Lieutenant General Angus Campbell will become the top military man in the country at a time when Australia needs a strong and experienced leader.

By Joe McDonough

Posted on April 16, 2018

He’s best known to the public for his appearances as head of the Abbott government’s Operation Sovereign Borders, the successful campaign to stop asylum seeker boats reaching Australia, but come July, Lieutenant General Angus Campbell will be the country’s new Chief of Defence.

He is the former Special Air Services (SAS) soldier, who after 24 years in varied roles within the Australian Defence Force (ADF), moved into intelligence at the Office of National Security, where he became Deputy National Security Adviser.

He returned to the ADF in 2010, and quickly rose to the rank of Major General. He was then appointed Deputy Chief of Army in 2012, oversaw Operation Sovereign Borders from 2013, before finally landing his current position as Chief of Army in 2015.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Lieutenant General Campbell was the right man to lead the military at such a turbulent time.


“The leadership renewal of the Australian Defence Force… will ensure that we have a seamless transition in the uniformed leadership of our defence forces at a critical time in our history, where our forces are engaged in complex and dangerous missions in the Middle East and elsewhere around the world,” Turnbull said.

[It is] a critical time in our history, where our forces are engaged in complex and dangerous missions in the Middle East and elsewhere around the world.


“Coordination with our allies and partners and leadership at the cutting edge of technology is more important than ever.

“I want to congratulate Lieutenant General Campbell… he brings leadership and experience to this vital role.”

Lieutenant General Campbell, who will soon command a military of 59,000 personnel and control an annual budget of $34 billion, said it was a “great privilege and honour to serve”.

“I deeply appreciate the confidence and trust being displayed and given to me by the Prime Minister, the Minister of Defence and the Chief of Defence Force,” he said.

“It is also an extraordinary responsibility to lead and take care of the men and women of the Australian Defence Force.”

It was a race in three to replace Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, with Vice Chief of Defence Ray Griggs and current Chief of Joint Operations David Johnston understood to have also been in contention for the coveted post.

Vice Admiral Griggs’ chances took a dive due to damaging media reports regarding the ugly breakdown of his marriage and subsequent second marriage to fellow naval officer Chloe Wootton.

Having missed out on the promotion, Griggs has decided to leave the military and will be replaced by Johnston.

As a result of the shake-up, Major General Rick Burr will take over from Lieutenant General Campbell as Chief of Army; and Air Vice Marshal Mel Hupfeld will move into Vice Admiral Johnston’s current role of Chief of Joint Operations.

According to the Financial Review, the salary for the Chief of Defence is $800,000, dwarfing the Prime Minister’s $527,852 pay packet.