SIGINT

The ADF’s fourth arm - Less well known than the Australian Defence Force (ADF) itself is the Australian Defence Intelligence Group (DIG)

14th Mar 2011


SIGINT

 The ADF’s fourth arm


Less well known than the Australian Defence Force (ADF) itself is the Australian Defence Intelligence Group (DIG), a division of the Australian Department of Defence that comes under the auspices of the Deputy Secretary for Intelligence, Security and International Policy (DEPSEC IS&IP). DIG provides national and international intelligence for the Australian Government and the Australian Defence Force and comprises three discrete Defence agencies:


DIG is responsible for the:

• Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO)
• Defence Imagery and Geospatial Organisation (DIGO)
• Defence Signals Directorate (DSD)


DepSec IS&IP is also responsible for:

• Defence Security Authority (DSA)
• International Policy Division (IP)
• Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Branch (ISR)
• Business Management - Intelligence Branch (BM-I)


DIG is tasked with the covert acquisition, assessment and dissemination of international intelligence of national and Defence interest and a broad range of advice on Defence policy matters. In the collection of intelligence DIG works closely with allies and other nations with whom it has longstanding reciprocal arrangements concerning sharing of military, political and technology-based intelligence.

Functions of the DIG organizations:

• Defence Intelligence Organisation, is an intelligence assessment agency providing services and advice covering military activities at home and abroad, defence acquisition processes, force readiness decisions, strategic policy, foreign relations and Defence Science developments.
• Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) is a collection agency responsible for the covert acquisition of raw Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) data that is obtained using a wide range of highly-specialised radio frequency receiving systems, some of which are located in Australia e.g. Shoal Bay and Pine Gap (shared US facility) and others are owned and operated by allies including USA, CANADA, UK and New Zealand. These nations share Intelligence through longstanding reciprocal arrangements. SIGINT is acquired from satellites and terrestrial sources. Satellite data is acquired by acquisition of data, transmitted to and repeated from, satellite communications systems. Terrestrial data includes communications acquired from, typically, HF and microwave systems and collected by dedicated shore-based assets and ADF assets including ships, submarines, aircraft, UAVs and land force systems, although much of this equipment is for self-defence in tactical environments. Intercepted radio transmissions use spread spectrum, multiple modulation techniques, fast frequency hopping and encoded data techniques to reduce capture and make analysis more difficult.
SIGINT data is invaluable principally because of its instantaneous nature and its purity, discounting the acquisition of deliberately false data, and this facilitates the use of digital processor-based analytical methods. Data provided by allies may be received using satellite communications or by cable systems and may be “raw” or processed.
DSD also plays a key role in protecting Australian official communications and information systems.
Recently, and in response to the growing threat of cyber warfare aimed at destabilising a country’s military and economic operations, the Government authorised, under the White Paper, the establishment of a Cyber Security Operational Centre (CSOC) Command, as a discrete function of DSD.


The main roles of CSOC were stated by Director DSD, Mr Ian McKenzie, to be
• to provide government with a comprehensive understanding of cyber threats against Australian interests; and
• to coordinate and assist operational responses to cyber events of national importance across government and critical infrastructure.
The CSOC’s operations complement DSD’s other Information Security activities.
As a closely related function, the Australian Government’s Cyber Security Strategy was established to provide for the protection of nation-wide critical computing facilities under a new Government Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT). CERT in Australia will liaise closely with other global CERTs.
• Defence Imagery and Geospatial Organisation (DIGO) is a more recent collection agency responsible for the tasking, covert acquisition, processing, dissemination and archiving of terrestrial imagery (GEOINT) used by the ADF and other government agencies. Acquired imagery is a photographic or digital image of any natural or man-made feature of interest that is analysed to determine perceived changes to terrestrial features that may indicate construction of new road and rail systems, airfields and general construction, perhaps providing information about a new military installation or civil structure. Rather than being just a picture of a surface feature, GEOINT also has the valuable characteristic of identifying geographic location. In this latter sense imagery is a geospatial (mapped), as well as a pictorial, information source. Today, GEOINT is provided by imaging satellites particularly those in geostationary orbit, carrying electro-optic, high definition radar systems and optical cameras. GEOINT is also provided by manned aircraft, (AP-3Cs in Iraq) UAVs (Afghanistan), ships and submarines using similar sensor systems and human observations.
• The Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) is Australia’s overseas secret human intelligence (HUMINT) collection agency. Its mission is to protect and promote Australia’s vital interests through the acquisition of unique foreign intelligence sources as directed by the Government. ASIS is not part of the Defence Intelligence Organisation.

