Space as an operational domain for defence capability


The July publication of the 2020 Defence Strategic Update and Force Structure Plan (FSP) outlined a number of strategic challenges in the Space Domain. Australia’s growing security dependence on space and the increasing vulnerability of national security space capabilities create the need to rethink the scope and scale of Defence space capabilities. The FSP states the intent for sovereign space capabilities in both satellite communication and satellite imaging capabilities. As a result, there are now new opportunities for developing Australian industry content and sovereign capabilities for national defence and security. The FSP identified a number of capability investments in satellite communications, resilient PNT, space domain awareness and geospatial intelligence that represent out largest national investment in space and supporting systems. These are set out in Table 3:


Table 3: Planning funding for space and spatial initiatives in the 2020 Defence Strategic Update

This funding represents a strong opportunity for Australia’s space industry to participate in the development and delivery of solutions that meet future national security needs.

  • The scale of this investment and the stated goals of the government related to Australian Industry impact a wide range of space and spatial technologies and systems. Australia needs to position its industrial sector to ensure these important future capabilities can be delivered, sustained and operated in an increasingly contested space environment.
  • The increased funding identified for acquisition and sustainment will require increased employment in a range as space and spatial disciplines related to operation of space systems and data systems supporting geospatial intelligence and space situational awareness.


1. Identify critical Defence space capability elements that require a high degree of nationally based development, operation and sustainment and ensure these areas are recognised as priorities for R&D investment and workforce planning.

2. This could be undertaken by setting up a joint working party with industry associations comprising SIAA, SIBA-GITA, FrontierSI, SSSI and Defence representatives.