In February 2003, the Minister for Defence released Australia’s National Security: A Defence Update 2003. The update identified the emergence of new and more immediate threats from terrorism, a renewed attention to the consequences of failing and failed states in our region, and increased concerns about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction as the major changes to our strategic environment.
It also identified the need for some re-balancing of Defence’s capabilities and priorities to take account of the new strategic environment and concluded that it called for an increased emphasis on readiness and mobility, interoperability, the development and enhancement of important new capabilities and, where sensible and prudent, a reduced emphasis on capabilities of less importance.
The Defence Capability Review was conducted during 2003 to ensure that the Defence Capability Plan continued to reflect capability requirements in this changed strategic environment. The Review considered Defence’s existing capabilities and Defence Capability Plan in light of the recommendations of the Defence Update, recent operational experience and more mature costings of equipment projects. The Government announced the outcomes of the Defence Capability Review in November 2003.
These included an increased requirement to strengthen the effectiveness and sustainability of the Army, to provide air defence protection to deploying forces and to enhance their operational and strategic mobility.