Australian Intelligence Community

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The Australian Government agencies that constitute the Australian Intelligence Community (AIC) and National Security Community are as follows:


Governance entities[edit]

National Security Committee of Cabinet[edit]

The National Security Committee (NSC) of Cabinet is a Cabinet committee and the peak ministerial decision-making body on national security, intelligence and defence matters. It is chaired by the Prime Minister and the membership includes the Deputy Prime Minister, Attorney-General, Treasurer, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister for Defence and Minister for Immigration and Citizenship. The Secretaries for each respective public service department as well as the Chief of the Defence Force, the National Security Adviser, the Director-General of Security and the Director General of the Office of National Assessments and the Australian Secret Intelligence Service.[1][2][3][4]

Secretaries Committee on National Security[edit]

The Secretaries Committee on National Security (SCNS) (formerly the Secretaries Committee on Intelligence and Security) is the senior inter-departmental committee supporting the National Security Committee. It considers all major matters to be put before the NSC and has a strong role in ensuring that Australia maintains a coordinated policy approach on all national security issues. Membership of the SCNS includes the Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Associate Secretary for National Security and International Policy of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Secretary of the Attorney-General's Department, the Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Secretary of the Department of Defence, the Secretary of the Department of the Treasury, the Chief of the Australian Defence Force, and the Director-General of the Office of National Assessments. Other senior officials including the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, and the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Crime Commission, and the Heads of ASIO, ASIS, AGD, ASD, and DIO also attended when needed.[5]

Australian and New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee[edit]

The Australian and New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee (ANZCTC) is a bilateral and intergovernmental high level body to coordinate counterterrorism capabilities, crisis management, command and control, intelligence and investigation functions composed of representatives from the Australian Government, Australian state and territory governments and the New Zealand Government. Formally the National Counter-Terrorism Committee (NCTC), in October 2012, the New Zealand Government became members to encourage closer dialogue on matters of bilateral interest relevant to counter-terrorism. It was established by the Inter-Governmental Agreement in October 2002 to contribute to the security of the Australian community through coordination of a nationwide cooperative framework, known as the National Counter-Terrorism Plan.[6]

Australian Counter Terrorism Centre and Joint Counter Terrorism Board[edit]

The Australian Counter-Terrorism Centre (ACTC) is an intergovernmental multi-agency body that coordinates counterterrorism in Australia. The ACTC provides strategic direction to set strategic counter-terrorism priorities, coordinate counter-terrorism policy, inform operational counter-terrorism priorities, evaluate performance on priorities, and identify and fix impediments to effective coordination of counterterrorism. Membership of the ACTC includes senior officials from ASIO, AFP, ASIS, ASD, AGO, ACBPS, ACC, the Department of Defence, DFAT, DIBP, and the Attorney-General’s Department (AGD).[7]

National Intelligence Coordination Committee[edit]

The National Intelligence Coordination Committee (NICC) is to ensure that Australia's foreign, security and law enforcement intelligence activities are closely aligned and consistent with our national security priorities, and that the national intelligence effort is effectively integrated. It is chaired by the National Security Adviser and contains representation from all intelligence and security agencies.[8][9]

  • The National Intelligence Collection Management Committee (NICMC) is a subcommittee of the National Intelligence Coordination Committee and is responsible for setting specific requirements and evaluating collection effort against each of the National Intelligence Priorities (NIPs). It is chaired by the Director General of the Office of National Assessments.[10]
  • The National Intelligence Open Source Committee (NIOSC) is a subcommittee of the National Intelligence Coordination Committee and is responsible for enhancing the coordination and capabilities of the national intelligence community’s open source efforts. It is chaired by the Director General of the Office of National Assessments.[11]

Defence Intelligence Board[edit]

The Defence Intelligence Board (DIB) has responsibility for the oversight and strategic coordination of military intelligence and the Defence Intelligence and Security Group. Chaired by the Deputy Secretary for Intelligence and Security, the DIB includes representation from ONA, the Defence Science and Technology Organisation, and Australian Army, the Royal Australian Navy, and the Royal Australian Air Force.

