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REDSPICE: The curiously named Budget weapon you might have missed

Red spices and question marks
Nope, REDSPICE, announced in the 2022 Budget, is not about spicey cooking. (Souce: Getty)

No, this has nothing to do with chilli-laden cooking, nor the sci-fi epic Dune. REDSPICE is the name of a multi-billion-dollar commitment by the Federal Government to boost Australia’s spy agency to help keep us safe from cybersecurity attacks.

REDSPICE stands for ‘Resilience, Effects, Defence, Space, Intelligence, Cyber and Enablers’ - you can see why they shortened it - and amounts to a 10-year, $9.9 billion investment in the 2022 Budget.

The money will flow to the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) - one of our government agencies tasked with warding off cybersecurity threats - and will go towards 1,900 new jobs for computing geniuses and cybersecurity wonks.

The funds will also go towards new technology that can detect potential cyber threats and reverse engineer malicious software.

Source: <a href="https://www.asd.gov.au/sites/default/files/2022-03/ASD-REDSPICE-Blueprint.pdf" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:ASD REDSPICE blueprint" class="link ">ASD REDSPICE blueprint</a>.

Cyber attacks are the troubling face of modern warfare, and have been commonly used by Russia to attack Ukraine.

With the help of thousands of volunteers from around the world, Ukraine has also been able to disrupt the activities of Russian government and military targets using cyber attacks.

PM Scott Morrison hopes REDSPICE will keep Australia safe from cyber threats in the region, with last week’s security deal between the Solomon Islands and China ratcheting up concern.

“This investment in ASD recognises the deteriorating strategic circumstances in our region, characterised by rapid military expansion, growing coercive behaviour and increased cyber attacks,” Morrison said in a statement.

“It acknowledges the nature of conflict has changed, with cyber attacks now commonly preceding other forms of military intervention – most recently demonstrated by offensive cyber activity against Ukraine.”

Shadow Defence Minister Brendan O’Connor pointed to the Government’s poor track record on large-scale defence initiatives after the bungling of its submarine acquisitions.

“Given the rapidly escalating cyber threats facing the nation, Australians can’t afford for REDSPICE to become the latest major defence capability project that never makes it from announcement to delivery,” O’Connor said.

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