MilCIS 2024 728x90Defence has appointed three experienced personnel to help lead Defence science into the future.

Professor Emily Hilder has been appointed as the Head of the Advanced Strategic Capabilities Accelerator (ASCA), bringing Defence experience along with 20 years’ experience working with industry and within universities, as well as her standing as a worldwide leader in analytical science, to the exciting job of running ASCA.

Professor Hilder is supported by Mr Simon Firth, a former BAE Systems professional who has taken on the role of Assistant Secretary, ASCA Capability Transition. Mr Firth has more than 15 years of complex international transactional experience, including managing channel partners in South America and the Asia Pacific.

Defence Science and Technology Group will gain a qualified leader with Mr Suneel Randhawa has taken on the role of Chief Information Sciences Division. Mr Randhawa has decades of research expertise in Cyber Security, Cyber Warfare and Artificial Intelligence.

Chief Defence Scientist, Professor Tanya Monro, said it was important to attract, retain and grow the highly skilled and experienced Defence workforce. “The greatest capability in Defence is our people,” Professor Monro said. “Professor Hilder, Mr Randhawa and Mr Firth are strong leaders with impressive backgrounds, and I’m confident they will help push Defence further to deliver an asymmetric advantage to our ADF. Strong leaders are essential in helping Defence enable our research and industry sectors to focus their work on the development of advanced and asymmetric capabilities in key technological areas. Our strategic environment, made more uncertain by rapid technological development, demands a transformation of the defence innovation system to provide vital capabilities for the ADF. In order to do that, we need the best and brightest leaders in Australia.”​

The ASCA External Advisory Board also recently met for the first time with some of Australia’s top scientists and technology and industry advisors lending their expertise to rapidly translate innovative technologies into capabilities.

The inaugural External Advisory Board consists of leading professionals from industry and academia, including:

  • Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Cathy Foley AO PSM;
  • Deputy Vice Chancellor Research and Innovation at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Professor Calum Drummond AO;
  • Chief Executive Officer of the Technology Council of Australia, Ms Kate Pounder;
  • Chief Executive Officer Silentium Defence, Dr James Palmer; and
  • Independent Non-Executive Director, Dr Peter Yates AM.

Professor Monro said the appointment of the External Advisory Board demonstrated Defence’s commitment to the success of the Advanced Strategic Capabilities Accelerator. “Each member is uniquely qualified to independently advise and guide ASCA on issues and opportunities relevant to the sectors in which it operates, and having access to such a wealth of experience and knowledge is incredibly important.”


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  1. they appear to be more appropriate appointments for the positions unlike our new Governor General. God help us all


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