Australia’s Office of National Intelligence (ONI) was formed on 20 December 2018, following the Australian Government’s adoption of the 2017 Independent Intelligence Review’s (IIR) recommendations.

This represents a milestone in the formation of Australia’s new National Intelligence Community (NIC), with the ONI assuming responsibility for management of the NIC, as well as acting as a single point of accountability to the Prime Minister and National Security Committee of Cabinet.

On its website, the ONI outlines its key aims and responsibilities, and lists which agencies form the NIC.

Who is the National Intelligence Community (NIC)?

The NIC comprises the following parties, whom are responsible for performing the corresponding functions:

  • AUSTRAC (Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre): Financial Intelligence
  • ASIS (Australian Secret Intelligence Service): Foreign Intelligence Collection
  • AFP (Australian Federal Police): Investigation and Coordination
  • ASIO (Australian Security Intelligence Organisation): Collection and Assessment
  • Home Affairs (Department of Home Affairs): Intelligence Capabilities
  • ASD (Australian Signals Directorate): Foreign Intelligence Collection
  • ACIC (Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission): National Criminal Intelligence Agency
  • AGO (Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation): Foreign Intelligence Collection
  • DIO (Defence Intelligence Organisation): Assessment

What is the aim of the ONI?

The ONI states that its role is to “ensure Australia has an agile, integrated intelligence enterprise that will meet the challenges of Australia’s evolving security environment”.

While increasing globalisation and rapid technological advancements present many benefits to Australia, they also create unique national security challenges. The ONI supports the integration of government intelligence functions that comprise the NIC, allowing for greater collaboration and more effective collection, analysis and dissemination of intelligence information in accordance with Australia’s national security priorities.

What does the Office of National Intelligence (ONI) do?

The workforce of the ONI is drawn from the NIC, wider government, private enterprise and academia. Key responsibilities include:

  • Management and evaluation of NIC performance.
  • Strategy development.
  • Collaboration with stakeholders to develop joint capabilities and shared services across the NIC.
  • Research and analysis – a team of analysts produce assessments on topics important to the Australian Government, as well as contributing to intelligence policy.
  • Evaluation and coordination of Australia’s foreign intelligence activities, as well as managing the ONI’s relationships with other intelligence organisations..