Strategy | Executive summary

Focusing our national S&T enterprise on mission-directed research will ensure Defence is best positioned to realise capability advantage in a rapidly evolving environment.

Defence science and technology (S&T) plays a critical role in Australia’s defence and national security by ensuring that our forces maintain a capability edge. Defence research has yielded iconic capabilities such as the Black Box flight recorder, the Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN) and the Nulka active missile decoy. S&T support to operations, including the development of technology to counter improvised explosives, not only enhances operational outcomes but can also save lives. Expert advice supporting major Defence acquisitions – such as the Joint Strike Fighter and the Future Submarine – helps to shape future capabilities to meet Australia’s unique needs, and provides a basis for robust and contestable investment decision-making.

The Defence S&T Strategy is an important step in taking us into the future. DST will continue to lead the development and application of S&T to support Defence’s needs in acquisition, sustainment and support to perations, including strategic elements such as the Australian Signals Directorate. DST will also continue to lead the coordination of S&T for Australia’s national security community through the National Security Science and Technology Centre. This includes delivering S&T support to national security agencies and leveraging dual-use (defence and national security) technologies where DST has unique, sovereign and classified capabilities.

This strategy will generate a major transformation in the way we partner with the national S&T enterprise to achieve impact through strategic research. It is headlined by the introduction of a new concept – STaR Shots (Science, Technology and Research Shots). In the spirit of pioneering defence S&T achievements, STaR Shots will inspire and focus the national S&T enterprise on large-scale programs of work that lead to specific leap-ahead capabilities for the Australian Defence Force. A set of eight STaR Shots are introduced, each aligned to future Force Structure priorities and endorsed by at least one Defence 3-star sponsor. They represent the most challenging, high impact capabilities that are best solved through S&T. Importantly, each STaR Shot will be established with a developed path for introduction into service. To support the conduct of STaR Shots and a scaling up of the broader Defence science and technology program, this strategy also introduces three strategic pillars:

  • One Defence S&T capability: leading, shaping and growing Australia’s defence S&T enterprise and the coordination of S&T capability to support Defence’s needs.
  • Brilliant people, collaborative culture: developing a highly skilled and collaborative workforce, recognising diversity in partnerships and building a shared culture.
  • Outstanding research infrastructure powering innovation: providing the necessary physical and digital research environments, building Defence precincts and embracing opportunities to share infrastructure.

This strategy document provides new guidance to achieve a sharper focus on key areas of S&T and increased scale to maximise impact for Defence. A forthcoming document outlining the Strategy Implementation Framework will provide further details on the governance, processes and systems that will be put in place to engage partners and deliver the strategy.

Diagram showing an overview of the National S&T Enterprise once the strategy and STaR Shots are in place.

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