Release of the Defence Strategic Review

Department of 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.

/Public Release. View in full here.