In 2005, the Australian Government released its most recent strategic defence review, Defence Update 2005. Defence Update 2005 confirms and builds on the key judgements made in the 2000 Defence White Paper and the Defence Update 2003. Defeating the threat of terrorism, countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and supporting fragile states in difficulty remain the Government’s highest priorities. The Defence Update 2005 states that threats will be increasingly interrelated across both national and international environments, and across organisational and jurisdictional boundaries. It also notes that in the years ahead, Australia may face challenges that cannot be easily anticipated or predicted. The contribution the Australian Defence Force (ADF) makes to future national security is likely to go far beyond traditional warfighting.
The current high demand placed on the ADF is likely to continue, with the ADF expecting to conduct concurrent deployments domestically, regionally and internationally in support of Australia’s interests. Recently, the ADF has been operating at a very high tempo with deployments in Afghanistan, Iraq, Solomon Islands and East Timor. In managing these challenges, the ADF has shown its ability to respond to the complex security environment with flexibility and agility - in roles as diverse as traditional warfighting, border protection, peacekeeping and humanitarian support. The ADF has consistently demonstrated that it is among the most capable forces in the world.