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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2004  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/02/2004   
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Contents >> Defence >> Strategic environment

In February 2003, the Minister for Defence published an update to Australia’s defence policy, Australia’s National Security: A Defence Update 2003. The 2003 Defence Update described Australia’s changed strategic circumstances and identified the need for some re-balancing of capabilities and priorities to take account of the new strategic environment. The major changes to the strategic environment identified in the 2003 Defence Update were the emergence of new and more immediate threats from terrorism and increased concerns about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The 2003 Defence Update also noted the continuing economic, political, governance and social challenges facing countries in the region.

The effects of globalisation continue to shape Australia’s regional environment, exposing it to issues including global security threats, as illustrated by the terrorist attacks in Bali on 12 October 2002.

The terrorist threat to Australia and its interests has increased, both domestically and overseas. Terrorism now operates on a global level: organisations are no longer contained within states, but increasingly draw upon people, money and equipment organised across national borders.

The prospect of a conventional military attack on Australian territory remains low due to the reduction in major power tensions affecting Australia and the deterrent effect of the alliance with the United States of America, which remains the dominant actor in global strategic affairs.

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