The Inquiry has examined the performance of Australia's five foreign intelligence agencies in their task of providing high-quality and independent intelligence advice to government. The Inquiry's examination has drawn from the perspectives of those working inside the organisations, key users of Australia's foreign intelligence product and a broad range of individuals with relevant expertise.
This chapter sets out the Inquiry's findings on the quality of support Australia's foreign intelligence agencies are providing government in the protection of Australia's security and the pursuit of key national interests.
The chapter also examines each agency's current resource levels. In most cases, budget supplementation in recent years has provided a firm foundation for the agencies to continue delivering high-quality intelligence on matters of enduring importance to Australia while ensuring that they are able to meet the challenges posed by new security threats and emerging national priorities. In a number of discrete areas, however, the Inquiry has identified funding shortfalls requiring further government attention.
The chapter deals in turn with each agency and includes a section on a range of issues with relevance across agency boundaries. It seeks to identify key factors currently affecting the quality of foreign intelligence produced by the agencies, to highlight areas of best practice and to propose measures to redress any weaknesses.
Each of the agencies faces its own set of challenges. There are, however, a number of themes common to all. For every agency - collection or assessment, Defence or civilian - the quality, professionalism and motivation of the people working in the organisation are fundamental to the contribution the agency is able to make to Australia's national interests. All the agencies gain significant strength from their international linkages. And for every agency, the extent to which it is able to deliver the right product to the right recipients depends fundamentally on the relationships and the communication it has been able to foster with counterpart agencies in Australia and with the key customers of foreign intelligence.
Office of National Assessments
The Defence Intelligence Organisation
Defence Signals Directorate
The Defence Imagery & Geospatial Organisation
Australian Secret Intelligence Service
Cross Community Issues