Jacinta Hudson with Commander Joint Task Force 633, Major General Stuart Smith in Tarin Kot, Afghanistan
Jacinta Hudson joined the International Policy Division in 2006 after completing the Defence Graduate Development Program. During her time in the division, Jacinta has worked across each of the four geographic branches, performing a variety of roles that have led to unique opportunities both in Australia and overseas.
From 2007 to 2010, Jacinta worked to build Australia’s defence relationships with countries in Australia’s immediate neighbourhood, including Papua New Guinea and the Pacific islands, as well as regional partners such as Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. In these roles Jacinta identified priorities for defence engagement in line with strategic objectives and worked with defence stakeholders to implement activities under the Defence Cooperation Program.
Jacinta said the highlight of her time working on the program was a month-long secondment to the Australian Embassy in Bangkok where she provided specialist policy support and expertise to support Australia’s participation in regional forums, including the ASEAN Senior Officials’ Meeting.
‘Living and working in Bangkok was a fantastic opportunity to experience a different culture while working in a professional capacity, and to gain an appreciation for the work of our Defence representational staff’, Jacinta said.
In 2010, Jacinta shifted her focus to providing policy support to Australian Defence Force operations overseas. In August 2011, she deployed to the Middle East for nine months as policy adviser to Commander Joint Task Force 633. As a policy adviser, Jacinta provided advice across a range of issues affecting Australia’s military operations in Afghanistan and the Middle East.
‘My deployment to the Middle East was both challenging and immensely rewarding’, she said.
‘Working in an operational military headquarters allowed me to see how strategic-level policy decisions were implemented on the ground and the effects decisions made in Canberra had on ADF operations and individual personnel.
‘I was consistently impressed by the dedication and professionalism of the people I worked with’, Jacinta said.
The skills Jacinta has developed during her time with the International Policy Division have prepared her well for her future role as First Secretary Defence in New Delhi, which will commence in January 2015. Jacinta said she is looking forward to the next chapter of her career, which will involve liaising with officials in the Indian Ministry of Defence and the wider Indian security sector to strengthen Australia’s defence relationship with India.