The Australian Defence Force is a relatively small and boutique force yet it seems to be the Federal Government’s instrument of choice for crises ranging from fires, floods, pandemics and plagues. That seems to have worked fine while these challenges have presented consecutively. Yet should they emerge concurrently the system likely will collapse. That prospect is all the more likely thanks to overlapping challenges relating to the environment, great power contestation and governance issues. In essence, looming environmental catastrophe (plagues, pestilence, floods, fires and existential storm and sea level threats), combined with a spectrum of governance challenges (terrorism, transnational criminal syndicates and a break down in law and order), along with looming great power contestation present a conundrum bigger than one government agency. It’s time for building resilience through enhanced resourcing of the nation’s instrumentalities responsible for responding to a crisis. This involves development of an Australian Universal Scheme for National and Community Service (AUSNACS) to better support the state based police, emergency and fire services, para-medical services, national parks, federal police and the three armed services of the ADF. The future looks set for greater challenges than we have experienced in decades. A more resilient posture is required, with the long term interests of the nation, and the region, in mind.