Jim Molan

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Major General
Jim Molan
Allegiance Australia Australia
Service/branch Australian Army
Years of service 1968 – 2008
Rank Major General
Commands held Australian Defence College
1st Division
1st Brigade
6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment

East Timor Iraq War

Awards Officer of the Order of Australia
Distinguished Service Cross

Major General Andrew James "Jim" Molan AO DSC is a retired senior officer in the Australian Army.

Early life and education[edit]

Molan joined the Australian Army following completion of his schooling in Victoria. On graduating from the Royal Military College, Duntroon, in 1971, he was allocated to the Royal Australian Infantry Corps. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of New South Wales and a Bachelor of Economics degree from the University of Queensland. He is a graduate of the ADF School of Languages where he studied Indonesian. He maintains an interest in aviation and holds civil commercial licences and instrument ratings for fixed and rotary wing aircraft. He is also a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (FAICD) and is accredited as a Master Project Director (MPD).

Military career[edit]

Molan has a long and active military career. Regimental postings include:

  • First Battalion, Pacific Island Regiment (Papua New Guinea) as a rifle platoon commander;
  • Ninth Battalion, Royal Queensland Regiment, as Adjutant;
  • Rifle company second-in-command and rifle company commander in the Third Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment;
  • Commanding Officer of the Sixth Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment;[1]
  • Commander of the Army's mechanized First Brigade
  • Commander of the 1st Division and its Deployable Joint Force Headquarters.

Molan was the Commander of the Australian Defence College, including

He served as the Army Attache in Jakarta as a Colonel between 1992 and 1994 and for this service he was awarded the Indonesian decoration Bintang Dharma Yudha Nararya in 1995. Between 1998 and 1999, Jim Molan was the Defence Attache in Jakarta as a Brigadier and served in East Timor. On 25 March 2000 he was upgraded to Officer of the Order of Australia for his service in Indonesia and in East Timor.[2]

In April 2004, he deployed for a year to Iraq. He was despatched to serve as the Chief of Operations for the new Headquarters Multinational Force in Iraq, which was being planned. However, he initially instead spend some time trying to find a specific role within the headquarters structure,[3] before being allocated responsibility for energy security.[4] He was eventually made Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, and served during continuous and intense combat operations. For distinguished command and leadership in this period, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross by the Australian Government[5] and the Legion of Merit by the United States Government.

After returning from Iraq he served as:[6]

Major General Molan retired in July 2008.[7]


In August 2008 Molan released his first book, Running the War in Iraq.[8] The book concentrates on his experience as Chief of Operations in Iraq during 2004-2005, but contains some criticism about Australia's current capacity to engage in military conflict.[9] In an August 2008 speech, Molan stated that "Our military competence was far worse than even we thought before East Timor, and people may not realise that the military performance bar has been raised by the nature of current conflict, as illustrated in Iraq and Afghanistan."[10] Writing in a February 2009 article, Molan called for a doubling of the Australian military presence in Afghanistan, from about 1100 troops to 2000.[11]

Molan has been associated with the Liberal Party of Australia, helping to launch the Liberal opposition party's military-led border protection campaign in the lead up to the 2013 general election in Brisbane on 25 July 2013.[12] Molan has been an outspoken critic of the Australian Labor Party's management of Defence matters.[13] The Minister for Defence, Stephen Smith described Molan as 'partisan' and a "Liberal Party activist".[14] Molan was engaged as an advisor to Minister for Defence David Johnston in mid-2014, but resigned after three weeks. In a subsequent interview Molan implied that his resignation was due to dissatisfaction with Johnston.[15]


Molan is frequently asked to express his opinion on matters related to his expertise, and to recount his experiences. The following is an incomplete list of his publications:

Type of
Wiki page(s)
2009-10-02 Editorial opinion "UN's bias binds Gaza" The Australian [16] [1] United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict Molan commented on Richard Goldstone's statements in the New York Times.[17]
2009-08-29 Debate "Afghanistan worth doing, even badly" Lowy Institute for International Policy [2]
2009-08 Article Australian Army Journal [3]
2009-07-06 Article "Thoughts on operations in southern Afghanistan" Lowy Institute for International Policy [4]
2009-02-17 Article "End the pussyfooting in Afghan war" The Australian [11] [5]
2008-10-16 Article "How we must fight in Afghanistan" Herald Sun [18] [6]
2008-10-3 Speech
"Running the war in Iraq: The nature of modern warfare and the new Defence White Paper" Lowy Institute for International Policy [7]
What lessons does the Iraq conflict hold for Australia's new Defence White Paper?
2008-08-04 Editorial opinion "Australia's war unreadiness" ABC [7] [9]
2008-07-21 Interview "Molan speaks about Iraq" ABC [9] [10]
2008 Book "Running the War in Iraq" Harper Collins [8] [11] The book concentrates on his experience as Chief of Operations in Iraq during 2004-2005.
2006 Article "Iraq Truisms: Five Truisms for the ADF out of Iraq" ADF Journal [19] [12]


