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Australia initiates new programme to enhance cyber-warfare capabilities

The Australian Cyber Security Centre, previously the Cyber Security Operations Centre, is responsible for analysing cyber threats as well as co-ordinating responses to cyber incidents of national importance. (Commonwealth of Australia)

The Australian government has established the REDSPICE (resilience, effects, defence, space, intelligence, cyber, enablers) programme under the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) to enhance the country's cyber-warfare capabilities.

According to the ASD, the REDSPICE programme will receive an investment of AUD9.9 billion (USD7.4 billion) throughout the 2020s to support the Australian Defence Force (ADF) by growing and delivering asymmetric strike and offensive cyber capabilities, enabling next-generation data science and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, strengthening networks against cyber attacks, and enhancing intelligence capabilities.

The ASD said it plans to triple national cyber-offensive capabilities by supporting integration of the ADF information warfare and cyber workforce, deepening technology co-operation with allies and partners, contributing towards integrated deterrence, and increasing resilience of classified communications capabilities.

The ASD is also looking at improving foundational technologies by delivering new cloud-based cyber and intelligence systems and applications, scaling up AI and machine learning (ML) capabilities and, delivering AI-supported offensive and defensive cyber capabilities, the agency noted.

According to the REDSPICE blueprint, the ASD intends to develop new intelligence capabilities by doubling its analytic workforce; boosting perception of adversaries' capabilities, intent and decision making; and enhancing intelligence capabilities that help prevent strategic surprise, inform decisions of consequence and minimise miscalculation.

The ASD also plans to improve resilience of critical infrastructure against sophisticated cyber attacks, increase the visibility of threats to Australia's most critical systems, improve machine-time cyber-threat intelligence sharing across government and industry, and double cyber-hunt activities and national cyber-incident response – to achieve the larger goal of strengthening national cyber-defence capabilities, the blueprint added.

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