Australia Appoints Country’s First Female Intelligence Chief

By AAP
December 13, 2019 Updated: December 13, 2019
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For the first time in Australia, a woman has been appointed to head an intelligence agency.

Rachel Noble, who is currently responsible for the federal government’s cybersecurity strategies, will lead the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) from February 2020.

“Her appointment to this leadership role is a significant step forward for women in the national security sector and we congratulate her,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said in a statement.

Noble replaces Mike Burgess, who left the directorate to lead ASIO earlier this year.

The ASD is often referred to as Australia’s electronic spy or “listening” agency because it intercepts electronic communications from foreign countries.

It supports the Australian Defence Force through intelligence, cybersecurity, and offensive operations.

Noble is a longstanding public servant with a background in national security and defense.

Her ascent to the top of the ASD comes just six months after she was promoted to lead the Australian Cyber Security Centre.

Prior to that, she was a deputy secretary at the Department of Home Affairs.

“Ms Noble’s deep experience in intelligence strongly positions her to lead ASD in executing its important national security mission,” Morrison said.

John Frewen, a career military officer, has been acting as head of the ASD for several months while the government searched for a permanent appointment.

By Daniel McCulloch