In summary

  • Swinburne has created a Defence Advisory Board to provide strategic advice and guidance to the university on its ‘Detect and Protect’ mission. 

  • The board is made up of thought leaders from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Defence Intelligence Organisation 

  • Swinburne’s new Defence Advisory Board will advise on space and aerospace, digital capability, manufacturing futures, and education and training. 

Renowned former leaders of the Australian Defence Force will come together in a new Defence Advisory Board for Swinburne University of Technology.

The Swinburne Defence Advisory Board will contribute to the work of Swinburne’s defence-related research and innovation by offering critical advice, expertise and experience around the university’s ‘Detect and Protect’ mission.

This includes matters relating to defence industry trends, challenges and opportunities, and research. 

Board members Kathryn Toohey AM CSC (Major General Retired), Mel Hupfeld AO DSC (Air Marshal Retired), Michael Noonan AO RAN (Vice Admiral Retired) and Professor Gary Hogan AM CSC (Brigadier General Retired) bring a range of industry expertise from the Australian Army, Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Australian Navy and Defence Intelligence Organisation, respectively. 

Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Chief of Defence Innovation Distinguished Professor Saeid Nahavandi says he is thrilled to be working with a range of industry leaders who will bring valuable knowledge and guidance to how Swinburne approaches critically important areas such as aerospace, digital capability, manufacturing and education and training.

“I am excited to be working with such distinguished and experienced industry trailblazers who will provide a wealth of insights into how we support Australia’s national security through a holistic, dual-layer approach,” Professor Nahavandi says.

“Swinburne is dedicated to future-focused research that combines science, technology and innovation with humanity to deliver real-world social, environmental and economic impact.

“The Swinburne Defence Advisory Board highlights our commitment to undertaking defence-related research and innovation, aligned with our flagship research areas, to improve defence sovereign industrial capability and advance national security for all Australians.” 

The members of the Swinburne Defence Advisory Board are:

Major General (Retired), Kathryn Toohey AM CSC

Kathryn Toohey retired from the Australian Army at the rank of Major General in late 2022. As a Senior Army Officer, Kathryn specialised in defence capability and was appointed as the first Head of Land Capability. She was responsible for the modernisation and sustainment of Army capability including helicopters, tanks, communication systems and uniforms. 

In her last role as Head of Force Integration, she was responsible for providing test and evaluation advice to the Defence Investment Committee. In 2021, her team released the Defence Test and Evaluation Strategy. 

Air Marshal, Royal Australian Air Force (Retired), Mel Hupfeld AO DSC

Mel joined the Royal Australian Air Force as an Academy Cadet in January 1980, graduating as a pilot, with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1983. 

During Mel’s Air Force career, he flew Mirage, Classic Hornet and Super Hornet fighter aircraft in several of the Air Force’s fighter squadrons and achieved over 3,500 flying hours. He completed several staff appointments including in the capability development and force design areas. He completed the Royal Air Force Advanced Command and Staff Course, graduating with a Master of Arts in Defence Studies from King’s College in London in 1998. In 2001, Mel took command of No 75 Squadron (75SQN) and led the Squadron in operations in the Middle East on Operations BASTILLE. 

Vice Admiral, Royal Australian Navy (Retired), Michael Noonan AO RAN

Vice Admiral Mike Noonan retired from the Royal Australian Navy in 2022 after 38 years of dedicated service. 

As Chief of the Royal Australian Navy, Michael was entrusted by government to be the principal naval advisor, and to develop, train and sustain Australia’s naval forces. His command of the Royal Australian Navy spanned a critical period where Australia’s strategic environment underwent rapid and unanticipated deterioration, described as the ‘most consequential strategic realignment since WWII’ – with the Indo-Pacific at the centre. 

Former Head of Army Intelligence Corps and Director General of Scientific and Technical Research, Defence Intelligence Organisation, Professor Gary Hogan AM CSC 

Gary is a former Head of Army Intelligence Corps and Director General of Scientific and Technical Research in the Australian Defence Force. 

He is a graduate of the Chinese National Defence University and taught China Studies at the US National Defense University. He was Australia’s first Defence Attaché to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the first foreigner to graduate from Indonesia’s National College of Governance. He served three years as Defence Head at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta. 

He is currently Professor of Business Analytics at the University of Newcastle and Managing Director of space exploration company Lunaria One. 

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