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National security: a quick guide to key Internet links

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National security: a quick guide to key internet links Cat Barker Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security

This Quick Guide provides key Internet links to websites with information on national security arrangements and issues.

Australian Government agencies and websites • Australian Government national security website—provides information on what governments are doing to protect Australia’s national security, outlines relevant legislation and the roles of federal and state and territory agencies in countering terrorism, and provides links to key Australian Government publications

relating to national security. It also has a list of organisations identified as terrorist organisations under the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) and associated regulations, with links to statements of reasons and the Australian Government’s listing protocol.

• Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet page on national security—provides information on the department’s role in national security and counter-terrorism policy coordination.

• Attorney-General’s Department (AGD) page on national security—provides information on national security policy and legislation covering areas such as cybersecurity, countering violent extremism, critical infrastructure resilience and counter-terrorism.

• AGD page on telecommunications interception and surveillance—provides an overview of relevant legislation, links to legislation and annual reports relating to its use, and information on major reviews undertaken since 1994.

• Australian Federal Police—national security functions include preventing and countering terrorism in Australia and overseas, aviation security and policing and protective security.

• Australian Security Intelligence Organisation—Australia’s national security intelligence agency. Its role is to identify, investigate, and provide advice on threats to security including espionage, sabotage, attacks on Australia’s defence system, acts of foreign interference and serious threats to Australia’s territorial and border integrity.

• Australian Secret Intelligence Service—Australia’s overseas secret intelligence collection agency. Its main functions are to collect and distribute across the Australian Government foreign intelligence that may impact on Australia’s interests, carrying out counter-intelligence activities and engaging with overseas intelligence and security agencies.

• Office of National Assessments—responsible for collecting, analysing and providing advice on information (including open source) relating to international matters of political, strategic or economic interest to Australia. It also plays a role in coordinating and evaluating Australia’s foreign intelligence activities.

• Australian Signals Directorate (ASD; formerly the Defence Signals Directorate)—collects and analyses foreign signals intelligence and provides information and communications security advice and services to the

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Australian Government. ASD houses the Cyber Security Operations Centre, which was established to mitigate cyber threats to Australia’s national security by providing government with a better understanding of those threats and coordinating operational responses to cyber incidents of national importance.

• CERT Australia—Australia’s national computer emergency response team; provides advice and support on cyber threats to organisations and industries comprising Australia’s critical infrastructure and other systems of national interest. It also provides a range of publicly accessible advice and guidance on cybersecurity for businesses.

Parliamentary and other oversight bodies • Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security—reviews and reports on the administration and expenditure of the six agencies that comprise the Australian Intelligence Community (AIC), other matters relevant to those agencies as referred by the relevant Minister or a House of Parliament, certain national

security legislation and regulations proscribing terrorist organisations. It does not review intelligence priorities, operational methods or particular operations.

• Senate Standing Committees on Legal and Constitutional Affairs—Bills relevant to national security are often referred to this committee for consideration.

• Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS)—inquires into and reports on the activities of the agencies comprising the AIC to ensure they comply with Australian laws and any directions or guidelines given by the responsible Minister, are proper, and are consistent with human rights. Public reports are published for some inquiries, and all are summarised in the IGIS’s annual reports.

• Independent National Security Legislation Monitor—reviews and reports annually on the operation, effectiveness and implications of federal counter-terrorism and national security legislation.

Select research organisations and think tanks • Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI)—established in 2001 as an independent think tank and partially funded by the Australian Government. ASPI produces analysis and commentary, hosts events and maintains a weblog, The Strategist, covering a range of strategic policy issues.

• Lowy Institute for International Policy—an independent think tank that provides research and analysis on a wide range of foreign and strategic policy, defence and security issues. Lowy produces a number of analytical publications and regularly comments on key issues via its weblog, The Interpreter.

• National Security College—at the Australian National University, conducts and commissions research and hosts public seminars on current and emerging national security issues.

• National Security Institute—at the University of Canberra, operates a similar centre.

• Gilbert and Tobin Centre of Public Law—one of the projects of this centre at the University of New South Wales focuses on the operation of anti-terrorism laws.

• Kokoda Foundation—a think tank with a mixture of private and public funding. Popular publications include the Security Challenges journal and Kokoda Papers, which feature contributions from prominent experts in the field of regional strategic security.

• Brookings Institution—a United States-based non-profit public policy organisation. It produces a range of publications that can be viewed by topic, with the ‘defense and security’ page the most relevant for national security issues.

• Center for Strategic and International Studies—a United States-based think tank focusing on international relations and global security issues. It produces a range of publications that can be viewed by topic, with the ‘defense and security’ page the most relevant for national security issues.

• Chatham House—a United Kingdom-based think tank that specialises in energy, environment and resources, economics, international security and international law. It produces a range of publications that can be viewed by topic, with the ‘international security’ page the most relevant for national security issues.

• IHS Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre—in addition to ongoing analysis of terrorist activities around the world, this resource contains a database of comprehensive profiles of terrorist organisations that can be provided to Members, Senators and their staff on request.

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