|Air Chief Marshal
Allan Grant Houston
9 June 1947 |
|Service/branch||Royal Australian Air Force|
|Years of service||1970–2011|
|Rank||Air Chief Marshal|
|Commands held||Chief of the Defence Force
Chief of Air Force
No. 86 Wing
5th Aviation Regiment
No. 9 Squadron
|Awards||Companion of the Order of Australia
Air Force Cross
Meritorious Service Medal – Military (Singapore)
Knight Grand Commander of the Order of Military Service (Malaysia)
Commander of the Legion of Honour (France)
Distinguished Service Order (Military) (Singapore)
Medal of the Order of Timor-Leste (East Timor)
Commander of the Order of Orange-Nassau (Netherlands)
|Other work||Chairman of the Order of Australia Council
Chairman of Airservices Australia
Air Chief Marshal Allan Grant "Angus" Houston, AC AFC (born 9 June 1947) is a retired senior officer of the Royal Australian Air Force and was the Chief of the Defence Force (CDF) from 4 July 2005 until his retirement on 3 July 2011. At the time of his appointment as CDF he was Chief of Air Force (CAF), a position he had held since 20 June 2001.
Houston was born on 9 June 1947 in Ayrshire, Scotland and educated at Strathallan School in Forgandenny, Perthshire. He emigrated to Australia in 1968 to work as a jackaroo on a cattle station in north-west Western Australia. It was there that his workmates dubbed him "Angus", due to his strong Scottish accent.
After graduation from Flying Instructors Course in 1975, Houston completed several instructional tours on Macchi MB-326H, British Aircraft Corporation Strikemaster and Iroquois aircraft. A posting to the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) from 1976–1978 was followed by two years at No. 9 Squadron at RAAF Base Amberley. In late 1979, Houston was posted to Hill Air Force Base, Utah U.S.A. for exchange flying duties with a United States Air Force helicopter unit.
After a further posting to No. 9 Squadron as the Executive Officer, and staff training at RAAF Staff College, Houston was posted to the Department of Air (Development Division) where he was involved in the Black Hawk helicopter Project. In 1987, Houston assumed command of No. 9 Squadron to introduce the Black Hawk helicopter, to relocate the unit from Amberley to Townsville, Queensland, and to transfer the capability to the Australian Army. In 1989 he served one year as a Squadron Commander with the 5th Aviation Regiment. Houston was admitted as a Member of the military division of the Order of Australia (AM) in 1990 for his work in the transfer of responsibility for Blackhawk operations.
Following graduation from Joint Services Staff College, Houston was posted to the Joint Operations staff at Headquarters Australian Defence Force and was involved in strategic planning during the Persian Gulf War of 1990–1991.
On promotion to Group Captain in July 1992, he assumed the post of Director Air Force Policy and negotiated the establishment of the RSAF Flying School at RAAF Base Pearce. After completing a C-130H Hercules conversion in 1993, Houston commanded No. 86 Wing from 1994–1995.
Houston attended the Royal College of Defence Studies in London in 1996. He was Chief of Staff, Headquarters Australian Theatre (HQAST) in 1997–1999, Commander Integrated Air Defence System from 1999–2000 and Head Strategic Command from 17 August 2000.
Chief of Air Force
Houston was appointed as Chief of Air Force (CAF) on 20 June 2001 and, in the 2003 Australia Day Honours, advanced to Officer of the military division of the Order of Australia (AO). As acting Chief of the Defence Force in 2001, Houston played a central role in the Children Overboard Affair. At a Senate inquiry in February 2002, Houston challenged the then government's claim made during the 2001 election campaign, that seafaring asylum seekers had thrown children overboard in a presumed ploy to secure rescue and passage to Australia.
Chief of the Defence Force
On 4 July 2005, Houston was promoted to Air Chief Marshal and appointed Chief of the Defence Force (CDF). In the Australia Day Honours of 26 January 2008, he was advanced to a Companion of the Order of Australia. In March 2008, Houston's appointment was extended to 3 July 2011.
After his retirement from the CDF position, on 6 July 2011 the Australian Government appointed Houston as Chair of the Anzac Centenary Advisory Board, with the remit to "provide strategic advice and recommendations on the planning and implementation of Anzac Centenary events". On 6 December 2011, it was announced that the Australian Government had appointed Houston as the next chairman of Airservices Australia on the grounds of his aviation, governance and leadership experience.
