John Caligari

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John Graham Caligari
US Navy 070622-N-4124C-001 Brig. Gen. John G. Caligari, commanding officer of Royal Australian Army's 3rd Brigade and commander of Combined Force Land Component Command (CFLCC), and Rear Adm. Carol M. Pottenger, commander.jpg
Brigadier Caligari with US Rear Admiral Pottenger during Talisman Saber 2007
Born (1960-08-21) 21 August 1960 (age 57)
Brisbane, Queensland
Allegiance  Australia
Service/branch Australian Army
Years of service 1979–2015
Rank Lieutenant General
Commands held Chief Capability Development Group (2014–15)
3rd Brigade (2006–09)
1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (1999–01)
Battles/wars Operation Paladin
Operation Solace
East Timor
War in Afghanistan
Awards Officer of the Order of Australia
Distinguished Service Cross

Lieutenant General John Graham Caligari AO, DSC (born 21 August 1960) is a retired senior officer of the Australian Army. He served as Chief Capability Development Group from October 2014 until his retirement in August 2015.

Early life[edit]

Caligari was born in Brisbane, Queensland, on 21 August 1960 to Barry John Caligari, an Army officer, and his wife Christine Graham (née Wilkie). He was educated at Marist College Canberra and the International School of Kuala Lumpur,[1] and entered the Royal Military College, Duntroon in 1979 where he undertook training to become an officer in the Australian Army.[2][3]

Military career[edit]

Upon graduating from Duntroon in 1982, Caligari was assigned to the Royal Australian Infantry Corps and was posted to the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (1 RAR), an infantry unit that his father, Barry Caligari, was commanding at the time.[2]

In 1989, Caligari was in the Middle East as a United Nations observer on the Lebanese/Israeli border with UNTSO, and subsequently at UNTSO Headquarters in Jerusalem (Operation Paladin). He took his wife, Narelle, a nurse, and his twin sons, then aged nine months, with him to Israel. From late 1990, he was a rifle company commander in the 1st Battalion. In 1993 he was an operations officer of the 1st Battalion Group deployed to Somalia as part of Operation Solace, for which he was awarded a Chief of the Defence Force Commendation. In June 2000, he deployed as Commander of the 1st Battalion Ready Group on HMAS Manoora for the evacuation of Australians from the Solomon Islands (Operation Plumbob).[2][3]

He was deployed to East Timor after it achieved independence in 1999. "The highlight of his career"[3] was commanding the 1st Battalion Group on operations along the Timor Leste-Indonesian border with the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), as part of Operation Tanager. For his command and leadership on this operation he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.[2][3]

Caligari oversaw numerous reforms while Chief of Staff, Headquarters Training Command – Army (TC-A) in 2005–06, under Major General Richard Wilson.[2][3]

In 2007–08 Caligari commanded the Townsville-based 3rd Brigade, as a brigadier.[4] In January 2009 he was appointed Deputy Commander, Joint Task Force 633 – Afghanistan, as part of Operation Slipper, a position he filled for six months.[3]

He was promoted to major general in mid-2009, and appointed Head Modernisation and Strategic Plans – Army (HMSP-A). In 2012 Caligari was appointed Head Capability Systems (HCS), heading up one of Capability Development Group's two divisions.[5] For his "distinguished service" in both of these roles, Caligari was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in the 2014 Queen's Birthday Honours.[6]

Promoted to lieutenant general in October 2014, Caligari was appointed Chief Capability Development Group (CCDG) in succession to Vice Admiral Peter Jones.[7] In this role he was responsible for the Department of Defence's Capability Development Group; the branch tasked to develop and gain government approval for future defence capabilities. After ten months in this role, Caligari retired in August 2015 as part of a Defence restructure that necessitated cuts to senior management. His position of CCDG was identified as redundant at 'three-star' rank level, and has been scaled down.[8]

Personal life[edit]

