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Australian Signals Directorate

Australian Signals Directorate
Slogan: Reveal their secrets ... Protect our own
Agency overview
Formed 12 November 1947 (1947-11-12)
Jurisdiction Commonwealth of Australia
Headquarters Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Minister responsible Senator the Hon. David Johnston, Minister for Defence
Parent agency Department of Defence

Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) (formerly: Defence Signals Directorate (DSD)) is an Australian government intelligence agency responsible for signals intelligence (SIGINT) and information security (INFOSEC). ASD was established in 1947.


  • Overview 1
  • Facilities 2
  • Naming 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


According to its website,[1] ASD has two principal functions:

  • to collect and disseminate foreign signals intelligence;
  • to provide information security products and services to the Australian Government and its Defence Force.

Based in Canberra, at the Defence Headquarters at Russell Offices[2] it operates monitoring facilities at Kojarena, Western Australia and at Shoal Bay, Northern Territory, which are believed to be part of the ECHELON system. It may also play a role in Pine Gap.

Under the 1948 UKUSA agreement, ASD's intelligence is shared with its foreign partner agencies:

Electronic warfare operators in the Royal Australian Corps of Signals work closely with the Australian Signals Directorate. 7 Signal Regiment (Electronic Warfare) at Borneo Barracks, Cabarlah, Queensland is associated with ASD.


The ASD operates at least three receiving stations:

These stations contribute signals intelligence for many Australian Government bodies, as well as the wider UKUSA partners. The ASD is also presumed to maintain a workforce at Pine Gap in central Australia.

In addition, it has been reported that many Australian embassies and overseas missions also house small facilities which provide a flow of signals intelligence to ASD.[4]


The Directorate has operated under a number of different names since its founding:

  • 1947 – Defence Signals Bureau established within the Department of Defence
  • 1949 – Changes name to Defence Signals Branch
  • 1964 – Changes name to Defence Signals Division
  • 1978 – Changes name to Defence Signals Directorate
  • 2013 – Changes name to Australian Signals Directorate[5]

See also

Other Countries


  1. ^ About DSD: DSD Defence Signals Directorate,, 2011.
  2. ^ History: DSD Defence Signals Directorate,, 2011
  3. ^ a b Dorling, Philip (1 November 2013). "Listening post revealed on Cocos Islands". Canberra Times. 
  4. ^ Dorling, Philip (31 October 2013). "Exposed: Australia's Asia spy network". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2 November 2013. 
  5. ^ "2013 Defence White Paper: Renaming the Defence Signals Directorate and the Defence Imagery and Geospatial Organisation" (Press release).  

External links

  • Australian Signals Directorate official website
  • Open Australia Search: Parliamentary records mentioning 'signals directorate'.
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