Page 26 - Australian Defence Magazine November 2019
P. 26

Integrated Information Architecture
is a National Security issue
WE exist on a spectrum of conflict where everything is a potential weapon against our way of life and our sovereignty. The September 2019 attacks on the Saudi oil production facilities impacted around five per cent of the worlds daily oil supply. Despite the Saudi Government spending billions of dollars to protect a kingdom built on oil, it could not defend against the relatively small-scale drone and cruise missile attack.
It was somewhat sobering to watch a Saudi official trying to congratulate their air defence forces on defeating recent at- tacks from ballistic missiles whilst standing in front of the images of burning oil infra- structure. Clearly Saudi Arabia’s critical infrastructure is still vulnerable and further
attacks will have major impacts on global economy and energy security.
Following the Saudi refinery attack, John Rood, the Pentagon’s Under Secretary of Defense for policy pointed out that “The threat that we face has developed faster than our own countermeasures ... As much progress as we’ve made, if you’re not staying equal to, or making greater progress than, the threat picture, it’s a serious problem.”
Was the attack really a surprise? Perhaps to some; but drone attacks are not new, and the oil fields of the Middle East had suf- fered small scale attacks in the past. Cruise missile attacks should also not be a surprise to us as they have been used extensively by a number of countries in the past decade; weapons proliferation is not new.
Many commentators have written that we should also expect future attacks by masses of swarming drones that could operate autonomously. How will we, in Australia, defend against such threats if an adversary targets, for example, our critical infrastructure? Are we preparing for such an environment or will we mere- ly wait to react?
When we think about critical infrastruc- ture, we often think about the energy sector because of its’ scale and impact. For exam- ple, Australia is currently the world’s largest exporter of LNG. Japan is our largest cus- tomer, importing more that 30 per cent of its’ LNG from Australia. Approximately 30 per cent of the Japanese electricity supply is LNG based.
An average tanker leaving Australia full of LNG has about $45 million worth of cargo alone.
26 | November 2019 |
The construct that there is war or peace, where peacetime permits business as usual, is an outdated binary construct.

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