The Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group has unveiled a new plan for collaborative mission-directed research to ensure Australia’s forces maintain a capability edge.

Titled More, together: Defence Science and Technology Strategy 2030, it reiterates the necessity for our national science and technology enterprise to focus on big opportunities.

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said it was more important than ever to harness science and technology for a secure Australia.

“Australia’s defence and national security is facing a period of technological change and increasing threats,” Senator Reynolds said.

“That is why the government is committed to growing Australia’s ability to operate, sustain and upgrade our defence capabilities with the maximum degree of national sovereignty through the 2018 Defence Industrial Capability Plan.

“Key to this is a well-connected, informed and vibrant defence science and technology enterprise.”

Over the next decade, DST will play a vital role in enabling and coordinating the support to Defence from a national science and technology enterprise.

Senator Reynolds said publicly funded research agencies, universities, industry, small to medium enterprises and entrepreneurship were critical elements to this.

“A key challenge for Defence in the coming decade will be investing in the right collaborations to deliver outcomes for Australia,” she said.

“That is why Defence must adopt a more targeted, top-down approach to engagement within the S&T ecosystem, both nationally and internationally.”

A centrepiece of the strategy is a set of ambitious science, technology and research strategic research programs, known as STaR shots.

Borrowed from the popular ‘moon shot’ concept, Chief Defence Scientist Professor Tanya Monro said STaR shots were designed to be challenging, inspirational and aspirational scientific endeavours that the whole nation can get behind.

“We don’t want to limit ourselves to the moon, we seek to go beyond into interstellar travel,” Professor  Monro said.

The eight STaR shots are each focused on capabilities that will be critical on the future battlefield.

They include: disruptive weapon effects; remote undersea surveillance; information warfare; resilient multi-mission space; battle-ready platforms; agile command and control; operating in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear environments; and, quantum-assured positioning, navigation and timing.

Professor Monro said DST would have a key role in enabling and coordinating support to Defence from the national S&T enterprise.

“Our key challenge in the coming decade will be investing in the right collaborations to deliver outcomes for Australia,” she said.

“We will meet this challenge by adopting a more targeted approach to engagement and collaboration within the science and technology ecosystem both nationally and internationally.”

More information on the Defence S&T Strategy 2030 is available at www.dst.defence.gov.au/strategy.