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Minister for Defence Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC

The Minister for Defence is responsible for the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD).

Acting Director-General ASD Lieutenant General John Frewen DSC AM

The Director-General leads ASD and is responsible to the Minister for Defence.

In September 2019 Lieutenant General John Frewen became acting Director-General until a permanent appointment was made, following the departure of inaugural Director-General Mike Burgess. Rachel Noble was named as the Director-General designate in December 2019 and will commence in 2020.

Director-General ASD Speeches and Statements

Principal Deputy Director-General Lieutenant General John Frewen DSC AM

John Frewen PDDG Lieutenant General

John Frewen is a career infantry officer whose father and grandfather also served in the Australian Army. He completed his secondary education at Xavier College in Melbourne and graduated from the Royal Military College, Duntroon, in 1986.

His first appointment was as an Infantry Platoon Commander in the First Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment (1 RAR). He subsequently went on to command the Second Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment (2 RAR) and later the Army’s 1st Brigade in Darwin. 

Lieutenant General Frewen has held a range of senior staff appointments, most notably Military Assistant to the Chief of Army, Chief of Staff Headquarters Forces Command, and Head Military Strategic Commitments in Australian Defence Headquarters.

His operational service includes Rwanda with the United Nations in 1994–95; leadership of the initial regional military intervention force in support of the re-establishment of law and order in the Solomon Islands in 2003 (comprising military personnel from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Tonga); time in Afghanistan as both the Australian National Commander in Kabul and, later, in Kandahar coordinating NATO efforts to rebuild the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police across Regional Command South. Most recently he was the national commander of all Australian Defence personnel in the Middle East, including Iraq and Afghanistan, throughout 2017.

Lieutenant General Frewen is a graduate of the University of New South Wales, the Australian Army Command and Staff College, and the US Army War College. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and Masters degrees in both Defence and Strategic Studies. He was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his leadership in the Solomon Islands. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his command of forces in the Middle East in 2017.

Lieutenant General Frewen assumed duty as the Principal Deputy Director of the Australian Signals Directorate on 1 March 2018. From 28 May to 1 July 2019, he additionally served as Head of the Australian Cyber Security Centre until the incumbent, Rachel Noble, assumed the role.

ASD organisation chart

ASD org chart showing three deputies reporting to the acting Director-General, LTGEN John Frewen

Minister of Defence Senator the Hon. Linda Reynolds CSC
points to:
Acting Director-General LTGEN John Frewen DSC AM
points to:
Head Australian Cyber Security Centre Ms Rachel Noble
Acting Deputy Director-General SIGINT and Network Operations Mr Ben Staughton
Deputy Director-General Corporate and Capability Ms Hazel Bennett