Technical & Engineering
ASIO’s main role is to gather information and produce intelligence that will enable us to warn the government about activities or situations that might endanger Australia’s national security. Our engineers and technical staff play a critical role in supporting this mission.
A brochure detailing the Technical Professional role is available here.
Lawful Interception of Communications
For more details on ASIO’s role, please refer to the ASIO Act. Division 2 of the ASIO Act 1979 sets out ASIO’s Special Powers related to the lawful interception of communications and authorised data collection, including what tests the organisation must meet in order to exercise these Special Powers.
What Do Technical Professionals Do?
Technical Professionals within ASIO facilitate the lawful collection of intelligence by technical means which is then processed within ASIO to deliver security intelligence advice to government. As well as collecting intelligence, Technical Professionals are often integral to the processing of data and its integration with other parts of the broader ‘intelligence picture’. Technical intelligence is only part of the puzzle, but it is an important and growing part of the picture in a modern global security environment.
Where the collection of intelligence by technical means involves the use of Special Powers listed in relevant legislation, it is undertaken under the authority of a warrant signed by our Minister, the Attorney General.
What’s the Work Like?
So how does this translate into the day-to-day work carried out by a Technical Professional in ASIO? There are a wide range of specific job roles, some of which relate directly to the conduct of technical operations and some of which relate to supporting those operations in a wide range of ways. While it is not possible for security reasons to detail the specific subjects of ASIO investigations or some of the sensitive information around ASIO’s methods of conducting technical operations, it is possible to give a flavour of the sort of roles that are available and how they operate within ASIO. Please read the details below to find out more.
Skills and Backgrounds Sought
Technical Professionals in ASIO have a wide range of qualifications and skill sets across many disciplines. If you have skills and qualifications in the areas listed below, you potentially have what’s required to work as a Technical Professional in ASIO.
- Machining and Fabrication
- Data Analysis and Statistics
- Computer Forensics
- Programming and Networking
- Project and Program Management
- Trades (automotive, electrical, carpentry and lock-smithing)
While formal academic and practical qualifications are critical for some specialist roles such as computer forensics and data analysis, many of the skills required of ASIO Technical Professionals require extensive in-house training, built around the types of tasks undertaken by the job family in ASIO. The training provides the context for Technical Professionals to exercise their professional skills and experience in ASIO. Our technical work is usually team based – it involves close coordination with other parts of ASIO and rigorous planning and preparation. It is usually carried out against tight timeframes and it often involves close engagement with other government agencies and with industry. In addition to possessing the requisite skills and qualifications, Technical Professionals need to meet the other requirements for employment with ASIO, including gaining a security clearance to be able to access national security classified information.
Legislation and Policy
Technical Professionals must be able to work within ASIO’s legislative and policy framework where safety and accountability are critical priorities.
Operating as an ASIO Technical Professional requires skills such as the ability to:
- Work in small teams, under pressure or in a stressful environments;
- De-conflict competing priorities;
- Communicate clearly both orally and in writing;
- Prioritise in order to manage a wide variety of risks.
Technical Professionals in ASIO must work in an environment where there are often time constraints and pressures to achieve results. They require the ability to make sound judgements, to identify and manage priorities and communicate the risks in meeting those priorities. Often this involves working closely with non-technical staff who may not have the same appreciation of technical issues – so working collaboratively and communicating clearly is a key job requirement. Critically, the operating environment for Technical Professionals in ASIO is not constant – every scenario is different and throws up challenges, not all of which can be anticipated in advance. Technical Professionals need to be resilient and able to work in a wide range of situations and conditions.
Involvement in the Lifecycle of a Technical Operation
As a Technical Professional in ASIO you will typically be involved in a number of different aspects of the lifecycle of a technical operation. This cycle begins with a detailed planning phase, where the intelligence requirements are discussed with a client area within ASIO and an agreed approach is mapped out to meet the requirements. Technical Professionals provide critical input to the planning phase of an operation, where they seek to identify any risks to the successful conduct of the operation and mitigate the risks to the satisfaction of the senior ASIO manager who must authorise these activities.
In subsequent phases, Technical Professionals have the responsibility to undertake the technical collection operation from the design and development of the equipment to be used, through to the safe and secure deployment of the equipment and the delivery of intelligence derived from the operation, to other parts of ASIO for additional processing. While each operation is different, Technical Professionals will generally be involved in aspects of the design, manufacture and testing of equipment that is used during technical operations. There is great scope for Technical Professionals to exercise their specialist technical and engineering skill sets in a wide variety of scenarios; there is also great scope to work in teams to produce a result that is dependent on input from a number of specialist skill sets. This work is professionally rewarding as well as challenging – ASIO’s operational environment is unique and the challenges it presents will not be found elsewhere in the Australian context.
Do You Have the Required Skills?
As well as the technical skills and qualifications, it is important to remember you must meet other criteria to be employed by ASIO, which includes successfully gaining a security clearance as part of the selection process. Please make sure you understand what these requirements are and if necessary, seek clarification from the recruitment team about your eligibility for employment with ASIO.
To determine if you have the required skills and attributes for Technical Professional roles, you need to carefully review the details of any advertised roles, including the selection criteria. It’s also important that you select the level of position which is appropriate for you – based on your education and experience in the workforce. If you would like to speak directly with Technical Professional, to help you decide whether it presents a career path you want to pursue, this can be arranged by the ASIO recruitment team.
When Will Roles Be Available?
In August 2013, ASIO will be advertising a number of Technical Professional vacancies. These roles will range from Information Technology Officer (ITO) Grade 1 and 2 up to Senior Information Technology Officer (SITOC) level. ITO1 roles are suitable for graduates (and those about to graduate), ideally with some relevant experience. Roles at the SITOC level require a number of years of relevant technical/ICT and managerial experience.
The salary ranges for the Technical Professional roles which are to be advertised in August 2013 are detailed below:
|Information Technology Officer Grade 1||(ITO1)||$64,429 - $74,848|
|Information Technology Officer Grade 2||(ITO2)||$83,137 - $94,830|
|ASIO Officer Grade 5||(AO5)||$83,137 - $94,830|
|Senior Information Technology Officer Grade C||(SITOC)||$108,879 - $117,527|
|Senior Information Technology Officer Grade B||(SITOB)||$123,478 - $136,110|
*Salaries as of 1 July 2013. Please note these salary ranges are exclusive of superannuation.
To be eligible for roles with ASIO you must be:
- An Australian Citizen
- Willing to relocate to Canberra
- Willing to undergo a security clearance process
Please note – if you are currently a Permanent Resident, we are not able to consider your application as you must be an Australian Citizen at the time of application.
How Do I Apply?
To be considered for a role with ASIO, you need to apply online for a specific advertised vacancy. Vacancies are detailed on www.asio.gov.au/Careers/Overview.html
Please note we cannot accept unsolicited resumes.
If you have any questions about Technical Professional roles within ASIO, please contact our Recruitment team on 02 6257 4916.