Chief of Army (Australia)

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Chief of Army (Australia)
Australian Army Emblem.JPG
Incumbent
David Morrison

since 24 June 2011
Style Lieutenant General
Term length Three years (renewable)

The Chief of Army is the most senior appointment in the Australian Army, responsible to both the Chief of the Defence Force (CDF) and the Secretary, Department of Defence (SECDEF). The rank associated with the position is lieutenant general (3-star).

History[edit]

The first Commander of the Australian Army was titled General Officer Commanding, Australian Military Forces, in line with the usual British practice of the time.[1] Experience soon showed that the position concentrated more power than the Ministers for Defence—of whom there were twelve in as many years in 1901–1913—liked.[2] Moreover, the British Army had encountered administrative problems in the Second Boer War which led to the abolition of the position of Commander-in-Chief of the Forces there in 1904, and its replacement by an Army Board.[3]

In 1904, Minister for Defence Anderson Dawson commissioned a report which recommended a similar system for Australia, with a Military Board consisting of four military members, the minister, and a finance member. This was implemented by his successor, James Whiteside McCay. However instead of creating a Chief of the General Staff as per the report, McCay's Military Board consisted of only three military members, the Deputy Adjutant General, the Chief of Ordnance, and the Chief of Intelligence.[4] The post of Chief of the General Staff was finally created by the new Minister of Defence, George Pearce, in 1909, with Colonel William Bridges becoming the first Chief of the General Staff. The military members of the Military Board then became the Chief of the General Staff, Adjutant General, Chief of Ordnance, and Quartermaster General.[5]

During the Second World War, the threat of invasion led to a reversion to the old system. A Commander in Chief, General Sir Thomas Blamey, was appointed, and the Military Board was suspended, with its powers being transferred to the Commander in Chief. The post of Chief of the General Staff remained, but was now subordinate to the Commander in Chief.[6] This was successful from a military point of view but the problem of a concentration of power recurred and, after the war ended, the government decided to re-form the Military Board. Blamey was replaced by Lieutenant General Vernon Sturdee in 1945 and the next year the post of Commander in Chief was again abolished, with Sturdee becoming Chief of the General Staff.[7]

The system continued until the reforms of Arthur Tange in 1973. The three services were unified under the Department of Defence. The Military Board was abolished and the Chief of the General Staff became subordinate to the Chief of the Defence Force Staff and the Secretary of Defence.[8] Reflecting this change from a staff to a command role, the post was renamed Chief of Army in 1997.[9]

Appointees[edit]

The following table lists all those who have held the post of Chief of Army or its preceding positions. Ranks and honours are as at the completion of their tenure.

