The Future Direction of the Australian Defence Force
General David Hurley, Chief of the Defence Force
Co-presented with the Sydney University Regiment Alumni, as part of the SUR Alumni Lecture Series
For the past decade, four overseas operations have dominated the Australian Defence Force's (ADF) attention and resources. The ADF has successfully sustained deployments to the Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Iraq and Afghanistan while continuing to contribute to border protection tasks, peacekeeping, humanitarian and disaster relief missions. Throughout this time, the ADF has also maintained its capacity to respond to emerging threats.
Today the ADF finds itself in a period of significant change. The operational tempo is beginning to slow and the ADF is preparing to introduce new capabilities on an unprecedented size and scale. Add a new Defence White Paper, tight fiscal constraints and a greater focus on the Indo-Pacific region and you begin to understand the challenges facing the Australian Defence Force over the next five years.
General David Hurley is Chief of the Australian Defence Force. He graduated from the Royal Military College, Duntroon in December 1975 into the Royal Australian Infantry Corps. He served in the Royal Australian Regiment and early in his career as the exchange officer with the 1st Battalion Irish Guards (British Army). Upon his return to Australia General Hurley served with the 5th/7th Battalion.
In 1989 General Hurley served a posting as the Mechanised Infantry Adviser, Australian Army Project Team Malaysia. As a Lieutenant Colonel he assumed command of 1 RAR which he led during Operation SOLACE (Somalia) in 1993. Following his command appointment General Hurley attended the United States Army War College, returning to a posting as Military Secretary to the Chief of Army. He was promoted to Brigadier in January 1999 and assumed command of the 1st Brigade in Darwin, overseeing the Brigade's transition to a higher degree of operational readiness and its support to Australian led operations in East Timor.
From 2001 - 2003 General Hurley served as the Director General Land Development, Head Capability Systems and Land Commander Australia. At the end of 2003 he was promoted to Lieutenant General in the role of Chief of Capability Development Group and in October 2007 was appointed Chief Joint Operations Command.
General Hurley was appointed to the position of the Vice Chief of Defence Force in July 2008. He was promoted to General and assumed his current appointment as the Chief of the Defence on 04 July 2011.
In 2010 General Hurley became a Companion of the Order of Australia for eminent service to the Australian Defence Force. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his service in Somalia during Operation SOLACE.
General Hurley is the Honorary Colonel of the Sydney University Regiment. However, it was as a junior officer that General Hurley first connected with the University when he served as the Regiment’s Adjutant. It is through these links that General Hurley returns to the University to present this lecture.