Minister for Defence
The Hon Christopher Pyne MP
The Minister for Defence is responsible for the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD).
The Director-General leads ASD and is responsible to the Minister for Defence.
In December 2017, the Prime Minister announced Mr Mike Burgess as the Director-General Designate of ASD. Mr Burgess commenced his appointment on 4 January 2018. Mr Burgess became the first Director-General of ASD on 1 July 2018.
Prior to his appointment to ASD, Mr Burgess was an independent consultant specialising in strategic cyber security advice. In 2017, Mr Burgess was also a member of the Federal Government’s naval shipbuilding advisory board, a member of the board of the Australian Cyber Security Growth Network and a non-executive director of SC8 Limited.
Mr Burgess was a member of the Prime Minister’s expert panel for Australia’s 2016 Cyber Security Strategy. Previously Mr Burgess was the Deputy Director for Cyber and Information Security at the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) from 2008 to 2013.
Mr Burgess has a degree in electronics engineering from the South Australian Institute of Technology. He worked in private industry before joining the Defence Science and Technology Organisation in 1991 working in the field of imaging radar. Mr Burgess joined DSD as a collection engineer in 1995. During his career at DSD Mr Burgess held a variety of roles spanning the intelligence, security, capability development and executive aspects of DSD’s business. He left DSD in early 2013 to become Telstra’s Chief Information Security Officer. He held this role until November 2016.
Speeches and statements
- Mar 2019: Director-General ASD speech to the Lowy Institute, Offensive cyber and the people who do it
- Dec 2018: Director-General ASD statement regarding the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Act 2018
- Oct 2018: Director-General ASD speech to ASPI National Security Dinner, Coming out from the shadows
Video of speech (courtesy ASPI)
- Jul 2018: Director-General ASD speech to SINET61, A poacher and gamekeepers’ perspective
- Jul 2018: Director-General ASD speech to ASPI Artificial Intelligence Master Class
- Apr 2018: Director ASD speech to ACSC Conference 2018
Principal Deputy Director-General
Lieutenant General John Frewen DSC AM
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.
ASD organisation chart