Security Challenges
Volume 15, No.1 (2019)

The Changing Operational Security Landscape for Sensitive National Capabilities

The Australian Defence Force and Australian security community maintain many sensitive national capabilities that are subject to extensive security protections to prevent information disclosure. Often, the operational models of these capabilities are based on the assumption that they will not be discovered. This assumption is becoming tenuous. The frequency of public information disclosures of sensitive national capabilities is high, and technology has evolved to give Australia’s strategic competitors greater ability to gain intelligence on these sensitive national capabilities. This article will consider the shared operational security features of two of Australia’s most sensitive military capabilities—submarines and Special Forces. It contends that Australian policymakers must be more specific in designating the information they wish to protect, and take additional measures to do so, noting that operational security is becoming a more transitory concept rather than something that can be achieved into perpetuity.

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