Paul Dibb

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Paul Dibb

Director of the
Strategic and Defence Studies Centre
In office
1991–2003
Preceded byDesmond Ball
Succeeded byHugh White
Deputy Secretary
for Strategy and Intelligence
In office
1988–1991
Preceded byJ. M. Moten
Succeeded byAllan Hawke
Director of the
Joint Intelligence Organisation
In office
1986–1988
Preceded byG. R. Marshall
Succeeded byMajor General John Baker
Personal details
Born (1939-10-03) 3 October 1939 (age 80)
Fryston, West Yorkshire, England
NationalityAustralian
Spouse(s)Rhondda Nicholas
ResidenceCanberra, Australia
Alma materUniversity of Nottingham
Australian National University
Known forAuthor of Dibb Report
The Soviet Union: The Incomplete Superpower

Paul Dibb AM (born 3 October 1939) is an English-born Australian strategist, academic and former defence intelligence official. He is currently emeritus professor of strategic studies at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre which is part of the Australian National University.[1][2]

He was the head of the National Assessments Staff (the predecessor to the Office of National Assessments) from 1974 to 1978, the director of the Joint Intelligence Organisation (the predecessor to the Defence Intelligence Organisation) from 1986 to 1988, and the head of the Defence Strategy and Intelligence Group with the rank of Deputy Secretary in the Department of Defence from 1988 to 1991.[3] Dibb is also known for his contribution to Australian defence strategy through writing the 1986 Review of Australia’s defence capabilities, known as the Dibb Report,[4] and being the primary author of the 1987 Defence White Paper.[5] From 1965 to 1984, Dibb worked for the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, tasked with gaining intelligence and recruiting KGB and GRU agents in Canberra.[6]

Early life and education[edit]

Dibb was born on 3 October 1939 in Fryston, a coal mining village in Castleford, West Yorkshire, England to mother Ethel, maid to a local solicitor, and father Cyril, a trolley-bus driver. He attended the King's School in Pontefract. He was awarded a County Exhibition Scholarship to undertake a Bachelor of Arts in economics and geography at the University of Nottingham. He graduated with honours in 1960.[7]

After graduation, Dibb worked as an apprentice manager at a chrome component factory for motor vehicles. Against the advice of the Careers and Appointments Board of Nottingham University, he applied to the British Civil Service. His advisers had warned that he was unlikely to succeed because he did not attend a prestigious school like Eton or Harrow, and Cambridge or Oxford. He was rejected likely due to classist attitudes about his working-class background.[7]

He applied to join the Australian Public Service and was offered a job as a research officer on the UK desk of the then Australian Department of Trade. He moved to Canberra in 1961. In 1965, Dibb joined the Bureau of Agricultural Economics to research the Soviet wheat industry economy. Dibb then briefly worked on independence negotiations for Nauru as the personal assistant to the Secretary of the Department of Territories in 1967. In 1968, he joined the Australian National University Research School of Social Sciences working as a research fellow in Soviet affairs until joining the Joint Intelligence Organisation in 1970.[8]

In 1986, Dibb received his Doctorate of Philosophy from the Australian National University with the thesis The Soviet Union: The Incomplete Superpower, which examined Soviet power and critiqued the mainstream opinion that the Soviet Union was a superpower.[9] Dibb's thesis was critically acclaimed.[10][11]

Intelligence career[edit]

Dibb joined the Australian Intelligence Community in 1970 as an analyst in the Directorate of Economic Intelligence of the Joint Intelligence Organisation. He moved to the National Assessments Staff (the predecessor to the Office of National Assessments) supporting the then National Intelligence Committee (the predecessor to the National Intelligence Coordination Committee) in 1972 and became director-general of the National Assessments Staff in 1974 serving until 1978.[12] He served as a deputy director of the Joint Intelligence Organisation from 1978 to 1980.[13] In 1980 he was appointed the Senior Assistant Secretary of Strategic Policy within the Department of Defence.[14]

In 1986, Dibb was given charge of the Joint Intelligence Organisation (the predecessor to the Defence Intelligence Organisation) and served until 1988. From 1988 to 1991, he served as the Deputy Secretary for Strategy and Intelligence with responsibilities for the Joint Intelligence Organisation and its transformation into the Defence Intelligence Organisation and the then Defence Signals Directorate and Defence Imagery and Geospatial Organisation.[15][16] In 1991, Dibb was honoured by the United States National Reconnaissance Office for his work in US–Australian space collaboration, relating to his work overseeing the Joint Defence Facility at Pine Gap and supporting the National Reconnaissance OfficeCentral Intelligence Agency Program B.[17][18] Dibb was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1989 for his contribution to defence policy, strategy and intelligence.[19][20]

ASIO agent[edit]