Heads of Intelligence Agencies Meeting[edit]

The Heads of Intelligence Agencies Meeting (HIAM) brings together a sub-group of the all the national intelligence agencies comprising to consider issues relating specifically to Australia’s foreign intelligence activities. It is chaired by the Director General of the Office of National Assessments and the Deputy Secretary for Defence Intelligence, Security and International Policy attends.[12]

Policy entities[edit]

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet[edit]

The National Security and International Policy Group is in Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and led by the Associate Secretary for National Security and International Policy and provides advice on Australia's foreign, trade and treaty matters, defence, intelligence, non-proliferation, counter-terrorism, law enforcement, border security and emergency management matters; coordinates security-related science and technology research matters; and plays a coordinating leadership role in the development of integrated, whole-of-government national security policy. The National Security and International Policy Group comprises three divisions each led by a First Assistant Secretary.

  • The National Security Adviser (NSA)[13] was a position that existed under the Rudd Government and Gillard Government from 2007 to 2013 which was the chief advisor for national security and international security policy and coordination.
  • The International Division provides advice, coordination and leadership on Australia’s foreign, trade, aid and treaty matters and priorities, including bilateral relations, relationships with regional and international organisations, free trade negotiations and whole-of-government priorities for the overseas aid program. It also includes the Asia‐Pacific, Americas and the Middle East Branch and the North Asia, Multilateral and Trade Branch.
  • The National Security Division provides advice, coordination and leadership on integrated, whole-of-government policy matters, priorities and strategy in the areas of military operations, defence strategy, counterterrorism and critical infrastructure protection. This Division is divided into the Defence Branch and the Domestic Security Branch.
  • The Cyber Policy and Intelligence Division provides advice, coordination and leadership on integrated, whole-of-government policy matters, priorities and strategy in the areas of cyber security, cyberterrorism, and intelligence coordination matters. This Division is divided into the Intelligence Branch and the Cyber Policy Branch.

Attorney-General's Department[edit]

The Attorney-General's Department is the chief law enforcement office of Australia and is responsible for operational coordination on national security issues, coordinates national security and crisis management arrangements, overseas protective security and infrastructure protection, and provides legal and legislative advice for national security and counterterrorism matters.[14]

The National Security Resilience Policy Division is part of the National Security and Criminal Justice Group and is responsible for policy, legislation, advice and programs related to developing resilience to all hazards, including the areas of critical infrastructure protection, electronic and identity security, and protective security policy.[15]

The National Security Law and Policy Division is part of the National Security and Criminal Justice Group and is responsible for national security policy, capability development, legislative reform and advice on issues including national security law, foreign fighters, counter-terrorism, telecommunications interception and surveillance laws, CBRN, chemicals of security concern, and countering violent extremism.[16]

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade[edit]

The International Security Division is the international security and foreign intelligence policy and governance coordination entity of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. It is divided into three branches each led by an Assistant Secretary:

  • The Counter-Terrorism Branch coordinates international counter-terrorism policy and activities. The branch is headed by the Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism with the rank of Assistant Secretary.
  • The Strategic Issues and Intelligence Branch provides analysis, research and advice on strategic issues, foreign intelligence and other international security affairs.

Department of Defence[edit]

The Office of the Secretary and Chief of Defence Force Group is the integrated diarchy command of the Australian Defence Organisation consisting of the Secretary of the Department of Defence and the Chief of the Defence Force. It supports the strategy and administration of the Australian Defence Organisation and maintains intelligence and security strategy and coordination functions:[17]

  • The International Policy Division provides strategic level policy advice to Government on Australia's defence relations and Australian Defence Force operations.[18]
  • The Strategic Policy Division provides analysis of Australia's strategic environment to inform Defence decision making, including on the development and use of military capability, the employment of the ADF, involvement in certain international programs such as the Proliferation Security Initiative, and export controls.[19]

Primary entities[edit]

Australian Security Intelligence Organisation[edit]

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) is Australia's national security service with the main role is to gather information and produce intelligence that will enable it to warn the government about activities or situations that might endanger Australia's national security. The ASIO Act defines "security" as the protection of Australia's territorial and border integrity from serious threats, and the protection of Australia and its people from espionage, sabotage, politically motivated violence, the promotion of communal violence, attacks on Australia's defence system, and acts of foreign interference. ASIO also includes the Counter-Terrorism Control Centre which is responsible for setting and managing counter-terrorism priorities, identifying intelligence requirements, and ensuring the processes of collecting and distributing counter terrorism information are fully harmonised and effective. The National Threat Assessment Centre is also part of ASIO and is responsible for analysis of terrorist threats to Australian interests overseas and terrorist threats and threats from violent protests in Australia.[20]

