Lieutenant General Michelle McGuinness appointed national cyber security coordinator

The federal government has tapped a 30-year Australian military veteran to be the next national cyber security coordinator.

Lieutenant General Michelle McGuinness will begin in the role tomorrow, formally replacing Air Marshall Darren Goldie, who the Defence Department recalled last year following allegations about a workplace matter.

Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil confirmed the appointment, which she said would see Lieutenant General McGuinness lead policy and cultural reform across government.

Lieutenant General McGuinness has served the Defence Force for 30 years in tactical, operational and strategic roles.

Since 2021, she has served as a deputy director with the United States Defense Intelligence Agency.

“Previously, while serving in the Defence Intelligence Organisation, she led interagency intelligence efforts supporting whole-of-government counter-proliferation initiatives, as well as Australia’s Strategic Health Intelligence capability during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ms O’Neil said in a statement.

“With the National Office of Cyber Security, the coordinator drives forward the necessary work to ensure Australia is best positioned to respond to the opportunities and challenges of the digital age.

“The coordinator leads national cyber security policy, the coordination of responses to major cyber incidents, whole of government cyber incident preparedness efforts and strengthening of Commonwealth cyber security capability.”

The government has previously described this role as “a really important piece of the jigsaw puzzle” as Australia seeks to counter cyber attacks on government and business.

Air Marshall Goldie was the inaugural coordinator, starting in the role in July last year.

Prior to being recalled, he was a high-profile figure who took the lead on large national cyber security responses, including Optus’s nationwide shutdown and the DP world cyber attack that closed ports across the country.

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