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Defence Strategic Policy and Intelligence Group

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First Assistant Secretary, International Policy Division

Scott Dewar

Scott Dewar

As First Assistant Secretary International Policy Division, Scott is responsible for managing Australia's international defence relationships.

International Policy Division provides high level policy advice to government on matters of international concern, manages Australia's military Defence Attaches and Advisers posted overseas as well as a growing overseas civilian corp. Scott's remit includes Australia's Defence Cooperation Program, as well as Australia's defence engagement in multilateral forums.

Prior to joining the Department of Defence, Scott worked in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for 20 years. He was Consul-General Honolulu from August 2011 to September 2014.

He has had postings to the Australian Embassies in the Republic of Korea (1996-1999) and China (2003-2007).During his time at DFAT, Scott has worked on regional security, trade and economic relations with Asia, and nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. In 2007 he was the department's speechwriter.

Between February 2008 and September 2010 he was an adviser on international, defence and national security issues in the Prime Minister's Office.

From November 2010 to May 2011 he was seconded as a Visiting Fellow to the Australian Centre on China in the World at the Australian National University.

Mr Dewar holds a Master of Arts in Foreign Affairs and Trade from Monash University and a Bachelor of Arts with honours from the University of Melbourne. He speaks Japanese, Korean and Mandarin. He is married with three sons.

First Assistant Secretary, Strategic Policy Division

Tom Hamilton

Tom Hamilton

Tom Hamilton was promoted to the position of First Assistant Secretary Strategic Policy Division in March 2016. The Strategic Policy Division develops policy, military strategy and strategic planning and advice for the Australian Government, senior Defence leaders and other government agencies on the strategic implications of defence and national security matters.

Prior to this position, Mr Hamilton held the position of Assistant Secretary Global Interests, located within the International Policy Division in the Department of Defence. The branch was responsible for providing policy advice on Australia's defence interests including relationships and military operations involving: Iraq; Afghanistan; the Middle East; Europe; Africa; Canada; and international organisations including the United Nations, NATO and the EU.

Mr Hamilton joined the Department of Defence in 2001 and has served in a number of roles in Defence focussing on strategy and capability development, including major capability project analysis and budgeting.

From 2004 to 2009 Mr Hamilton served in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in the National Security Division, with responsibility for Defence capability policy and domestic security policy including maritime security operations. He was also a senior adviser in the Social Policy Division in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, responsible for indigenous policy and employment services policy.

From 2009 to 2013 Mr Hamilton was seconded to the Office of the Minister for Defence as a policy adviser and subsequently served as Deputy Chief of Staff to the Minister for Defence.

Mr Hamilton has a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from Adelaide University.

First Assistant Secretary, Defence Industry Policy Division

Dr Sheridan Kearnan

Dr Sheridan Kearnan

Dr Sheridan Kearnan commenced in the role as First Assistant Secretary Defence Industry Policy on 22 January 2018. Dr Kearnan’s responsibilities include the Defence Capability and Innovation Branch, which manages a consolidated innovation program and the associated portfolio of innovation investments; the Defence Export Controls Branch, responsible for managing Australia's export control of military and dual-use goods and technologies; and the Defence Industry Branch, which is accountable and responsible for Defence industry policy.

Prior to this, Dr Kearnan was Deputy Director of Australia's Defence Intelligence Organisation (2017); Minister Counsellor Defence Policy at the Embassy of Australia in Washington D.C. (2014-2016) and Assistant Secretary Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan in the International Policy Division of the Australian Department of Defence (2010-2012). Before her appointment as Assistant Secretary, Dr Kearnan was Adviser to the former Minister of Defence, Senator John Faulkner. Between January 2008 and June 2009, she was Director Afghanistan in International Policy Division.

Dr Kearnan's previous appointments also include Director ASEAN in International Policy Division (2005-2007), Director Strategic Assessments in Strategic Policy Division (2004-2005), and Senior Executive Assistant for Deputy Secretary Strategic Policy (2003). Dr Kearnan has also worked on Papua New Guinea and the Pacific in a number of areas of Defence.

Before entering government service in 1999, Dr Kearnan completed a PhD in International Relations and a Masters of Social Science (Asian Government) at the University of Queensland. Dr Kearnan also attended the 2013 course of the Royal College of Defence Studies in London.

First Assistant Secretary, Contestability Division

Michael Shoebridge

Michael Shoebridge

Michael Shoebridge has been working as First Assistant Secretary Contestability in Defence since early 2016. Prior to this he was Deputy Director Intelligence in the Australian Signal Directorate and also First Assistant Secretary Strategic Policy from May 2011, moving to that role after two years as the First Assistant Secretary Defence, Intelligence and Research Coordination in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Prior to this he was the Deputy Director of the Defence Intelligence Organisation. From February 2005 to July 2007 he was the Counsellor Defence Policy at the Australian Embassy in Washington D.C. He has experience across a range of policy areas within the Australian Government, within the Department of Defence, the Department of Finance and Administration and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. He has worked in two Australian Commonwealth Ministers’ offices, two intelligence agencies, and also on secondment with the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence.

Michael has a Bachelor of Economics and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Sydney and also a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the University of Technology in Sydney. He joined the Department of Defence as a graduate in 1993.

Promoted to the Senior Executive Service in 2002, Michael was the Director-General of Minor War Vessels in the Defence Materiel Organisation, with responsibilities including running the selection of, and then contract negotiation for, the Navy’s new Armidale Class patrol boats. He moved to the Department of Finance and Administration in 2004 to set up the new function of Defence Capability Assessment. Michael has also worked as Chief Executive Assistant to the Secretary of the Department of Defence, Dr. Allan Hawke (2001), and on secondment as Director Civilian Personnel Policy (IIP) in the UK Ministry of Defence, London (2000).

Prior to that, in 1998 and 1999, Michael served as Defence Adviser to the Hon Bruce Scott MP the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence. From 1996 to 1998, Michael worked as Departmental Liaison Officer in the Office of the Hon Ian McLachlan AO MP, Minister for Defence. From 1994 to 1995, Michael worked in the Department of Defence’s International Policy Division where he served as Papua New Guinea Section Executive Officer and Senior Research Officer.