His father, Barry,[9][10] retired as Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion in 1983. Caligari and his father hold the distinction of being the only father-son duo in the Australian Army to have commanded the same battalion. Caligari's father was his son's commanding officer for two months when he graduated from Duntroon in 1982.[2][3]

Caligari married Narelle, a nurse, on 3 January 1987 and they have three children; twin sons and a daughter.[1] Caligari's twin sons Ben and David are currently serving officers in the Australian Army. His daughter Anne has graduated university with a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and is currently in the Graduate Program at the Department of Defence.[citation needed]

Educational and professional qualifications[edit]

Honours and awards[edit]

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

Australian Active Service Medal ribbon.png Afghanistan Medal (Australia) ribbon.png Australian Service Medal ribbon.png DFSM with Rosette x 4.png

Australian Defence Medal (Australia) ribbon.png UNTSO Medal bar.gif UN Medal for East Timor (NZ).png NATO Medal ISAF ribbon bar v2.svg

Order of Australia (Military) ribbon.png Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) 9 June 2014 "For distinguished service as Head Modernisation and Strategic Planning-Army and Head Systems Capability Development Group."[6]
Member of the Order of Australia (AM) 26 January 2007 "For exceptional performance of duties in command and senior Army staff appointments."[11][12]
DSC (Australia) ribbon.png Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) 26 January 2002, CO 1 RAR Battalion Group on Operation TANAGER, East Timor, 2000–2001.[13]
Australian Active Service Medal ribbon.png Australian Active Service Medal [5]
Afghanistan Medal (Australia) ribbon.png Afghanistan Medal [5]
Australian Service Medal ribbon.png Australian Service Medal [5]
DFSM with Rosette x 4.png Defence Force Service Medal with four clasps [5]
Australian Defence Medal (Australia) ribbon.png Australian Defence Medal [5]
UNTSO Medal bar.gif United Nations medal for Truce Supervision Organization (United Nations)[5]
UN Medal for East Timor (NZ).png United Nations medal for Transitional Administration in East Timor (United Nations)[5]
NATO Medal ISAF ribbon bar v2.svg NATO Medal for ISAF (Northern Atlantic Treaty Organisation)[5]
  • Chief of Defence Force Commendation – December 1993 – Operations Officer, 1 RAR on Operation SOLACE, Somalia 1993


  1. ^ a b "Lieutenant General John Graham Caligari". Who's Who in Australia Online. ConnectWeb. Retrieved 11 October 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Banham, Cynthia, Model of a modern digger, 15 March 2008, Sydney Morning Herald
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Biography Archived 15 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine., 6 August 2009,
  4. ^ Johnston, Jessica, Salute to a military man – 3rd Brigade boss Brigadier John Caligari says goodbye to Townsville, 22 November 2008, Townsville Bulletin
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Major General J.G (John) Caligari, DSC, AM, Head Capability Systems (HCS)" (PDF). Department of Defence website. Canberra, Australia: Commonwealth of Australia. 24 September 2012. Retrieved 6 November 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Officer (AO) in the Military Division of the Order of Australia" (PDF). Queen's Birthday 2014 Honours List. Australian Honours Secretariat. Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  7. ^ "New Chief of Capability Development Group announced". Defence News and Media. Department of Defence. 28 July 2014. Archived from the original on 9 August 2014. Retrieved 28 July 2014. 
  8. ^ "Defence secretary asks for SES, EL2 voluntary redundancies". The Mandarin. 10 September 2015. Retrieved 11 October 2015. 
  9. ^ National Medal, CALIGARI, Barry John, 14 July 1977,
  10. ^ National Medal – 1st Clasp, CALIGARI, Barry John, 3 September 1985,
  11. ^ Australia Day Honours, 2007 Archived 4 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine.,
  12. ^ Member of the Order of Australia (AM), 26 January 2007
  13. ^ Distinguished Service Cross (Australian), (DSC), 26 January 2002,

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Vice Admiral Peter Jones
Chief Capability Development Group
Succeeded by
Air Vice Marshal Mel Hupfeld