$765 billion defence strategy unites forces

F 35 jet fighter. | Newsreel
The National Defence Strategy will cost more than $750 billion over the next decade. | Photo: Supplied by Federal Government

Australia’s new National Defence Strategy aims to transition the country’s armed forces into an “integrated focused force” and will increase the annual Defence budget to more than $100 billion within the decade.

Releasing the strategy, alongside a new Integrated Investment Program (IIP), Federal Defence Minister Richard Marles said this was fundamentally a new approach to the defence of Australia.

Minister Marles said Australia faced the most complex and challenging strategic environment since the Second World War, which demanded a coordinated, whole-of-government and whole-of-nation approach to Australia’s defence.

“This new approach is founded on National Defence – a concept that harnesses all arms of Australia’s national power to achieve an integrated approach to our security … spanning all domains – maritime, land, air, space and cyber,” Minister Marles said.

He said the adoption of National Defence meant the ADF would shift to an integrated, focused force designed to address Australia’s most significant strategic risks.

The strategy includes extra investment to accelerate and sustain priority capabilities and will see the annual Defence budget grow to more than $100 billion by 2033-34, with overall funding reaching $765 billion over the decade.

That figure includes $330 billion for the IIP, which outlines the Government’s capability investment priorities, over the next 10 years.

Mr Marles said this was the first substantial update to the IIP since 2020 and involved a complete rebuild of Defence’s capability procurement plan.

He said capabilities to be funded would ensure a navy with an enhanced lethality surface fleet and conventionally-armed, nuclear powered submarines and an army optimised for littoral manoeuvre with a long-range land and maritime strike capability.

It would also provide for an air force that could deliver long-range intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and an enhanced maritime, land and air strike capability.

There would also be strengthened and integrated space and cyber capability, including enhanced cyber and electronic warfare and new space-based situational awareness.

The next National Defence Strategy will be published in 2026.

Read the 2024 National Defence Strategy and Integrated Investment Program.