In defence of our nation

20170904adf8630742_001 By Greg Moriarty, Secretary of the Department of Defence

Protecting Australia and our way of life is the most important responsibility of the Federal Government. It is a role that we must now perform in the face of ever greater uncertainty and complexity.

The world order we have been used to – one that served our interests well is changing. These changes will present both opportunities and challenges. To position Australia to exploit these opportunities and navigate these challenges, we will need to embrace new ways of securing the nation and its interests.


HMAS Ballarat SEAD17
Chief of Staff, South Sea Fleet (SSF), Rear Admiral Wang Hou Bin was given a tour of HMAS Ballarat, by the ship’s Commanding Officer, Commander David Landon, CSM, RAN, during HMAS Ballarat’s port visit to Zhanjiang, China. Image credit: Department of Defence, LSIS Bradley Darvill

Defence has been closely engaged in the development of the Foreign Policy White Paper, just as the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade was in the development of the 2016 Defence White Paper. Both documents share what is quite a fundamental refocusing of national security thinking on the importance of international relationships, new and established, in helping Australia to achieve its goals.

Australia’s Strategic Defence Interests are a secure and resilient Australia, a secure near-region encompassing maritime South-East Asia and the South Pacific, and a stable Indo-Pacific region and rules-based global order that supports our interests.

The Foreign Policy White Paper places priority on the mitigation of, and response to, security risks and strategic competition in the Indo-Pacific. These are shared priorities for Defence and DFAT, and our closely-aligned White Papers chart practical ways for meeting them.

Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2017
Private Joshua Duck and Lance Corporal Edwin Koh discuss stowage of military vehicles and plant within the heavy vehicle deck of HMAS Adelaide, during Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Response training with the Singapore Armed Forces in Changi Bay, Singapore, for Indo Pacific Endeavour 2017. Image credit: Department of Defence, LSIS Peter Thompson

In the Defence White Paper, the Government directed Defence to adopt a more active role in shaping Australia’s security environment, including by expanding the scope and sophistication of international defence engagement. So, for the first time, Defence international engagement has been prioritised and fully funded as a core Defence function.

This means Australia will be more active in seeking to shape the world we want to see, not just reacting to the world as it is. Some 2,350 Defence personnel are deployed on operations overseas. We carry out a regular suite of Defence exercises and deployments, including this year Indo-Pacific Endeavour, the biggest coordinated task group deployment since the early 1980s. And our Defence Cooperation Programs support Australia’s interests and relationships in the Indo-Pacific region, by developing close and enduring links with partner nations, and working together with them to address security challenges.

This is a national endeavour, and Defence is proud to be working together with DFAT and other government agencies to advance the interests of this nation, by engaging confidently with our region to foster security and to provide the conditions for future prosperity.

The Royal Australian Air Force Officer Commanding No 81 Wing, Group Captain Tim Alsop (left), greets the Air Attache to the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia, Colonel Riva Yanto, during the opening ceremony for Exercise Elang AUSINDO 17 at RAAF Base Darwin. Image credit: Department of Defence, SGT Rob Hack  

Mr Greg Moriarty commenced as Secretary of the Department of Defence on 4 September 2017.

Mr Moriarty first worked in Defence from 1986 to 1995, primarily in the Defence Intelligence Organisation. He also served in the Headquarters of the United States Central Command in the Persian Gulf during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

Prior to his appointment as the Secretary of Defence, Mr Moriarty held senior roles in the Prime Minister’s office, first as the International and National Security Adviser and then as Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

In June 2015 Mr Moriarty was appointed Commonwealth Counter-Terrorism Coordinator in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Mr Moriarty was responsible for coordinating and implementing Australia’s counter-terrorism arrangements, in close partnership with the States and Territories.

Mr Moriarty has extensive experience within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). Mr Moriarty served in a number of senior roles, including as Deputy Secretary (2015), Ambassador to Indonesia (2010-2014), First Assistant Secretary, Consular Public Diplomacy and Parliamentary Affairs Division (2009-2010), Assistant Secretary, Parliamentary and Media Branch (2008-2009), Ambassador to Iran (2005-2008) and as the Senior Negotiator with the Peace Monitoring Group on Bougainville.

Mr Moriarty holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree with Honours from the University of Western Australia and a Masters Degree in Strategic and Defence Studies from the Australian National University. He is married with two children. Mr Moriarty has studied Indonesian and Tok Pisin.

One thought on “In defence of our nation

  1. As a Veteran I am glad to see that matters relating to our Defence planning are more in the public eye that was the case in my day. We should be wary of China’s intentions but we should not become paranoid about the subject.

    Paranoia about the Yellow Peril in the 50’s and 60’s led to the ill advised involvement in what were after all a civil wars in both Korea and Vietnam.

    Hopefully we have learned our lessons.

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