This paper is concerned with an assessment of Defence projects that are listed in the current DCP that may be closely coupled with DSD’s functions and is of interest because of a growing opportunity for the involvement of Australian Defence Industry in the supply of systems and services to Defence for covert intelligence collection and the newer phenomenon of cyber warfare and countermeasures.

Defence Programs that may interact with DSD.

Note: The following list of programs has been extracted from the current unclassified, public, Defence Capability Plan. Sections of the DCP are quoted verbatim. The programs have been selected using a simple process of technical association with DSD’s activities and role in the ADF. The accuracy and content of this listing is not vouchsafed, neither is the listing which does not address classified programs.
The Government’s commitment to Defence. In the current DCP the Government stated that it was committed to “substantial investments in:
• Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance
• Strengthening EW capabilities
• A Networked ADF including Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance”
• “Build a networked ADF through progressively delivering networked maritime, land, sea, air command and INTEL surveillance, and reconnaissance domains”.
Programs related to DIG
• Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC). Committed in 2008 and estimated to require about 130 operators, most of whom were planned to be recruited from within DSD. The requirement recognises the possibility of Cyber attacks on critical national data processing infrastructure, constituting a real threat to Australia’s national interests and function. The establishment of the CSOC and the Cyber Security Strategy (CSS) together formalise the roles, responsibilities and policies of Australian intelligence, cyber and policing agencies to protect Australian users against threats ranging from identity theft to full scale assault on the nation’s information systems.
• Cyber Emergency Response Team. Implementation of the CSS will be the responsibility of a new Cyber Emergency Response Team, to be named CERT Australia, to deal with cyber attacks. CERT Australia was scheduled to begin operation in January 2010 as part of the Federal Government’s new Cyber Security Strategy, and will interface with other relevant global CERT organisations. About $8.8m was appropriated for the establishment of the CSS.
• AIR5077 AEW&C Upgrades. Some aspects of the upgrades to this asset are most likely to include SIGINT and possibly GEOINT capabilities
• AIR 5276. ESM for RAAF P3-C MPA. A new ESM capability is to be installed in the current fleet of MPAs for their LOT to replace the now obsolescent system with a more capable and supportable system.
• AIR 7000 Ph 1B. Multi-mission Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (MUAV). The program description identifies the acquisition of a High-Altitude Long-Endurance (HALE) Maritime Unmanned Aerial System (MUAS) capable of maritime and overland Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) roles and Electronic Support (ES).
• AIR 7000. Ph2B. Maritime Patrol Aircraft Replacement This phase is intended to acquire eight MOTS manned aircraft to replace the AP-3C Orion fleet. The new aircraft will be capable of Maritime Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Response (MISRR) roles, overland Intelligence acquisition and Electronic Support (ES)
• JP 2008. Military Satellite Communications. One additional phase is being considered to deliver an Ultra-High Frequency (UHF) SATCOM capability providing coverage in the Pacific Ocean region.
• JP 2030. Joint Command Support Environment (JCSE) is evolving from the development of a number of new and integration of a number of existing command support systems including the Joint Command Support System, Maritime Command Support System, Air Command Support System, Special Operations Command Support System and the Battlefield Command Support System (part of Project LAND 75). Phases 1-6 (complete) delivered a ‘core’ command support system to support the planning and conduct of joint operations. This system was delivered to strategic, operational and tactical level headquarters as well as selected ADF units. Phase 7 is in progress. Phase 8 is intended to build upon the capability delivered under previous phases of the project and, in particular, extend the functionality of the JCSS through the development of applications that support the planning and conduct of ADF networked operations and will provide further roll-out and enhancement of the Joint and Air Command Support Systems.
