Smarter, faster community security

By Charlie Hamer
Wednesday, 06 June, 2018

Smarter, faster community security

Cybercriminals never sleep, so governments must work together to achieve swift and effective prevention and response.

Shifting geopolitical alliances, concerns about foreign interference, violent extremism across our region and sophisticated cyber-enhanced tactics of trans-boundary criminal and terrorist operations… all these elements have combined to produce a complex, volatile contemporary threat environment. As these challenges continue to evolve, so too must the approaches to combating them. How can governments plan, prepare and respond to outpace the architects of malicious intent?

Articulating a rapid, coordinated and effective interagency response hinges on bridging the gaps between government, agencies and private enterprise for the sharing of intelligence, policy, tactics and capability. And in this, everyone has a role to play: officials and executives from national and state departments, agencies and commissions; local councils; emergency services; policymakers; research agencies and institutes; specialists from industry; and key infrastructure owners.

The challenge can be broken down into four key areas: border security, cybersecurity, safer communities and national security.

Border security

Rapid globalisation and ongoing migration bring border security issues to the fore for nations around the world. The continued safety and security of our country depends on the efforts of our law enforcement agencies to monitor the movement of people, cargo and modes of transport across land, water and air.

Border security experts, policymakers and industry representatives are working together to combat the illegal movement of weapons, drugs, goods and people, while promoting lawful entry and exit. This cooperation requires a sharing of information on global perspectives on the developing threats, and deployment of the latest technology to enhance border security.

From transnational crime to airport security, from bilateral security alliances to forensic security, it is clear that responses must be coordinated and become smarter, faster and more precise.


With the age of enhanced connectivity has come more potential attack vectors. Government and industry experts are trying to find answers to these cybersecurity challenges, and this requires a deep understanding of the changing relationships between the internet and the physical world, artificial intelligence, cyber threats, the digital economy, networks, standards, interoperability and the role of government.

In Australia, some examples of endeavours underway include:

  • the New South Wales Government’s development of a new cybersecurity strategy
  • the Australian Cyber Security Centre’s exploration of ways in which to protect critical infrastructure
  • Westpac’s development of countermeasures for the Darknet
  • Austrac’s efforts to detect complex financial crimes using confidential computing.

National security

Comprehensive situation awareness enables decision superiority. While disruptive technologies present new, exciting capabilities for protectors of our homeland, they can also produce new vulnerabilities that may be exploited by those who wish to compromise our national security.

It’s for this reason that many industrial, academic and international collaborators are focusing their efforts on the latest developments in national security and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) technologies to extract the benefits of new technologies while mitigating risk factors in the face of increasing complexity.

Australian authorities are working closely with their overseas counterparts, as well as transnational bodies such as Interpol, to share insights on the latest challenges to national security. And at home, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission is in charge of the National Criminal Intelligence System, while the new Department of Home Affairs is responsible (amongst other things) for protecting critical national infrastructure.

Safer communities

As our communities grow larger and more complex, so too do our networks of critical infrastructure essential for the maintenance of everyday life, trade and businesses, sporting, cultural, community and political events. First responders, event organisers, venue and facilities operators, as well as managers of public spaces, need to identify threats and develop effective security and safety measures — such as predictive policing and camera surveillance — to ensure operational continuity of public venues, events and facilities.

Keeping the community safe in an increasing threat environment and an era of hybrid threat disruptions requires innovative approaches to managing, planning and delivering solutions. In this way, safety and security can be enhanced to create safer communities for all.

Charlie Hamer is co-founder of the Public Sector Network.


Security in focus

The Public Sector Network’s 4th annual Australian Security Summit, AuSec2018, will be held on 17 July 2018 at the QT Hotel, Canberra. Bringing together more than 300 individuals, the annual intelligence and security gathering will provide an opportunity for those at the helm of Australia’s security initiatives to connect and share best practice guidance. The full list of speakers is available on the event website (, but here is a short selection of who will be there:

  • Michael Pezzullo — Secretary, Department of Home Affairs
  • Karin von Hippel — Director General, RUSI (UK)
  • Patrick McGuinness — Former Deputy National Security Adviser for Security, Intelligence, and Resilience, UK Government
  • Patrick Stewart — Assistant Chief, United States Border Patrol
  • Alain LeFevre — Deputy Director, Federal Crisis Centre (Belgium)
  • Tim Morris — Executive Director, INTERPOL
  • Cameron Ashe — Deputy National Counter Foreign Interference Co-ordinator, Department of Home Affairs
  • Dr Maria Milosavljevic — Chief Information Security Officer, NSW Government
  • Dr Richard Davis — Chief Technology Officer, National Security, DST GROUP
  • Damien White — Deputy Head of Assessments, Office of National Assessments
  • Johanna Weaver — Director for Cyber Policy Section, DFAT
  • Sharon Huey — Assistant Commissioner, Enforcement Command, Australian Border Force
  • Dr Ken Radke — Acting Technical Director, Australian Cyber Security Centre
  • Steve Gollschewski — Deputy Commissioner, Commonwealth Games, Queensland Police Service
  • Prof Vijay Varadharajan — Global Innovation Chair & Director, Advanced Cyber Security Engineering Research Centre, University of Newcastle

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