevant government agencies and Telstra, we coordinated the second annual Cyber Security Challenge, an event that raises interest in cyber security careers amongst university students and education providers.

Crisis management

We revised the Australian Government Crisis Management Framework, which provides guidance to Ministers and senior officials during the response to any crisis that occurs within Australia or that affects our interests overseas.

Law enforcement

We provided advice to the Prime Minister on combating gang violence and organised crime and on the Offshore Oil and Gas Resources Sector Security Inquiry.

We worked with other agencies to implement a trial of criminal history information sharing with New Zealand for employment vetting purposes. The trial, conducted with the Queensland Government, is part of a broader package of reciprocal sharing of criminal history information to support border control and law enforcement. The trial demonstrated the feasibility of exchanging criminal history information and highlighted the benefit of expanding the initial trial.

Defence, Intelligence and Information Sharing Division

The Defence, Intelligence and Information Sharing Division provides coordination and advice in relation to defence, intelligence, the national security policy framework, and the national security information management environment.

Defence and intelligence policy

In 2012–13 we supported the Prime Minister’s consideration of major defence issues – most significantly, those relating to strategic policy, Defence operations and major capital acquisitions. In particular, we continued to support the Government’s consideration of transition planning for operations in Afghanistan, East Timor and the Solomon Islands. We also provided advice on major defence acquisitions and future Defence capability requirements.

We prepared and assisted with advice on Defence reviews, including the US Global Force Posture Review and the Australian Defence Force (ADF) Posture Review.

In 2012 we undertook a comprehensive review of the national intelligence priority-setting framework in order to address the Government’s policy and operational priorities.

In facilitating the Government’s defence and intelligence policy needs, we supported the National Security Adviser in chairing the National Intelligence Coordination Committee through providing secretariat support and intelligence policy advice. In this role we also worked closely with agencies across the national intelligence community, including the Office of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security.

We continued to oversee the implementation of recommendations of the 2011 Independent Review of the Intelligence Community. By integrating these recommendations into ongoing activities, we are continuing to ensure the national intelligence community functions more effectively.

Information sharing and national strategic policy framework

We supported the Government’s consideration of overarching strategic national security policy issues and, in particular, the Prime Minister’s launch and ongoing implementation of Australia’s first National Security Strategy.

We continued to work on strategic direction, supporting whole of government national security policy development and promoting a cohesive national security culture. This included improvements to priority setting, resource allocation through the Coordinated National Security Budget process and the application of practical and risk-based analytical approaches to national security policy and planning.

Consistent with our commitments under the National Security Information Environment Roadmap: 2020 Vision, we made further progress in removing barriers to secure and appropriate information sharing.

International Division

The International Division provides advice on foreign policy, trade and aid priorities, strategy, bilateral relations and Australia’s engagement with regional and international organisations.

Australia in the Asian Century

In 2012–13 there was an enhanced focus on Australia’s role in the Asia-Pacific region and on giving effect to the Government’s strategy set out in the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper (released on 28 October 2012).

We supported the Prime Minister’s activities in advancing Australia’s relationships with key Asian countries and whole of government engagement with vital regional partners, including India, China, Japan and Indonesia, particularly through:

  • the Prime Minister’s visit to China in April 2013 when agreement was reached to hold annual leaders meetings and Ministerial-level economic and foreign and strategic dialogues (see the feature on page 31)
  • the Prime Minister’s visit to India in October 2012, which secured agreement to annual Prime Ministerial meetings; to a new Ministerial dialogue on energy security; and to commencing negotiations on a civil nuclear cooperation agreement
  • the Prime Minister’s meeting with Indonesian President His Excellency Dr Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Darwin in July 2012, which delivered an agreement to commence negotiations on the Indonesia–Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement
  • the visit by the President of Myanmar in March 2013, the first by a Head of State from that country since 1974, marking a significant strengthening of the bilateral relationship and underlining Australia’s support for the reform process underway in that country
  • the Prime Minister’s engagement with other Asian leaders during visits to Australia by the Prime Minister of Singapore, the President of the Philippines and the Sultan of Brunei.

We supported the Prime Minister’s active role at key regional and multilateral forums including APEC (September 2012), the Asia-Europe Meeting (November 2012) and the EAS (November 2012). Attendance by the Prime Minister at the EAS reinforced Australia’s commitment to building the summit as the premier body for regional dialogue across the whole spectrum of regional political, security and economic issues. ASEM marked the Prime Minister’s first visit to Asia following the launch of the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper and provided an opportunity to explain the white paper to key regional leaders.

Engagement in the Pacific

The annual Australia – New Zealand Leaders’ Meeting was held in Queenstown in February 2013 marking the 40th anniversary of the Closer Economic Relations agreement and resulting in the agreement to a range of measures designed to further deepen economic integration. We worked with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and our New Zealand counterparts to facilitate this meeting.

Planning and briefing was provided for the Prime Minister’s visit to Papua New Guinea, during which the signing of a Joint Declaration for a new Papua New Guinea – Australia Partnership reflected the evolution of the bilateral relationship to a new level of cooperation based on trust, respect and common values. We also supported the Prime Minister’s attendance at the Pacific Islands Forum in August 2012, which included the announcement of a $320 million initiative to increase the proportion of Pacific women in leadership and decision-making roles.

International leadership

Work leading to Australia’s successful campaign for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council intensified early in 2012–13. This included support for the Prime Minister at the United Nations General Assembly Leaders Week in September 2012 in New York, which underscored Australia’s longstanding support for UN objectives and built Australia’s multilateral profile on regional and global issues, including through the Prime Minister’s leadership role as co-chair of the UN Secretary-General’s Millennium Development Goals Advocacy Group.

Assistance was provided to the Prime Minister as Commonwealth Chair-in-Office, including on delivery of the Charter of the Commonwealth. The Charter sets out, for the first time, the values of the Commonwealth and is a significant achievement under Australia’s term.

We provided advice and support for the Prime Minister’s leadership of Australia’s engagement with Afghanistan including, in consultation with international partners, advice on the agreement to the transition of lead security responsibility to the Afghan National Security Forces by 2014.

We also advised on non-proliferation and disarmament issues and deployments of the Australian Civilian Corps.