In June 2012, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced that Houston would chair an expert group that would examine asylum seeker policy and prepare a report recommending a solution for the Government's consideration.
Houston and his wife Liz, who is a teacher, have three sons.
Honours and awards
|Companion of the Order of Australia (AC)||(Military division) 2008|
|Officer of the Order of Australia (AO)||(Military division) 2003|
|Member of the Order of Australia (AM)||(Military division) 1990|
|Air Force Cross (AFC)||1980|
|Australian Service Medal 1945-1975|
|Defence Force Service Medal with Federation Star||40–44 years of service|
|Australian Defence Medal|
|Pingat Jasa Gemilang (Tentera) (Singapore)||(Meritorious Service Medal – Military) 1 August 2003|
|Knight Grand Commander of the Order of Military Service (Malaysia)|
|Légion d'honneur (France)||(Commander of the Legion of Honour)|
|Darjah Utama Bakti Cemerlang (Tentera) (Singapore)||(Distinguished Service Order – Military)
24 August 2007
|Medal of the Order of Timor-Leste||2 February 2011|
|Commander of the Order of Orange-Nassau (Netherlands)||(Military division - "with crossed swords")
18 May 2011
- "Air Chief Marshals". Air Marshals of the RAAF. Royal Australian Air Force Air Power Development Centre. Retrieved 27 July 2010.
- Brendan Nicholson (18 April 2005). "Ex-jackaroo passes muster in more than a stock career". The Age.
- It's an Honour – Air Force Cross – 14 June 1980
Citation: 9 Sqn RAAF – Helicopter rescue off Evans Head – For devotion to duty as a pilot of No9 Sqn RAAF
- It's an Honour – Member of the Order of Australia – 26 January 1990
Citation: For service to the RAAF as CO No9 Sqn and subsequently Officer Commanding 5th Aviation Regiment
- It's an Honour – Officer of the Order of Australia – 26 January 2003
Citation: For distinguished service to the Australian Defence Force and the Royal Australian Air Force in senior command appointments.
- Forbes, Mark; Gordon, Michael; Taylor, Kerry (20 February 2002). "Defence chief told Reith: no children overboard". The Age. p. 1. Retrieved 13 February 2010.
- "New defence chief dismisses 'children overboard' shadow". ABC News Onine. 18 April 2005. Retrieved 13 February 2010.
- Commonwealth of Australia Gazette – Companion of the Order of Australia – 28 January 2008
Citation: For eminent service to the Australian Defence Force as Chief of the Defence Force.
- New Defence leadership team announced
- Members of the Anzac Centenary Advisory Board
- ABC News, 'Houston to chair Airservices Australia', 6 December 2011
- ABC Radio Australia, 'Houston to lead asylum policy panel after Senate rejects bill', 29 June 2012 
- Official Biography – Department of Defence
- Mark Dodd (2010) Angus Houston takes leave for prostate surgery, 26 July 2010, The Australian.
- CDF to take leave for medical treatment, Defence Media Release MSPA 319/10, 26 July 2010.
- It's an Honour – Centenary Medal – 1 January 2001
Citation: For outstanding service as Chief of Air Force
- MINDEF Singapore, Australian Chief of Air Force Receives Prestigious Military Medal, 1 August 2003, retrieved 10 July 2007.
- MINDEF Singapore, President Nathan Confers Top Military Award on Chief of the Australian Defence Force, 24 August 2007, retrieved 24 September 2007.
- Order of Timor-Leste, Decree Law 20/2009 of 6 May, www.unmit.org
- Chief of Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston AC, AFC has been awarded the ‘Medal of the Order of Timor-Leste’, Defence image gallery
Press release MECC 37/11, 2 February 2011
- Defence head awarded Dutch honour, 18 May 2011
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Angus Houston.|
- ADF Leaders page entry
- Australian Department of Defence. Biography – Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Allan (Angus) Grant Houston AC, AFC
- ABC News. Airman to succeed Cosgrove as Defence chief
- Copyright photos
- Official photo (copyright)
- ACM Houston in evening dress at a Defence Reserves charity function. (source)
- Chief of Air Force AM Houston, Operation Sumatra Assist, Indonesia, 2005.
- Chief of Air Force, ANZAC Day 2005.
General Peter Cosgrove
|Chief of Defence Force
General David Hurley
Air Marshal Errol McCormack
|Chief of Air Force
Air Marshal Geoff Shepherd