The Australian Signals Directorate has become a statutory authority affirming its capabilities as the nation's leading cyber crime and espionage agency.
The ASD was given power to prevent and disrupt crime, including drug trafficking and child exploitation, being committed outside Australia by electronic means from July 1.
The directorate will now be lead by its first Director General, Mike Burgess, who will report directly to the Minister for Defence Marise Payne.
The agency will retain its primary functions of countering cyber-espionage and defending against cyber threats from foreign states and criminals Ms Payne said on Sunday.
"At the same time, ASD's focus will now expand to lead cyber security support and services to industry, government and the community," she said.
The Australian Cyber Security Centre will now operate under the ASD authority in a bid to carry out this goal.
Mr Burgess said the change in structure would allow the ASD to attract, train and retain talented staff which were being poached by the private sector.
"This will allow ASD to efficiently deliver unique intelligence, leading cyber security advice and assistance, and effects at scale; in support of military operations, countering terrorism and offshore serious cyber-enabled crime," he said in his introductory statement on the ASD's website.
The change was a key recommendation from the 2017 Independent Intelligence Review.
Australian Associated Press