Defence Signals Directorate

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Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) is an Australian government intelligence agency responsible for signals intelligence (SIGINT) and information security (INFOSEC).



According to its website, DSD 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, 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, DSD's intelligence is shared with its foreign partner agencies:

Electronic Warfare operators in the Royal Australian Corps of Signals work closely with the Defence Signals Directorate.


The DSD operates at least two receiving stations: the Australian Defence Satellite Communications Station (ADSCS), located at Kojarena, near Geraldton in Western Australia, and the Shoal Bay Receiving Station, located at Shoal Bay, Northern Territory. These stations contribute signals intelligence for many Australian Government bodies, as well as the wider UKUSA partners. The DSD is also presumed to maintain a workforce at Pine Gap in central Australia.

In addition, it is believed many embassies and overseas missions also provide a return flow of signals intelligence to DSD.


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

See also

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