  • The National Threat Assessment Centre (NTAC) of ASIO prepares assessments of the likelihood and probable nature of terrorism and protest violence, including against Australia, Australians and Australian interests here and abroad, special events and international interests in Australia. Threat Assessments support jurisdictions and agencies to make risk management decisions to determine how best to respond to the threat and mitigate risk.[21]
  • The Business Liaison Unit (BLU) of ASIO provides a conduit between the private sector and the Australian Intelligence Community. It seeks to provide industry security and risk managers with credible, intelligence-backed reporting that enables them to brief executive management and staff authoritatively, and to use this knowledge for their risk management and continuity planning.[22]
  • The Counter Terrorism Control Centre (CTCC) is a multi-agency located within ASIO which sets and manages counter-terrorism priorities, identifies intelligence requirements, and ensures that the processes of collecting and distributing counter-terrorism information are fully harmonised and effective across the spectrum of Australia’s counter-terrorism activity. The CTCC has senior level representation from ASIS, AFP, ASD, and AGO.[23]

Australian Secret Intelligence Service[edit]

The Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) is Australia's overseas secret HUMINT collection agency with the mission to protect and promote Australia's vital interests through the provision of unique foreign intelligence services as directed by Government. ASIS's primary goal is to obtain and distribute secret intelligence about the capabilities, intentions and activities of individuals or organisations outside Australia, which may impact on Australia's interests and the well-being of its citizens.[24]

Office of National Assessments[edit]

The Office of National Assessments (ONA) produces all-source assessments on international political, strategic and economic developments as an independent body directly accountable to the Prime Minister and provides advice and assessments to other Senior Ministers in the National Security Committee of Cabinet, and Senior Officials of Government Departments. ONA operates under its own legislation and has responsibility for coordinating and evaluating Australia's foreign intelligence activities. It draws its information from other intelligence agencies, as well as diplomatic reporting, information and reporting from other government agencies, and open source material.[25]

  • The Open Source Centre (OSC) of ONA collects, researches, and analyses open source information in support of Australia's national security. In line with ONA's mandate under the ONA Act, the OSC focuses on international developments that affect Australia's national interests. Its principal customers are the departments and agencies that make up Australia's national intelligence community.[26]

Defence Intelligence and Security Group[edit]

The Defence Intelligence and Security Group is an organisation of the Department of Defence that coordinates intelligence, security and other strategic policies. It is divided into four sub agencies, with the following three agencies serving as primary entities of the Australian Intelligence Community.

Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation[edit]

The Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation (AGO) was established by amalgamating the Australian Imagery Organisation, the Directorate of Strategic Military Geographic Information, and the Defence Topographic Agency to provide geospatial intelligence, from imagery and other sources, in support of the Australian Defence Force and national security interests.[27]

Defence Intelligence Organisation[edit]

The Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO) is the national military intelligence and intelligence assessment agency that provides services and advice at the national security level with the mandate to support the Australian Defence Force, Department of Defence and the Australian Government and national security decision-making and to assist with the planning and conduct of Australian Defence Force operations.[28]

Australian Signals Directorate[edit]

The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) is responsible for collection, analysis and distribution of foreign signals intelligence and is the national authority on communications, information, cyber and computer security. The ASD also includes the Cyber Security Operations Centre which coordinates and assists with operational responses to cyber events of national importance and provides government with a consolidated understanding of the cyber threat through its intrusion detection, analytic and threat assessment capabilities.[29]

  • The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) of the ASD is responsible for information and communication technology security operations and coordination. The ACSC also identifies and researched emerging threats and provides analytic capabilities and techniques to respond to cybercrime, cyberterrorism, and cyberwarfare. The ACSC integrates the cyber security functions of ASD, the DIO and Defence Science and Technology Organisation cyber functions, the Attorney-General’s Department Computer Emergency Response Team, AFP and ACC cybercrime investigators, and ASIO telecommunication security specialists.[30]

Secondary entities[edit]

Australian Army Intelligence Corps[edit]

The Australian Army Intelligence Corps (AUSTINT, AIC) is a corps of the Australian Army which serves as the principal military intelligence unit of the Australian Defence Force and provides staff to the Defence Intelligence and Security Group and major Australian Defence Force commands and staff organisations.[31][32]

Australian Federal Police[edit]

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) is a division of the Australian Federal Police under the Attorney-General's Department. It provides criminal intelligence and other intelligence capabilities across all operational functions and crime types. Divided into operational intelligence teams, the division collects, collates, analyses and disseminates intelligence on nationally significant criminal issues of interest to the AFP. Areas of intelligence operations extend to crime related to people smuggling, illicit drugs, human trafficking and sexual servitude, financial crime, counter-terrorism, high-tech crime, and child sex tourism.[33]