In parallel with his academic and public service careers, Dibb worked for the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) to gather counterintelligence on the Soviet Union capabilities in Australia for over 20 years from 1965 to 1984.[6] In 1965, Dibb was recruited by the deputy director-general of the ASIO, Ron Richards, who had run the Petrov defection in 1954. Dibb was charged with developing relationships with Soviet diplomats in Canberra, gathering intelligence about KGB and GRU capabilities in Australia, and investigating Soviet views on the Australian-United States alliance and the Joint Defence Facility at Pine Gap. Dibb also sounded out the potential of Soviet agents to defect to the West or to work as informants to the Australian Intelligence Community.[12]

Confidential documents show that in 1977, the Central Intelligence Agency believed Dibb was a more valuable informant for the CIA on the Soviets in Canberra than was ASIO itself. However, ASIO grew suspicious of Dibb because of his White Russian wife and closeness with his contacts in the Soviet Embassy, including the Canberra KGB Station Chief Lev Koshlyakov who had taken Dibb and Dibb's wife dancing in Moscow in 1984. An ASIO briefing note marked "secret" written in October 1984 by ASIO Director-General Harvey Barnett about Dibb and released under FOI confirms that ASIO investigated Dibb on security grounds. Nonetheless Dibb was cleared and exonerated and he continued his intelligence career in the Department of Defence.[6]

Dibb Report[edit]

From 1985 to 1986, Dibb was a ministerial consultant to Defence Minister Kim Beazley, a member of the Hawke Government. During this time, he formulated a review of Australia’s defence capabilities known as the Dibb Report. According to journalist Geoffrey Barker, it was "his most important public and personal contribution to defence policy."[4][5][21]

Academic career[edit]

In 1981, Dibb briefly left the Australian Public Service to work as a senior research fellow in the Department of International Relations at the Australian National University and then became an administrator of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre in 1984 until joining the Minister for Defence as a ministerial consultant in 1985.[22]

In 1991, Dibb retired from the Australian Public Service and became the director of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, part of the Australian National University until 2003–where he is currently the emeritus professor. During the Government of Prime Minister John Howard, Dibb was a member of the Foreign Minister's Foreign Policy Advisory Council.[23]

Personal life[edit]

Dibb is married to Rhondda Nicholas, his third wife.[6] He has a daughter and a son.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Emeritus Professor Paul Dibb". researchers.anu.edu.au. Australian National University. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  2. ^ "Paul Dibb – Strategic & Defence Studies Centre – ANU". sdsc.bellschool.anu.edu.au. Australian National University. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  3. ^ Dobell, Graeme (25 July 2016). "Oz strategists: Paul Dibb | The Strategist". The Strategist. Archived from the original on 9 January 2017. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  4. ^ a b Dibb 1986b.
  5. ^ a b Dennis 2008, pp. 185–186, 516.
  6. ^ a b c d The Australian ASIO suspected defence expert was KGB double agent
  7. ^ a b Ball & Lee 2016, p. 2, 18.
  8. ^ Ball & Lee 2016, p. 2, 19–20.
  9. ^ Dibb 1986a.
  10. ^ Campbell, John (1 June 1986). "The Soviet Union: The Incomplete Superpower". Foreign Affairs (published 28 January 2009) (Summer 1986). Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  11. ^ Tuvim, Yuri (1 November 1988). "Review of The Soviet Union: The Incomplete Superpower". Studies in Soviet Thought. 36 (4): 258–260. JSTOR 20100381.
  12. ^ a b Ball & Lee 2016, p. 37.
  13. ^ Ball & Lee 2016, p. 25.
  14. ^ a b Ball & Lee 2016, p. 20.
  15. ^ Ball & Lee 2016, p. 28.
  16. ^ Ball, Robinson & Tanter 2016, p. 22, 24.
  17. ^ Ball & Lee 2016, p. 29-30.
  18. ^ Ball, Robinson & Tanter 2016, p. 25.
  19. ^ Ball & Lee 2016, p. 1.
  20. ^ "Honours – Search Australian Honours". It'sanHonour.gov.au. Australian Government. Retrieved 9 January 2017. In recognition of service to the Public Service
  21. ^ Ball & Lee 2016, p. 38.
  22. ^ Ball & Lee 2016, pp. 2, 27–28.
  23. ^ Ball & Lee 2016, pp. 2, 27–28, 200.

Published works[edit]

Secondary sources[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
G. R. Marshall
Director of the
Joint Intelligence Organisation

1986–1988
Succeeded by
Major General John Baker
Preceded by
J. M. Moten
Deputy Secretary for Strategy and Intelligence
1988–1991
Succeeded by
Allan Hawke
Academic offices
Preceded by
Desmond Ball
Head of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre
of the Australian National University

1991–2003
Succeeded by
Hugh White