Barton Deakin Brief: Australian Defence Force Expansion

Date: Mar 2022

Barton Deakin Brief: Australian Defence Force Expansion


Today Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Defence Minister Peter Dutton announced a major future expansion of the Australian Defence Force (ADF), estimated to cost $38 billion over the period to 2040. This will represent a 30 per cent increase in Defence Force personnel, taking the total permanent ADF to almost 80,000 personnel.


  • The Australian Government will invest an estimated $38 billion in the expansion of ADF personnel and capabilities, increasing the ADF’s workforce by an additional 18 500 personnel over the baseline growth agreed to in the 2020 Force Structure Plan.
  • The Prime Minister cited an increasingly uncertain global environment as the rationale for the increase, saying that the Defence Force requires more personnel to operate the new capabilities being acquired.
  • ADF personnel will be increased in all states and territories, cities and regional areas, with a majority of the growth expected to occur in QLD, NSW, SA and WA.
  • The increase in personnel will focus on capabilities associated with our trilateral security partnership between Australia, United Kingdom and United States (AUKUS), as well as air, sea, land, space and cyber.
    • You can read a Barton Deakin Brief about AUKUS here.
  • Defence spending has now reached more than two per cent of Australian GDP in response to rising uncertainty and tensions in the Indo-pacific region.
  • The additional ADF personnel will be supporting future submarines, the Arafura class patrol vessels, the Hunter class frigate fleet, maritime targeting, long-range fires, information warfare, airbase capabilities, missile defence, and in particular cyber warfare.
  • Domains such as space, information and cyber warfare are a focus of the planned expansion of the ADF.
  • Through initiatives such as the Defence Industry Skilling and STEM Strategy, Defence continues to help industry equip itself with the skilled workforce it requires to support the Australian Defence Force.
    • You can access the Defence Industry Skilling and STEM Strategy here.
  • Defence Minister Peter Dutton has directed the ADF to focus on retention of personnel and their skills.

Additional Information

  • You can access the Prime Minister’s Media Release here.
  • Access the 2020 Force structure plan here.


For more information, contact  David Alexander on +61 457 400 524, Grahame Morris on +61 411 222 680, Julia Kokic on +61 405 955 887 or Matthew Harte on +61 431 326 411.