General Hurley served in the Royal Australian Regiment and early in his career as the exchange officer with the 1st Battalion Irish Guards (British Army). Upon his return to Australia General Hurley served with the 5th/ 7th Battalion.
In 1989 General Hurley served a posting as the Mechanised Infantry Adviser, Australian Army Project Team Malaysia. As a Lieutenant Colonel he assumed command of 1 RAR which he led during Operation SOLACE (Somalia) in 1993.
Following his command appointment General Hurley attended the United States Army War College, returning to a posting as Military Secretary to the Chief of Army.
He was promoted to Brigadier in January 1999 and assumed command of the 1st Brigade in Darwin, overseeing the Brigade's transition to a higher degree of operational readiness and its support to Australian led operations in East Timor.
From 2001 - 2003 General Hurley served as the Director General Land Development, Head Capability Systems and Land Commander Australia.
At the end of 2003 he was promoted to Lieutenant General in the role of Chief of Capability Development Group and in October 2007 was appointed Chief Joint Operations Command.
General Hurley was appointed to the position of the Vice Chief of Defence Force in July 2008. He was promoted to General and assumed his current appointment as the Chief of the Defence on 04 July 2011.
In 2010 General Hurley became a Companion of the Order of Australia for eminent service to the Australian Defence Force. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his service in Somalia during Operation SOLACE.
General Hurley holds the academic qualifications of Bachelor of Arts and Graduate Diploma in Defence Studies.
He is married to Linda and has three children.
The Chief of the Defence Force has primary responsibility for the command of the Australian Defence Force (ADF). This role arises directly from section 9(2) of the Defence Act 1903, whereby the Chief of the Defence Force commands the ADF under direction of the Minister.
The Chief of the Defence Force is also the principal military adviser to the Minister and provides advice on matters that relate to military activity, including military operations.