skip to navigation skip to content skip to footer

Vice Chief of the
Defence Force Group

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

AVM Mel Hupfeld, AO, DSC

Head Force Design AVM Mel Hupfeld

Air Vice-Marshal Mel Hupfeld was born in Sydney in 1962. He joined the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as an RAAF Academy Cadet in January 1980, winning the Flying Prize for his year and graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1983.

Air Vice-Marshal Hupfeld's early career was spent in a variety of flying positions on Mirage and F/A-18 aircraft, primarily with No 3 Squadron (3SQN) and No 2 Operational Conversion Unit (2OCU), before qualifying as a Fighter Combat Instructor in 1989. Following a period of service as B Flight Commander, 3SQN, Air Vice-Marshal Hupfeld was appointed as the Executive Officer of 2OCU in 1995.

In 1997 Air Vice-Marshal Hupfeld was selected to attend the Royal Air Force Advanced Staff Course, graduating with a Master of Arts in Defence Studies from King's College in London, before taking up post as a Deputy Director in the Aerospace Development Branch.

In 2001 Air Vice-Marshal Hupfeld took command of No 75 Squadron (75SQN) and led the Squadron in operations in Middle East on Operations BASTILLE and FALCONER. In 2003 Air Vice-Marshal Hupfeld was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross in recognition of his performance as Commanding Officer 75SQN on Operation FALCONER, and his Squadron was awarded a Meritorious Unit Citation.

On promotion to Group Captain in January 2004 he was appointed Director Aerospace Combat Development in the Australian Defence Headquarters, before accepting appointment as Officer Commanding No 81 Wing in January 2006. Promoted to Air Commodore on November 2007, he became the Director of the Combined Air Operations Centre in the Middle East Area of Operations, before returning to Australia as the Director-General Air / Director General Air Command Operations in March 2008. In December 2009, he took command of Air Combat Group where he oversaw all of the RAAF's fast-jet combat aircraft to deliver Australia's capability to control the air and conduct precision strike.

Air Vice-Marshal Hupfeld was promoted and appointed as the Air Commander Australia on 3 February 2012. In this position he provided specialist air advice on raise, train and sustain issues to the joint environment.

In September 2014 he was appointed Head Capability Systems Division in the Capability Development Group. In 2015 Air-Vice Marshal Hupfeld received an appointment as Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to the Australian Defence Force in senior command and staff appointments. In August 2015 he was appointed to the role of Acting Chief Capability Development Group. On the disbandment of Capability Development Group, Air Vice-Marshal Hupfeld took up the newly created position of Head Force Design in Vice Chief of Defence Force Group on 1 April 2016.

Air Vice-Marshal Hupfeld is married to Louise, and his interests include mountain biking, running, fishing, light aircraft, and sailing.