• JP2044 Geospatial Capability Enhancement is a multi-phased project designed to develop and sustain a Defence capability to exploit geospatial data gathered from multiple sources including space-based surveillance. Earlier phases, Phase 2A (complete) was for system updates and risk reduction preparatory to onset of the main acquisition phase. Phase 2B (in progress) is the main acquisition phase for information technology, communications and training infrastructure to support a space-based surveillance capability. Phase 3B (substantially complete) will extend the networking of Defence geospatial intelligence agencies to facilitate interoperability between Defence geospatial intelligence agencies and units. Phase 4 plans to further improve capability by networking and developing interoperability of Defence geospatial intelligence agencies. This phase will also seek to enhance interoperability with our allies and maintain relevance, effectiveness and efficiency in an environment of rapidly changing technologies. The security classification of much of the system provided under this project precludes the wide use of Australian Industry in acquisition phases.
• JP2096 Surveillance Enhancement The intent of this project is to provide the means of managing and delivering Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) data of ADF and Allied origin in a timely manner to achieve operational superiority. Phase 1 is scheduled to focus on the system architecture that provides for acquisition of multiple sources of sensor data, to facilitate its analysis and management and distribution to ADF force elements using the Australian Defence ISR Integration Backbone (ADIIB).
• DEF 7013 Ph 4 Joint Intelligence Support System (JISS) (Ph 3 in progress) is proposed to provide the ADF’s intelligence staff and units with specialized tools and access to shared databases and support networked applications between organisations that have an intelligence role at the strategic and tactical levels of command. JISS will allows rapid acquisition of intelligence data from all relevant sources, storage, fusion and transformation of data into value-added intelligence and the dissemination of that intelligence in a secure and timely manner to commanders, the command support systems that require it, and other decision makers. Phase 4 will take greater cognisance of the ADF’s migration towards networked operations and the increased demands on Defence intelligence assets to perform effectively with shorter decision cycles, effective operation in multiple security domains and embrace service oriented architecture concepts.
• DEF 224 Force Level EW Capability (Bunyip). Bunyip is now quite an old project, with DMO being the Prime Contractor and Project Manager, to establish an Australian Industry capability to develop and produce modest EW systems designed for Land, Maritime and Air applications. The project seeks to provide the ADF with an integrated force level signals intelligence and EW capability to support operational and tactical commanders. This capability is important for the protection of deployed ADF units and supports a commander’s ability to achieve decision superiority.
The phases of DEF 224 included:
• Phase 2A, an interim upgrade and life-of-type extension of existing force level EW sensor equipment to overcome high priority capability deficiencies;
• Phase 2B, the first major acquisition phase of the proposal. It provided additional capability and enhancements to support concurrent operations. It was supported by a study phase; and
• Phase 3, to introduce incremental technology enhancements to maintain a credible capability in each of the three services.
• Other Projects. The following list is of projects that are not specifically ISR related in operation, but which facilitate the distribution of Intel data throughout the ADF. They are communications projects that focus on achieving complete operational networking (NCW) of the ADF, including the DIG, and the growing complexity of the data it needs to assure superior performance.
• JP 126 Ph.2 Joint Theatre Distribution System
• JP 2047 Wide Area Communications
• JP 2064 Ph. 3 Geospatial Information Infrastructure & Services
• JP 2065 Integrated Broadcast System
• JP 2070 Hyper-Spectral Imaging (earth penetration technology using radar techniques)
• JP 2089 Ph. 3 Tactical Information Exchange Domain
• JP 2090 Combined Information Environmen
• Sea 4000. AWD
• Sea 1000 New Submarine.


Conclusion.
The acquisition and use of INTEL is as old as warfare itself and success in the battlefield relied on collecting political, economic and military intelligence about the enemy and using it before he did. As the pace of warfare steadily increased so did the methods of acquiring, verifying and managing the use of data necessitate a concomitant increase in capability and technology. But in many respects the process awaited the advent of relevant technology.
World War II, which was global in nature, established new approaches to encryption (e.g. Germany’s Enigma a mechanical device) and analysis methods that with the advent of increasingly powerful and capable digital processors and methods of collecting data, offered the prospect of acquiring and sharing superior ISR data between traditional and emerging allies. The adoption of emerging secure technologies and their integration to produce superior results continues to be a major driver in the technology today.
Australia has a long history of maintaining, developing and applying ISR technologies that are relevant to its global interests and needs. And it is clearly evident that Governments of the day continue to support this process to foster superior operational performance of Australia’s Defence Force in the field.

 

APDR at a glance