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Defence Science and Technology

The Defence Science and Technology Organisation has focused on implementing the directions outlined in the White Paper and Defence Update 2003 by seeking to make best use of technology and expanding the skills required to exploit technology to Australia's advantage. This included major contributions to Defence outputs and the Government's national research priorities1, such as safeguarding Australia and frontier technologies for building and transforming Australian industries, as well as improving the organisation and developing its people.

Contribution to Defence Outputs

Output 1 - Defence Operations

The research conducted during the year in support of Defence operations included:

Output 2 - Navy Capabilities

The maritime science and technology research program included research by DSTO in the following areas:

Output 3 - Army Capabilities

The land science and technology research program included research by DSTO in the following areas:

Output 4 - Air Force Capabilities

The air science and technology research program included research by DSTO in the following areas:

Output 5 - Strategic Policy

The research conducted and support given to Strategic Policy by DSTO included:

Output 6 - Intelligence

The research conducted and support given to Intelligence by DSTO included developing and delivering network analysis and protection tools for Defence, further research into assessing computer networks and protecting system integrity, and technical advice and support on multi-level security issues.

Making the Best Use of Science and Technology and Australian Industry

DSTO continued to implement change strategies and organisational improvement initiatives during 2002-03. Achievements included:

The organisation's technology plan, developed in 2002, was refined in 2003 to provide strategic guidance to the science and technology program over the next five to ten years. The technology plan aligns the organisation's future science and technology priorities with client needs in light of defence technology trends and the organisation's expertise in both the ADF environment and science and technology domains.

The Prime Minister's Science, Engineering and Innovation Council acknowledged that a new organisation was needed to coordinate scientific support for national counter-terrorism efforts. The Prime Minister announced in June 2003 that a new science, engineering and technology unit would be established, during 2003-04, in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. The Defence Science and Technology Organisation will be represented in the unit.

Network Security and Revolution in Military Affairs

Significant effort was applied during the year to research in 'revolution in military affairs' technologies and to researching network security and communications in support of network-centric warfare. Robust, secure communications and control networks are a pre requisite for the conduct of any network-centric operations. Network security is essential in protecting the national information infrastructure and countering a variety of forms of asymmetric threats. Research activities in this area included enhancing and developing security architectures, technical support to improve evaluation methodologies for computer networks, and a significant collaboration with the United States via the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in new methods for securing extremely large networks. Australian-researched prototype technology from the organisation has been made available to the United States Government and is undergoing tests for both functionality and the ability to scale to massive networks. Other work included developing secure communication network systems to support tactical and mobile communications.

Backing Australia's Ability -- Industry Involvement

The organisation continued to implement the Government's 2001 innovation statement Backing Australia's Ability through contributing to national research priorities. The organisation's research program included:

The organisation's commitment to national wealth creation was evidenced through strengthening links with industry, other government research organisations, cooperative research centres and universities.

Further licences to transfer dual use defence technologies to industry were also approved. These included a licence agreement with Daronmont Technologies to commercialise the 'Blue Owl' advanced radio frequency surveillance technology, and an intellectual property licence with Applied Explosives Technology to allow the company to access Defence explosive ordnance disposal technology.

Research agreements with universities and other centres of expertise around Australia were further developed and expanded with two additional memorandums of understanding being signed with industry.

The organisation continued to support Australian industry through undertaking research and development under contract in areas where industry holds unique facilities or capabilities, particularly under its outsourcing program of technical support service contracts.

People Matter

DSTO consolidated several people initiatives introduced in the last reporting period and developed and implemented a number of new ones.

The single science and technology career structure, introduced in 2001-02, is currently being evaluated to ensure it provides a broad range of opportunities for staff and supports longer-term change strategies.

The feedback and development scheme, under the single career structure, was consolidated and enhanced by the introduction of a number of workshops to assist managers and staff to develop interpersonal skills and enhance self-management and self-awareness. Staff participation in postgraduate science and technology studies continued to grow under the continuing education initiative, introduced in 2001-02.


  1. National research priorities are coordinated by the Department of Education, Science and Training. Additional information is available at: http://www.dest.gov.au/priorities/priorities.htm |