A UNSW Canberra Professor is calling for a new Australian cyber military industrial strategy that is independent of the United States so that Australia can be prepared for major war.
The call from Professor Greg Austin, Acting Director of the Australian Centre for Cyber Security at UNSW Canberra coincides with a report on the economic impact of rapidly changing geopolitical events. Federal Defence Minister Christopher Pyne launched the report on Monday.
Professor Austin authors the chapter Are Australia’s responses to cyber security adequate? in the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) report, Australia's Place in the World.
"Australia cannot count on significant operational support from its major ally to defend against a complex cyber attack in wartime," Professor Austin warns.
"A number of specialists agree that the Americans will be too busy defending not only their own networks, but tens of thousands of unique computerised systems in deployed weapons platforms, and in outer space,” he explains.
In the report, Professor Austin writes: "The Australian Defence Force is on the cusp of a revolution as it prepares to reorganise for cyber-enabled warfare; and the Australian cyber security industry is set for significant growth."
However, "the military shake-up comes two decades late, and the country faces some security penalties because of the delay", he warns.
Professor Austin calls for a national innovation strategy to keep Australia at the forefront of international best practice in cyber technologies that can be applied in war.
This includes not only a military strategy for cyber-enabled warfare, but a strategy for sovereign cyber war capability and cyber survivability in a time of direct military confrontation with a major power.
Professor Austin highlights the need for a renovation of military institutions, training and education for cyber warfare to achieve this, as well as necessary investments in niche technologies and research capabilities.
He says "the world is at the dawn of the cyber age and highly consequential military technologies are continuing to emerge at fast speed".
Read Professor Austin’s complete assessment in the CEDA publication here.