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Australia is reexamining its priorities in terms of military spending, given changing international trends including terrorism, cybersecurity threats, and regional economic and political trends.
As part of the 2016 Defence White Paper, the government has stated that it will deliver a more capable Australian Defence Force (ADF) through a new funding plan that aims to raise defense funding to 2 percent of GDP by 2020-21, effectively increasing the defense budget from $24 billion in 2016-17 to $43 billion in 2025-26, with $145 billion to be invested in defense capability over this period.
As part of the plan, the government will spend an extra $22 billion on:
- A continuous naval shipbuilding program commencing with nine future frigates and 12 offshore patrol vessels.
- Buying 12 new regionally superior submarines, with the commitment to maximize Australian industry involvement in acquisition and sustainment, to be finalized through the Competitive Evaluation Process.
- Enhanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, space, electronic warfare and cyber capabilities.
- Advanced training, modern equipment, health care and logistics systems to support ADF personnel.
- Comprehensive upgrades to defense infrastructure across Australia to support our larger future force, including key bases, training and testing ranges and fuel and explosive ordnance facilities.
- Modernized information management, operational communications, and command and control systems.
- Growing the size of the permanent ADF workforce to more than 62,000 over the next decade.
In addition, the government has committed $1.2 billion over 10 years to defense innovation, including the Centre of Defence Industry Capability and the Virtual Defence Innovation Hub, aiming to connect defense with the private sector and deliver new technology innovation and capabilities.