The Department of Defence is constituted under the Defence Act 1903, its mission is to defend Australia and its national interests. In fulfilling this mission, Defence serves the Government of the day and is accountable to the Commonwealth Parliament which represents the Australian people to efficiently and effectively carry out the Government's defence policy. Defence's primary focus is to protect and advance Australia's strategic interests by providing military forces and supporting those forces in the defence of Australia and its strategic interests. To achieve this, Defence prepares for and conducts military operations and other tasks as directed by the Government. In May 2012, the former Prime Minister and the Minister for Defence announced that the Government has commissioned a new Defence White Paper to be delivered in the first half of 2013. This new White Paper will take account of Australia's emerging strategic and fiscal environment. The White Paper will also adjust as appropriate the reform programs underway. The department has commenced early scoping work on this new White Paper.
Appropriations 40168044000
Departmental expenses 33036422000
Average staffing level 17970
Department of Defence
Canberra ACT 2600


Further information

  • Type of Body

    A. Non Corporate Commonwealth Entity

  • GFS Sector Classification


  • Established By / Under

    Constitution and Administrative Arrangement Orders

  • Annual Report Prepared and tabled?


  • Classification

    A. Principal

  • Materiality


  • GFS Function / Sector Reported

    Defence;Education;General Public Services;Transport and Communication;Other Purposes

  • PS Act Body

    Yes - Department

  • Auditor


  • Creation Date

    1 July 1903

  • Postal Address

    Department of Defence, Canberra ACT 2600

Current single executive appointments

Position Appointee Start Date End Date
Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Leo Davies AO, CSC 3 July 2015 3 July 2019
Vice Chief of the Defence Force VADM Ray Griggs AO, CSC, RAN 1 July 2014 30 June 2018
Chief of Army LTGEN Angus Campbell DSC, AM 16 May 2015 3 July 2019
Chief of Navy VADM Tim Barrett AO, CSC, RAN 1 July 2014 30 June 2018
Last updated: