Welcome to the Australia Defence Association (www.ada.asn.au)


Who are we?

Since 1975 the ADA has been Australia's only truly independent and non-partisan public-interest watchdog and 'think-tank' on strategic security, defence and wider national security issues.

What do we do?

We seek to represent the long-term public interest in helping ensure Australia is strategically and domestically secure.

Including that current and future Australians are adequately defended.

Our public-interest oversight primarily focuses on ministerial, governmental and parliamentary accountability for the effective formulation and execution of strategic and wider national security policy.

Including the consequent capabilities and employment of the Australian Defence Force, Australia's six intelligence and security agencies, and the effectiveness of their supporting departments.

What do we believe?

We consider that ten key principles underly the long-term preservation of Australia's strategic and domestic security:

  • Australia's strategic security — including our liberty, common defence and sovereign freedom of action — is the first responsibility of every Australian government.
  • Ensuring Australia's strategic security is also a universal civic responsibility of every Australian. Not somehow a responsibility of "someone else".
  • Our strategic security involves furthering and  protecting our vital national interests, not just defending Australian territory.
  • Geo-strategically, our surrounding oceans and seas are two-way maritime highways, not defensive "moats".
  • Living on an island-continent, and fundamentally dependent on seaborne trade, our whole modern way-of-life principally depends on helping the international system to work, legally, commercially, strategically and morally.
  • As a minor maritime power, our strategic security is also ultimately dependent on collective defence alliances and arrangements with fellow maritime powers, both regionally and globally.
  • Our defence capabilities are essential national infrastructure for the protection of Australia and Australians, both now and over many decades into the future.
  • Adequate investment in developing and sustaining our long-term defence capabilities is essential, not somehow discretionary. Inter-generational equity also means we must not inflict greater strategic risk and "catch-up" costs on future generations of Australians by not paying our fair share, now, of the long-term and sustained national investment required.
  • Such protection needs to be focused on countering general strategic risks over the long term with flexible and adaptable defence capabilities. Not by trying (repeatedly without success historically) to narrowly and inflexibly target defence capabilities against ideas of specific "threats" as we might perceive or dismiss them now.
  • National unity, national will, economic strength, free speech, informed public debate, and capable and adaptable defence capabilities, are inter-related and essential components of Australia's national security.