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Vice Chief of the
Defence Force

Force Design Division

Force Design Division

Force Design Division's role is to test the force in being, provide preparedness assurance, design and guide the development of a balanced and affordable future force, in order to provide the Government of Australia a capable, agile and potent Joint Force.

Force Design Division (FDD) achieves this by providing an enduring force design cycle that ensures a joint force by design. FDD manages: Joint concepts; preparedness; lessons; and doctrine to enable the joint force in achieving Defence objectives. FDD develops and tests force options in order to deliver a balanced and affordable Future Force that protects Australia and its national interests.


Head Force Design

Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer, AO, CSC and Bar, RAN

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RADM Stuart Mayer

Rear Admiral Mayer joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1984 and commenced training as a Seaman Officer, specialising as a Principal Warfare Officer (Direction) in 1994. His initial service included deployments within and beyond the region including service aboard HMAS Sydney as the Air Intercept Control Officer and Boarding Officer during that ship's operational deployment to the Arabian Gulf during the 1990-91 Gulf war. He also saw service as the Combined Task Unit Operations Officer in HMAS Adelaide during OPERATION STABILISE, ADF operations in support of East Timorese independence.

On promotion to Commander in January 2000, he posted to the United States as the first ADF Liaison officer to US Joint Forces Command based in Norfolk, Virginia. On return from the US in mid-2002 he assumed command of the Guided Missile Frigate HMAS Canberra continuing an association with that ship that has included service in every rank from trainee to Commanding Officer.

Upon leaving Canberra in July 2004, he was promoted to Captain and assumed the position of Chief Staff Officer (Operations) at Maritime Headquarters (MHQ) Australia. While posted to MHQ, he was seconded to the Australian Maritime Deployable HQ staff for duties as Commander Task Group 58.1 - Northern Arabian Gulf Maritime Security Operations Commander. After six months in the Gulf, he returned to MHQ in October 2005.

In January 2007 he attended the Australian Defence College and read for a Master of Arts in Strategic Studies. He assumed command of HMAS ANZAC in December 2007 completing deployments to exercise RIMPAC and to Southeast Asia as the Commander of the RAN Task Group. On leaving Anzac in mid-2009 he was promoted to Commodore and appointed Commander of the multi-national International Stabilisation Force (ISF) in East Timor on 24 October 2009, the first non Army officer to hold this command.

On returning to Sydney in April 2010, he assumed duties as Commodore Flotillas, subsequently Commodore Warfare, at Fleet Headquarters. Highlights in this period included the opportunity to act as the Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) Commander in RIMPAC 2010, and the first non US Commander of the Combined Force Maritime Component (CFMCC) in RIMPAC 2012. This was followed by an appointment to Navy Strategic Command as Director General Navy Capability Plans and Engagement and then as Chief of Staff before being promoted to Rear Admiral and assuming command of the Australian Fleet in June 2014.

In January 2017, during his period as commander of the Australian Fleet, he was recognised for his distinguished service to the Royal Australian Navy, principally in key command roles, and became an Officer of the Order of Australia. In April 2018, he moved to Canberra to take up his current role as Head of Force Design Division in the Vice Chief of the Defence Force Executive.

Rear Admiral Mayer is a graduate of the Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies, RAN Staff College, holds a BA from the University of New South Wales, an MBA from the University of Southern Queensland, an MA from Deakin University, and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD). Rear Admiral Mayer is married to Susanne and together they have four children, three boys and a girl ranging in ages 11 up to 23. A retired rugby player with an avid interest in supporting the game, Rear Admiral Mayer's pastimes include sailing, bushwalking and kayaking.