  • The Intelligence Division is the criminal intelligence and national security intelligence division of the AFP. The Intelligence Division is project-driven and multi-jurisdictional in its functions, utilising capabilities from the AFP National Headquarters and the relevant field offices.
  • The Joint Counter Terrorism Teams (JCTT) of the AFP operate in each state and territory jurisdiction consisting of AFP, state and territory police, and ASIO officers. JCTTs conduct investigations to prevent, respond to and investigate terrorist threats and attacks in Australia.[34]
  • The Australian Bomb Data Centre (ABDC) of the AFP is Australia's primary source of information and intelligence relating to the unlawful use of explosives. The ABDC officially began operations on 1 July 1978, and it is therefore one of the oldest bomb data centres in the world. The ABDC is concerned both with criminals who use explosives for their own benefit and with those who use explosives and bombs for terrorism. It maintains records of all bomb-related incidents reported to it, regardless of design, target or motive. The ABDC is staffed by members of the AFP as well as members of the Australian Defence Force.[35]
  • The Australian High Tech Crime Centre (AHTCC) is a national crybercrime and cybersecurity organisation located within the AFP with staff from ASIO and ASD.

Australian Crime Commission[edit]

The Australian Crime Commission (ACC) is the national criminal intelligence and investigation agency under the Attorney-General's Department. It has a range of statutory functions centred on intelligence collection and dissemination and criminal investigations regarding nationally significant, serious and major crimes. The ACC recommends national criminal intelligence priorities (NCIPs), works collaboratively to federal, state and territory agencies, and maintains ongoing powers similar to a Royal Commission. The ACC shapes the national agenda on fighting serious crime, provides solutions for national serious crime priorities and maintains a leading capability in national criminal intelligence.[36]

Australian Customs and Border Protection Service[edit]

The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection manages the security and integrity of Australia’s borders. It works closely with other government and international agencies to detect and deter unlawful movement of goods and people across the border.

  • The Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU) of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service provides front-line response capability to act when persons of national security interest attempt to cross the border. The CTU is capable of deploying rapidly across Australia to address national security and where appropriate other border risks where they manifest and is a designated Use of Force organisation.[37]
  • The Intelligence Division of the ACBPS is responsible for the assessment of new and emerging threats to the border and customs and the provision of intelligence and targeting that informs and underpins risk mitigation. The division consists of the Intelligence Analysis and Assessments Branch and the Operational Intelligence Branch.
  • The National Border Targeting Centre (NBTC) of the ACBPS is a border security intelligence organisation established to target high-risk international passengers and cargo, particularly illicit substances and potential terrorists. The NBTC includes staff from the AFP, ASIO, ACC, DFAT, Department of Agriculture, and the Office of Transport Security.
  • The Strategic Border Command (SBC) of the ACBPS is the formal command and control entity for border security, distinct from the Border Protection Command. The SBC comprises the Investigations, Compliance and Enforcement Branch and the Special Investigations and Programmes Branch along with regional commands in NSW/ACT, VIC/TAS, QLD, WA, and Central.

Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office[edit]

The Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office (ASNO) of Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is responsible for safeguarding and ensuring the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. ASNO consists of the Australian Safeguards Office (ASO), the Chemical Weapons Convention Office (CWCO), and the Australian Comprehensive Test Ban Office (ACTBO). ASNO ensures that Australia's international obligations are met under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Australia's NPT safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) and Australia's various bilateral safeguards agreements. ASNO has four main areas of responsibility in the nuclear area which are application of safeguards in Australia, the physical protection and security of nuclear items in Australia, the operation of Australia's bilateral safeguards agreements, and the contribution to the operation and development of IAEA safeguards and the strengthening of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime. ASNO also ensures that Australia's international obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) are met whilst promoting their international implementation particularly in the Asia-Pacific. ASNO also contributes to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the CTBTO Preparatory Commission.

Office of Transport Security[edit]

The Office of Transport Security (OTS) is the protective security regulator for the aviation and maritime sectors and the principal transport security advisory entity of Australia. An entity of the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, the OTS works with the states and territories, other government agencies, international bodies, and the aviation and maritime industry to improve security and prevent transport security incidents. The OTS develops and provides transport security intelligence, transport security policy and planning, and transport security regulation and compliance.

