The National Defence Strategy Release

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Statement on the release of the strategy is found at the link.

Additionally, the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Defence and Minister for Defence Industry Joint Statement is found here.

So, what is the 2024 National Defence Strategy?

On the 17th of April 2024 the Federal Government released the inaugural National Defence Strategy and renewed the Integrated Investment Program. The documents aim to update Australia’s defence posture and are founded on the concepts of National Defence and a Strategy of Denial.

The National Defence Strategy responds to the Defence Strategic Review and speaks of creating an integrated, focussed defence force with the capacity to defend, deter, protect, and contribute to security within the Indo-Pacific to maintain global rules-based order.

The National Defence Strategy makes it clear that the collective security of the Indo-Pacific region is vitally important to the overall defence of Australia. It identifies growing competition between the United States and China as being a key risk to the maintenance of security in the region. The Strategy notes that the Defence Strategic Review identified that the ADF is no longer fit-for-purpose and therefore it’s lethality and range needs to be increased in order to maintain regional security.

As part of the announcement, the Australian Government has increased Defence spending by over $50.3 billion over the next decade not including the capability investment in the Integrated Investment Program. Around $11.1 billion is earmarked to accelerate the expansion of the Navy’s surface combatant fleet. Around $1 billion is set aside to accelerate investments in the targeting enterprise, long-range fires, theatre logistics, fuel resilience and robotic and autonomous systems. $38.2 billion is allocated to accelerate the delivery of the Integrated Investment Program broadly.

Here is the link to the 2024 National Defence Strategy Overview.

What’s the 2024 Integrated Investment Program and what is its relevance to national defence strategy?

The 2024 Integrated Investment Program couples with the National Defence Strategy to outline the investment priorities for Defence and outlines capability funding over the next decade. In some instances, the Australian Government has reprioritised previously allocated funding to align with the national strategic direction. In other instances, funding has been bolstered to accelerate or improve the outcome. The Integrated Investment Program outlines a total investment of $330 billion through to 2033/34 on capability investment.

The Integrated Investment Program lays out three distinct time periods on the path to the Future Integrated Force:

  • Enhance Force in Being – Which seeks to enhance what we already have. The time period for this is now until 2025.
  • Objective Integrated Force – Which seeks to accelerate the acquisition of critical capabilities between 2026 and 2030.
  • Future Integrated Force – From 2031 the ADF is planned to be fit-for-purpose.

The key capability investments laid out in the program include:

  • Undersea warfare
  • Maritime capabilities for sea denial and localised sea control
  • Targeting and long-range strike
  • Space and cyber
  • Amphibious capable combined-arms land system
  • Expeditionary air operations
  • Missile defence
  • Theatre logistics
  • Theatre command and control
  • Guided weapons and explosive ordnance
  • Enhanced and resilient northern bases.

Here is the 2024 Integrated Investment Program Overview.

Access the full 2024 National Defence Strategy and Integrated Investment Program here.

Why do we need this strategic guidance?

With the release of the Defence Strategic Review, it was important for the Australian Government to provide renewed strategic guidance to the ADF and broader defence industry. This meant developing a national defence strategy and establishing funding lines to support any change in strategic direction.

What is an ‘integrated, focused force’?

The National Defence Strategy and Integrated Investment Program speak of an ‘integrated, focused force’. This seeks to unify the five domains of maritime, land, air, space, and cyber to combat Australia’s strategic risks. The result is a highly capable and adaptive force able to operate in support of the ADFs' present and future tasks. This will focus the ADF on Australia’s highest strategic risks which are well defined, rather than aiming to meet the requirements of numerous contingencies, as we have had to do in the past. The ‘integrated, focussed force’ is structured, equipped, trained, and prepared to provide a unified and coordinated response to Australia’s greatest security threats.

Graphic showing the shift to an integrated force

2024 Integrated Investment Program overview

The ADFs Five Tasks

The National Defence Strategy outlines five tasks for the ADF:

  1. Defend Australia and our immediate region.
  2. Deter through denial any potential adversary’s attempt to project power against Australia through our northern approaches.
  3. Protect Australia’s economic connection to our region and the world.
  4. Contribute with our partners to the collective security of the Indo-Pacific.
  5. Contribute with our partners to the maintenance of the global rules-based order.

Strategy of Denial

The Strategy of Denial has three key objectives:

  1. To Shape Australia’s strategic environment.
  2. To Deter actions against Australia’s interests.
  3. To Respond with credible military force, when required.

Key Themes

The National Defence Strategy states that we are living in the most complex and challenging strategic environment since World War Two. As a result, National Defence works alongside broader initiatives to achieve:

  • Integrated statecraft
  • National resilience
  • Industry resilience
  • Supply chain resilience
  • Innovation, science and technology
  • A workforce and skills base
  • A robust national intelligence community.

The following topics are key themes throughout the strategy:

Force Posture and Basing – Development of resilient and networked northern bases which are supported by health, sustainment, force generation, and support elements in southern bases. This aims to improve Australia’s defence resilience by enhancing its ability to recover from a disruptive event.

People – There will be widened recruitment criteria to allow more people to be eligible to apply to join the ADF, recruitment will be streamlined and retention initiatives will be developed. This aims to recruit and retain more talent than ever before to meet growth targets.

Capability – Capability investment and expansion focusses on the procurement of conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarines, longer range fires and defence industry depth. There are many other capabilities identified for procurement and development, all indicating the need for growth in the ADF.

Partnerships – Strong global partnerships are highlighted as an enduring requirement and heavily focussed on US and pacific alliances. This shows the importance of the near region. The strategy also outlines the importance of other global partnerships and highlights significant formal strategic partnerships such as five eyes and AUKUS.

Capability Acquisition Reform – This topic looks at the requirement for resilient defence industry and supply chain. It also speaks of the requirement for increase sovereign capability including ship building.

Defence Innovation, Science and Technology – This section speaks of accelerated innovation, science and technology development including AUKUS Pillar II-Advanced Capabilities, which enables the sharing of cutting-edge technology between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States to accelerate and diversify the technology.


Just as the Defence Strategic Review identified the need for a step change in defence capability, the National Defence Strategy and Integrated Investment Program outline the plan to deliver it. This important strategic guidance from the government allows the Australia Defence Organisation and wider defence industry to start preparing.

2024 National Defence Strategy and 2024 Integrated Investment Program | About | Defence