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Office of National Intelligence to enhance national security: PM

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has formally recognised the Office of National Intelligence (ONI) as it commences its role as the lead agency for Australia’s national intelligence community.

The ONI was introduced following the passage of the Office of National Intelligence Act in November 2018 and marks a major milestone in the co-ordination, organisation and operational capabilities of Australia's national intelligence community (NIC).   

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Prime Minister Morrison said, "The evolution of the Office of National Assessments into ONI follows the recommendations of the 2017 Independent Intelligence Review (IIR).

"A key finding of the review was that better co-ordination of our intelligence community was necessary to respond more effectively to the unprecedented changes in Australia's security environment."

Australia's national intelligence community consists of a number of organisations across the Departments of Attorney-General, Defence, Foreign Affairs and Trade, Treasury and Home Affairs, including:

  • Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS);
  • Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO);
  • Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO);
  • Australian Signals Directorate (ASD);
  • Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC); and
  • Australian Federal Police (AFP).

The National Intelligence Community (NIC) was officially formed following the Australian government's adoption of the IIR's recommendations.

These agencies and departments form the Australian government's intelligence enterprise, working to collect, analyse and disseminate intelligence information and advice in accordance with Australia's interests and national security priorities.

"As well as being Australia’s premier all-source intelligence assessment agency, ONI will co-ordinate, integrate and evaluate the work of the National Intelligence Community, which is now a major enterprise and should be managed as such," the Prime Minister said. 

The IIR noted that these tasks are growing more difficult, given the increasing complexity of Australia's geo-strategic environment, the rapid pace of technological change and broadening scope of security and intelligence challenges.

"The Director-General of National Intelligence will be the Prime Minister’s principal adviser on intelligence issues," it said.

To address these challenges, the NIC was formed with a mandate to integrate the intelligence functions of government, and provide more opportunities for collaboration, co-ordination and co-operation.

The Prime Minister added, "ONI’s mandate ensures that Australia has a contemporary national intelligence enterprise built on strong collaboration. By drawing together and leveraging the talent of our National Intelligence Community’s workforce – and the best technologies.

"ONI will help position Australia to better meet the challenges of its evolving security environment. ONI will play an important role in my commitment to keep Australians safe."

Office of National Intelligence to enhance national security: PM
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