To be fully prepared for any military engagement, Australia must further increase its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities.


Australia must always be ready for high-end conflict. Still, this article argues that having the capabilities to affect adversaries’ decision-making and deter them from conflict is equally important. The author notes the following:

  • An exclusive focus on investment in weapons and offensive platforms risks misaligning the ADF’s mechanisms of operation, the nation’s broader strategic priorities and the value of Australia’s role within a coalition.

  • Over investment in weapons could also lead to insufficient enhancement of our intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities.

  • The ADF should ensure it has capabilities that allow us to pierce the information-fog of grey-zone activities so we can work to avoid conflict.

  • Our growing fleet of P-8 aircraft has competing tasks and limits. Therefore, uninhabited ISR assets (drones) can help overcome these limits and provide Australia with high-quality and broad ISR, including valuable data on Australia’s Antarctic territories.