Australian Signals Directorate

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Australian Signals Directorate
Defence signals directorate logo.png
Slogan: Reveal their secrets ... Protect our own
Agency overview
Formed 12 November 1947; 68 years ago (1947-11-12)
Jurisdiction Commonwealth of Australia
Headquarters Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
35°17′43″S 149°08′55″E / 35.2952°S 149.1487°E / -35.2952; 149.1487Coordinates: 35°17′43″S 149°08′55″E / 35.2952°S 149.1487°E / -35.2952; 149.1487
Minister responsible
Parent agency Department of Defence

Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) (formerly: Defence Signals Directorate (DSD)) is an Australian government intelligence agency responsible for signals intelligence (SIGINT) and information security (INFOSEC). ASD was established in 1947.


ASD has two principal functions: to collect and disseminate foreign signals intelligence; and to provide information security products and services to the Australian Government and its Defence Force.[1]

Based in Canberra, at the Defence Headquarters at Russell Offices[2] it operates monitoring facilities at Kojarena, Western Australia and at Shoal Bay, Northern Territory, which are believed to be part of the ECHELON system, and is involved in Pine Gap.[3]

Under the 1948 UKUSA agreement, ASD's intelligence is shared with its foreign partner agencies: the National Security Agency (NSA) – United States, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) – United Kingdom, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) – Canada, and the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) – New Zealand.

Electronic warfare operators in the Royal Australian Corps of Signals work closely with the Australian Signals Directorate. 7 Signal Regiment (Electronic Warfare) at Borneo Barracks, Cabarlah, Queensland is associated with ASD.


The ASD operates at least three receiving stations: the Australian Defence Satellite Communications Station (ADSCS), located at Kojarena, near Geraldton, Western Australia; the Shoal Bay Receiving Station, located at Shoal Bay, Northern Territory;[4] and a small station on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.[4]

These stations contribute signals intelligence for many Australian Government bodies, as well as the wider UKUSA partners. The ASD also maintains a workforce at Pine Gap in central Australia.[3]

In addition, it has been reported that many Australian embassies and overseas missions also house small facilities which provide a flow of signals intelligence to ASD.[5]


The Directorate has operated under a number of different names since its founding:

  • 1947 – Defence Signals Bureau established within the Department of Defence
  • 1949 – Changes name to Defence Signals Branch
  • 1964 – Changes name to Defence Signals Division
  • 1978 – Changes name to Defence Signals Directorate
  • 2013 – Changes name to Australian Signals Directorate[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About DSD: DSD Defence Signals Directorate". 2011. 
  2. ^ "History: DSD Defence Signals Directorate". 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Leslie, Tim; Corcoran, Mark (19 November 2013). "Explained: Australia's involvement with the NSA, the US spy agency at heart of global scandal". ABC. Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  4. ^ a b Dorling, Philip (1 November 2013). "Listening post revealed on Cocos Islands". Canberra Times. 
  5. ^ Dorling, Philip (31 October 2013). "Exposed: Australia's Asia spy network". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2 November 2013. 
  6. ^ "2013 Defence White Paper: Renaming the Defence Signals Directorate and the Defence Imagery and Geospatial Organisation" (Press release). Minister for Defence. 3 May 2013. Retrieved 2 September 2013. 

External links[edit]