The BGA Australia Team, led by Managing Director Michael “Mick” McNeill, wrote an update on Australia’s defense modernization efforts.


  • The Australian government announced on April 17 its plan to modernize the Australian Defense Force based on a “strategy of denial.” The policy aims to prevent any country from attempting to achieve its regional objectives through military action.

  • Over the next decade, Australia will invest in strike capabilities, including a more lethal navy, in addition to cyber and space. The government is explicit that its alliance with the United States is fundamental to Australia’s national security and that increasing U.S.-China strategic competition is a primary feature of Australia’s security environment. The government acknowledges that technology has “overturned one of Australia’s long-standing advantages — geography.”


  • The 2024 National Defense Strategy (NDS) outlines the government’s approach to address Australia’s most significant strategic risks based on the concept of national defense. The 2024 Integrated Investment Program outlines the specific defense capabilities in which the government will invest to implement the NDS. Both the NDS and the investment program were developed in response to last year’s Defense Strategic Review (see BGA Australia update from April 24, 2023 | password: S9vZ6j1aUn4Y). The government acknowledges defense has a “workforce crisis” and will widen eligibility criteria, including for non-Australian citizens when appropriate.
  • The government will urgently invest in strike capabilities to address Australia’s challenging strategic circumstances. Canberra envisages a navy with an upgraded lethality surface fleet and conventionally-armed, nuclear‑powered submarines; an army with a long-range land and maritime strike capability; an air force that can deliver better maritime, land and air strike capabilities; and enhanced cyber and electronic warfare.


  • Canberra has proposed an additional AUD 50.3 billion (US$32.2 billion) over the decade to 2033-34 to uplift defense’s capabilities and deliver on the NDS. The government claims this will lift defense funding as a proportion of the gross domestic product to around 2.4 percent, up to 0.3 percent higher than the spending trajectory set by the former government. Of the expected AUD 330 billion ($211.3 billion) in defense investment, this will include up to AUD 76 billion ($66.5 billion) for undersea warfare, including nuclear submarines and underwater drones; up to AUD 69 billion ($60.3 billion) for new surface ships; AUD 21 billion ($18.4 billion) for guided weapons; and AUD 18 billion ($11.5 billion) for missile defense.
  • The government will establish pathways for industry and equity firms to participate in the AUKUS (Australia-United Kingdom-United States) trilateral security partnership. Officials believe the AUKUS technology partnership, which involves Australia acquiring nuclear-powered submarines and pooling advanced capabilities, “presents a generational opportunity” for defense modernization and supporting stability in the Indo-Pacific. In addition to hardening its security ties with the United States, the government will seek to deepen defense partnerships with Southeast Asian nations including Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. Defense cooperation with France will catalyze in the Pacific. The government also views India as a “top-tier security partner” for Australia.

We will continue to keep you updated on developments in Australia as they occur. If you have any questions or comments, please contact BGA Australia Managing Director Michael “Mick” McNeill at

Best regards,

BGA Australia Team