Defence Security Authority[edit]

The Defence Security Authority (DSA) of the Defence Intelligence and Security Group supports the Department of Defence Groups and the Australian Defence Force with protective security matters. The DSA’s responsibilities include developing and promulgating security policy that complies with Australian Government protective security policy, monitoring and reporting on security compliance, performance and risks, investigating serious and complex security incidents, granting security clearances for Defence and Defence Industry Security Program members, and conducting clearance revalidations and re-evaluations, assisting Groups and the Services with security policy implementation, and managing the Defence Industry Security Program.[38]


CrimTrac is the national criminal information agency under the Attorney-General's Department. It is responsible for delivering national policing information services, developing and maintaining national information-sharing services between state, territory and federal law enforcement agencies, consolidating criminal intelligence, and providing national criminal history record checks for accredited agencies. CrimTrac develops, maintains and provides the National Automated Fingerprint Identification System, the National Criminal Investigation DNA Database, the National Child Offender System, the Child Exploitation Tracking System, the National Police Reference System, the National Firearms Licensing and Registration System, the National Vehicles of Interest Register, and the National Police Checking Service.

Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre[edit]

The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) is the national financial intelligence agency under the Attorney-General's Department. It is responsible for gathering intelligence on and regulating money laundering, terrorism financing and major financial crimes.[39][40]

Oversight entities[edit]

Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security[edit]

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS)

Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security[edit]

The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS)

Australian National Audit Office[edit]

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO)

Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity[edit]

The Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity

Australian Human Rights Commission[edit]

The Australian Human Rights Commission

Commonwealth Ombudsman[edit]

The Commonwealth Ombudsman

Inspector of Transport Security[edit]

The Inspector of Transport Security is the national oversight entity for transport security and the Office of Transport Security. Under the ]]Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development]], the Inspector of Transport Security inquires into major transport or offshore security incident or a pattern or series of incidents that point to a systemic failure or possible weakness of aviation or maritime transport security regulatory systems.

Independent National Security Legislation Monitor[edit]

The Independent National Security Legislation Monitor

Legislative frameworks[edit]

See also[edit]

In Australia[edit]

In other countries[edit]


  1. ^ [1] Office of National Assessments Australia's National Security Framework
  2. ^ [2] Attorney-General's Department Australian Government Coordination Counter-terrorism Committees
  3. ^ [3] Attorney-General's Department Australia's National Security Agencies
  4. ^ [4] Australian Government Directory National Security Committee
  5. ^ [5] Office of National Assessments Australia's National Security Framework
  6. ^ [6] Australian and New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee
  7. ^ [7] Australian National Security information
  8. ^ [8] Office of National Assessments Australia's National Security Framework
  9. ^ [9] ASIO and the National Intelligence Coordination Committee
  10. ^ [10] Office of National Assessments Australia's National Security Framework
  11. ^ [11] Office of National Assessments Australia's National Security Framework
  12. ^ [12] Office of National Assessments Australia's National Security Framework
  13. ^ [13] Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet National Security and International Policy Group Executive
  14. ^ [14] National Security Agencies information
  15. ^ Attorney-General's Department organisational structure
  16. ^ Attorney-General's Department organisational structure
  17. ^ [15] Australian Government Directory
  18. ^ [16] Australian Government Directory
  19. ^ [17] Australian Government Directory
  20. ^ [18] ASIO Overview
  21. ^ [19] ASIO FAQ information
  22. ^ [20] ASIO FAQ information
  23. ^ [21] ASIO FAQ information
  24. ^ [22] ASIS Overview
  25. ^ [23] ONA About
  26. ^ [24] Open Source Centre information
  27. ^ [25] DIGO About
  28. ^ [26] DIO About
  29. ^ [27] ASD About
  30. ^ [28] Australian Cyber Security Centre
  31. ^ [29] Department of Defence Australian Army Intelligence Corps Media Release
  32. ^ [30] Defence Jobs Intelligence Corps Section
  33. ^ [31] Australian Federal Police Intelligence information
  34. ^ [32] AFP fighting terrorism information
  35. ^ [33] Australian Bomb Data Centre
  36. ^ [34] Australian Crime Commission About Section
  37. ^ [35] Counter Terrorism Unit employee information
  38. ^ [36] DSA About
  39. ^ [37] AUSTRAC Overview
  40. ^ [38] AUSTRAC Official Website

External links[edit]