The primary objectives of the ANAO preliminary study were to gain an understanding of the concepts and associated processes used in the management of preparedness. This included the methodology for translating the Government's strategic guidance into military capability; the processes by which the Services translate preparedness directives into operational requirements; and how Headquarters ADF (HQADF) and the three Service Offices assure themselves that units can satisfy the requirements of preparedness directives.

Within the scope of this preliminary study the ANAO did not attempt to form a conclusion regarding the current ability of the ADF to satisfy the roles set by Government in strategic guidance; that is, its actual state of preparedness. It was important first to obtain a good understanding of the concepts and associated methodology used by Defence in managing preparedness.