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A major — and expanding — function of ONI is the production of assessments, both written and oral, on topics important to the Australian Government. ONI analysts draw on all available sources of information.

Under the ONI Act, ONI is tasked to assemble, correlate and analyse information relating to international matters that are of political, strategic or economic significance to Australia, including domestic aspects relating to such matters; and prepare assessments and reports in relation to such matters in accordance with the Government’s requirements.

ONI analysts typically focus on a particular geographic area or on a specific thematic or cross-cutting issue. Drawing on all sources of information, they closely monitor developments in their area, and need to distil and assess significant amounts of information on their subject. They are responsive to immediate issues and attuned to longer-term trends. They produce written assessments, provide oral briefings and assist in the coordination of intelligence collection requirements.

Following the 2017 Independent Intelligence Review, the ONI analyst cadre will expand by 50 per cent over the next few years resulting in an increase in the range and volume of intelligence assessments. New technologies and deeper collaboration with other NIC agencies, academia and the private sector will also enhance ONI’s assessment capabilities.