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 Department of Defence 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 ADF, its foreign partners and Militaries.[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. Archived from the original on 1 December 2011. 
  2. ^ "History: DSD Defence Signals Directorate". 2011. Archived from the original on 1 November 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]