Molan is married with three daughters and a son. His wife's name is Anne. His preferred name is Jim.[20]

Jim is the father of Television Presenter and The Footy Show (rugby league) host Erin Molan

Honours and awards[edit]

Order of Australia (Military) ribbon.png DSC (Australia) ribbon.png

Australian Active Service Medal ribbon.png Iraq Medal (Australia) ribbon.png Australian Service Medal 1945-1975 ribbon.png DFSM with Fed Star.png

Australian Defence Medal (Australia) ribbon.png PNG Independence Medal.png Order of the Star of Yudha Dharma - 3rd Class (Indonesia).png Us legion of merit officer rib.jpg

Order of Australia (Military) ribbon.png Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) (2000)[2]
Member of the Order of Australia (AM) (1992)[1]
DSC (Australia) ribbon.png Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) (awarded 2006)[5]
Australian Active Service Medal ribbon.png Australian Active Service Medal with "EAST TIMOR" and "IRAQ 2003" clasps
Iraq Medal (Australia) ribbon.png Iraq Medal
Australian Service Medal 1945-1975 ribbon.png Australian Service Medal 1945-1975 with "PNG" clasp
DFSM with Fed Star.png Defence Force Service Medal with Federation Star (5th clasp)
Australian Defence Medal (Australia) ribbon.png Australian Defence Medal
PNG Independence Medal.png Papua New Guinea Independence Medal (PNG)
Order of the Star of Yudha Dharma - 3rd Class (Indonesia).png Order of the Star of Yudha Dharma 3rd Class (Indonesia) (Bintang Yudha Dharma Nararya) (1995)
Us legion of merit officer rib.jpg Legion of Merit (United States) Officer (2004)

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b It's an Honour - Member of the Order of Australia - 26 January 1992
    Citation: For service to the Australian Army as Commanding Officer 6th Battalion, RAR.
  2. ^ a b It's an Honour - Officer of the Order of Australia - 25 March 2000
    Citation: For distinguished service to the Australian Defence Force as the Head of the Australian Defence Staff in Jakarta during the Indonesian and East Timor crisis.
  3. ^ Molan, 2008, 63-75.
  4. ^ Molan, 2008, 75-83.
  5. ^ a b It's an Honour - Distinguished Service Cross (Australian) - 26 January 2006
    Citation: For distinguished service in command and leadership in action while serving as Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Operations and Deputy Chief of Staff Civil Military Operations with Multi-National Force - Iraq from April 2004 to April 2005, during Operation CATALYST.
  6. ^ http://www.aadidefence.com/the/aadiDefenceTeam/principals-of-aadidefence/majgen-jim-molan-ao-dsc, accessed December 2012.
  7. ^ a b Molan, Jim Australia's war unreadiness, 4 August 2008, Unleashed, Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Accessed 2009-10-22.
  8. ^ a b Molan, Jim Running the War in Iraq, Harper Collins Publishers Australia, 2008, ISBN 978-0-7322-8781-8
  9. ^ a b Major General Jim Molan speaks about Iraq, transcript of Kerry O'Brien's interview with Jim Molan, 21 July 2008, 7.30 Report, Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Accessed 2009-10-22.
  10. ^ Sheridan, Greg Anzac spirit but not battle ready, 14 August 2008, The Australian. Accessed 2009-10-22.
  11. ^ a b Molan, Jim End the pussyfooting in Afghan war, 17 February 2009, The Australian. Accessed 2009-10-22.
  12. ^ http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/federal-election-2013/tony-abbott-to-put-threestar-commander-in-charge-of-militaryled-border-protection-campaign-20130725-2qkbb.html
  13. ^ http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/federal-election-2013/comrades-in-arms-mike-kelly-jim-molan--hold-different-views-in-the-battlefield-of-politics-20130711-2pth4.html
  14. ^ http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2013/s3798727.htm
  15. ^ Elks, Sarah (21 September 2014). "Defence Minister David Johnston ‘the reason’ Jim Molan quit role". The Australian. Retrieved 4 December 2014. 
  16. ^ Molan, Jim UN's bias binds Gaza, 2 October 2009, The Australian. Accessed 2009-10-22.
  17. ^ Goldstone, Richard Justice in Gaza, 17 September 2008, The New York Times. Accessed 2009-10-22.
  18. ^ Molan, Jim How we must fight in Afghanistan, in Andrew Bolt Blog 16 October 2009, The Herald Sun. Accessed 2009-10-22.
  19. ^ Molan, Jim Iraq Truisms: Five Truisms for the ADF out of Iraq, pp.8-17, Australian Defence Force Journal, Issue No. 171, 2006. Accessed 2009-10-22.
  20. ^ ADF biography

–==External links==

Military offices
Preceded by
Commander 1st Division Succeeded by
Major General Mark Evans
Preceded by
Rear Admiral Raydon Gates
Commander Australian Defence College
Succeeded by
Rear Admiral Mark Bonser