Home Affairs secretary Michael Pezzullo has warned of seven "gathering storms" posing a threat to Australia's national security.
Mr Pezzullo has raised concerns about the increased possibility of a great power war in Asia, the deployment of chemical weapons and the "more plausible" scenario of crippling cyber attacks.
In a speech to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, he also discussed the threats posed by espionage and disinformation, the dangers posed by "ungoverned" territories, Islamic terrorism and organised crime.
Mr Pezzullo said radical Islamic terrorist groups would continue to mutate and evolve, posing risks at home and abroad.
"While the defeat of ISIS is to be welcomed, its ideology will fall on fertile ground elsewhere," he said in Canberra on Wednesday night.
"Worryingly, al-Qaeda would strike again if it could. Of course, home-grown terror cells and lone wolves and returning foreign terrorist fighters continue to be a very high priority concern."
The Home Affairs boss is also worried about terrorists and insurgents living in ungoverned and dangerous territories across the globe.
He warned of the possible economy-wide consequences caused by a massive cyber attack on the nation's financial, energy, water or transport systems.
"Much more needs to be done in this area," Mr Pezzullo said.
He believes the prospect of a war between great powers has reached a level of probability not seen since the mid-1980s.
Mr Pezzullo predicts a conflict may erupt not by design but through "strategic miscalculation" or "operational misadventure".
"No rational actor ever seeks a catastrophic war, and yet history tells us that such wars occur."