The Australian government's commitment to advancing its national security has seen the birth of the Advanced Strategic Capabilities Accelerator (ASCA), a strategic shift designed to propel the development of advanced technologies for national security purposes.
ASCA, which commenced operations on 1st July, replaces the Defence Innovation Hub and the Next Generation Technologies Fund, entities deemed unfit in Australia's current strategic environment according to the Defence Strategic Review.
In a statement marking the commencement of ASCA's operations, Defence Industry Minister Pat Conroy highlighted the rapidly evolving strategic environment. The rise in global uncertainty, coupled with swift technological advancements, necessitates a transformation in defence innovation.
"ASCA will take a new and ambitious approach to transitioning game-changing ideas into capabilities that give the soldiers, sailors, and aviators of the ADF an asymmetric advantage," Minister Conroy stated. This shift not only underlines Australia's dedication to ensuring national security but also promises a more profound integration of industry and academia in defence applications.
Over the first 18 months, the program will undergo a phased startup, with the initial focus on engagement through the Australian defence science and university networks. Interim Head Professor Emily Hilder will host state-based industry forums, fostering a culture of collaboration that will shape future partnerships and accelerate Defence capabilities.
The commitment to ASCA is significant, with a planned investment of $748 million over the next four years, and $3.4 billion over the next decade. This reflects an additional $591 million above planned spending on defence innovation over the decade.
The speed with which ASCA has been launched, less than three months since the Defence Strategic Review, is impressive and underscores the government's commitment to accelerating innovation. Minister Conroy reinforced this sentiment, stating, "It will unlock and ignite innovation from across the nation, bringing together the best experts from different sectors – driving change from within Defence to move at the pace and scale we need."
ASCA marks a major milestone for Australia's defence industry, emphasizing the country's commitment to innovation, collaboration, and national security. Here at Greenroom, we are eager to be a part of and witness the exciting advancements ASCA is set to bring about.