Rank and prefix Name Postnominal(s) Term began Term ended Time in appointment
General Officer Commanding Australian Military Forces
Major General Sir Hutton, EdwardEdward Hutton KCBKCMG 29 January 1902 10 November 1904 1 year, 285 days
Major General Finn, HarryHarry Finn CBDCM 11 November 1904 12 January 1905 0 years, 62 days
Chief of the General Staff
Colonel Bridges, WilliamWilliam Bridges CMG 1 January 1909 25 May 1909 0 years, 144 days
Major General Sir Hoad, JohnJohn Hoad KCMG 26 May 1909 30 May 1911 2 years, 4 days
Lieutenant Colonel Wilson, Francis AdrianFrancis Adrian Wilson DSO 1 June 1911 10 May 1912 0 years, 344 days
Brigadier General Gordon, Joseph MariaJoseph Maria Gordon CB 11 May 1912 31 July 1914 2 years, 81 days
Colonel Legge, James GordonJames Gordon Legge CMG 1 August 1914 23 May 1915 0 years, 295 days
Colonel Irving, GodfreyGodfrey Irving 24 May 1915 31 December 1915 0 years, 221 days
Colonel Foster, HubertHubert Foster 1 January 1916 30 September 1917 1 year, 272 days
Major General Legge, James GordonJames Gordon Legge CBCMG 1 October 1917 31 May 1920 2 years, 243 days
Lieutenant General Sir White, BrudenellBrudenell White KCMGKCVOCBDSO 1 June 1920 10 June 1923 3 years, 9 days
General Sir Chauvel, HarryHarry Chauvel GCMGKCB 11 June 1923 15 April 1930 6 years, 308 days
Major General Coxen, WalterWalter Coxen CBCMGDSO 16 April 1930 30 September 1931 1 year, 167 days
Major General Sir Bruche, JuliusJulius Bruche KCBCMG 1 October 1931 20 April 1935 3 years, 201 days
Lieutenant General Lavarack, JohnJohn Lavarack CBCMGDSO 21 April 1935 12 October 1939 4 years, 174 days
Lieutenant General Squires, ErnestErnest Squires CBDSOMC 13 October 1939 26 January 1940 0 years, 105 days
Major General Northcott, JohnJohn Northcott CB 27 January 1940 17 March 1940 0 years, 50 days
General Sir White, BrudenellBrudenell White KCBKCMGKCVODSO 18 March 1940 13 August 1940 0 years, 148 days
Lieutenant General Sturdee, VernonVernon Sturdee CBEDSO 14 August 1940 9 September 1942 2 years, 26 days
Lieutenant General Northcott, JohnJohn Northcott CB 10 September 1942 30 November 1945 3 years, 81 days
Lieutenant General Sir Sturdee, VernonVernon Sturdee KBECBDSO 1 December 1945 16 April 1950 4 years, 136 days
Lieutenant General Sir Rowell, SydneySydney Rowell KBECB 17 April 1950 15 December 1954 4 years, 242 days
Lieutenant General Sir Wells, HenryHenry Wells KBECBDSO 16 December 1954 22 March 1958 3 years, 96 days
Lieutenant General Sir Garrett, RagnarRagnar Garrett KBECB 23 March 1958 30 June 1960 2 years, 99 days
Lieutenant General Sir Pollard, RegReg Pollard KBECBDSO 1 July 1960 20 January 1963 2 years, 203 days
Lieutenant General Sir Wilton, JohnJohn Wilton KBECBDSO 21 January 1963 18 May 1966 3 years, 117 days
Lieutenant General Sir Daly, ThomasThomas Daly KBECBDSO 19 May 1966 18 May 1971 4 years, 364 days
Lieutenant General Sir Brogan, MervynMervyn Brogan KBECB 19 May 1971 19 November 1973 2 years, 184 days
Lieutenant General Hassett, FrankFrank Hassett ACCBCBEDSOLVO 20 November 1973 23 November 1975 2 years, 3 days
Lieutenant General MacDonald, ArthurArthur MacDonald CBOBE 24 November 1975 20 April 1977 1 year, 147 days
Lieutenant General Sir Dunstan, DonaldDonald Dunstan KBECB 21 April 1977 14 February 1982 4 years, 304 days
Lieutenant General Sir Bennett, PhillipPhillip Bennett KBEAODSO 15 February 1982 12 February 1984 1 year, 362 days
Lieutenant General Gration, PeterPeter Gration AOOBE 13 February 1984 12 April 1987 3 years, 58 days
Lieutenant General O'Donnell, LawrenceLawrence O'Donnell AC 13 April 1987 12 April 1990 2 years, 364 days
Lieutenant General Coates, JohnJohn Coates ACMBE 13 April 1990 30 April 1992 2 years, 17 days
Lieutenant General Grey, JohnJohn Grey AC 1 May 1992 7 July 1995 3 years, 67 days
Lieutenant General Sanderson, JohnJohn Sanderson AC 8 July 1995 18 February 1997 1 year, 225 days
Chief of Army
Lieutenant General Sanderson, JohnJohn Sanderson AC 19 February 1997 23 June 1998 1 year, 124 days
Lieutenant General Hickling, FrankFrank Hickling AOCSC 24 June 1998 15 July 2000 2 years, 21 days
Lieutenant General Cosgrove, PeterPeter Cosgrove ACMC 16 July 2000 27 June 2002 1 year, 346 days
Lieutenant General Leahy, PeterPeter Leahy AC 28 June 2002 3 July 2008 6 years, 5 days
Lieutenant General Gillespie, KenKen Gillespie ACDSCCSM 4 July 2008 24 June 2011 2 years, 355 days
Lieutenant General Morrison, DavidDavid Morrison AO 24 June 2011 Incumbent 3 years, 84 days

Images – Chief of Army[edit]

Images – Chief of the General Staff[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Wood 2006, p. 13
  2. ^ Wood 2006, pp. 50–51
  3. ^ Wood 2006, pp. xv–xxi
  4. ^ Wood 2006, pp. 54–59
  5. ^ Wood 2006, p. 66
  6. ^ Palazzo 2001, p. 66
  7. ^ Palazzo 2001, pp. 221–222
  8. ^ Palazzo 2001, pp. 316–318
  9. ^ Palazzo 2001, p. 323

References[edit]