Tim McOwan

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Timothy Joseph McOwan
Born Ararat, Victoria
Allegiance  Australia
Service/branch Australian Army
Years of service 1976 – 2014 or 2015
Rank Major general
Commands held Special Operations Command Australia
Special Air Service Regiment

Operation Mazurka
Operation Pollard
Operation Gold
International Force for East Timor

War in Afghanistan

Iraq War

Awards Officer of the Order of Australia
Distinguished Service Cross
Conspicuous Service Medal

Major General Timothy Joseph "Tim" McOwan AO, DSC, CSM was a senior officer in the Australian Army. He served as Special Operations Commander Australia from February 2008 until January 2011, the Australian Defence Attaché and Head Australian Defence Staff in Washington, D.C.. He retired from the Army in 2014 or 2015.

Service history[edit]

Tim McOwan enlisted in the Australian Army in 1976, and gained his commission via the Royal Military College, Duntroon in 1980.

McOwan served in regimental appointments with the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (1RAR) and the Special Air Service Regiment (SASR). His service with 1RAR included an attachment to the Rifle Company Butterworth, in Malaysia while his service with the SAS included a two-year secondment to the headquarters commanding the British Special Air Service and the Special Boat Service.

Whilst in SASR he served as a vehicle mounted troop commander, a counter terrorist troop commander, an operations officer and adjutant. He also commanded SAS Operations Support Squadron, between 1990 and 1991. In 1992 McOwan attended the Army Command and Staff College at Fort Queenscliff, following which he served in staff appointments within the Directorate of Operational Support in Army Headquarters.

In 1994 he was then appointed as Commander Australian Service Contingent Operation Mazurka, with the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO), Sinai,[1][2] Egypt where he served as the force assistant chief of staff.

1998 saw McOwan attended the U.K. Joint Services Command and Staff College before being deployed to the Persian Gulf on Operation Pollard as a member of the United States Central Command-led Coalition Headquarters.

McOwan assumed command of the Special Air Service Regiment in 1999, holding that position until 2001. During his time as commanding officer, McOwan commanded Joint Task Force 504 during Operation Spitfire, the Special Operations Component of International Force for East Timor (INTERFET) during Operation Warden, and Joint Task Force 643 during Operation Gold, the ADF Counter Terrorism support to the Sydney Olympics.

During 2001 McOwan was appointed the chief staff officer plans in Joint Operations Command. In this capacity he was responsible for operational planning for Australia’s commitment to the War On Terror, Operation Slipper in Afghanistan and Operation Falconer in Iraq, as well as numerous other ADF operations.

In 2004 he became the director strategy and international engagement in Army Headquarters, before assuming the appointment of deputy special operations commander, Australia.

In January 2006 he was appointed the chief of defence force liaison officer to the Chairman of The Joint Chiefs of Staff in The Pentagon, Washington, DC. This appointment saw him responsible to the Chief of the Defence Force for liaison between the US Defence Force and the Australian Defence Force in the areas of operations, strategic plans and intelligence.

McOwan assumed the appointment of Special Operations Commander Australia in February 2008;[3] he relinquished this post in January 2011. He currently serves as Australian Defence attaché and head Australian Defence Staff in Washington D.C.. In the Australia Day Honours List of 2012, McOwan was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in recognition of his "substantial contribution to the capabilities, operational successes and international reputation of Australia’s Special Forces".[4]

McOwan retired from the Army in 2014 or 2015.[5][6] In March 2015 he was appointed a member of the Northern Territory Government's Strategic Defence Advisory Board, which provides advice on business opportunities related to the defence industry.[6]


McOwan's academic achievements include a Bachelor of Arts (military studies), a graduate diploma in management, a graduate diploma in defence studies, a Masters in Business Administration and a Master of Arts in strategic studies.

Tim McOwan is married, and has two children.[7]

Honours and awards[edit]

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

Australian Active Service Medal ribbon.png INTERFET 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 MFO Medal ribbon.png Army Commendation Medal ribbon.svg

AUS Meritorious Unit Citation with Federation Star.png

Order of Australia (Military) ribbon.png Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) Awarded Australia Day 2012 Honours List[8]
DSC (Australia) ribbon.png Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) Awarded for Operation Warden[9]
CSM Australia ribbon.png Conspicuous Service Medal (CSM) Awarded for Operation Mazurka
Australian Active Service Medal ribbon.png Australian Active Service Medal With "EAST TIMOR" clasp
INTERFET Medal ribbon.png International Force East Timor Medal
Afghanistan Medal (Australia) ribbon.png Afghanistan Medal
Australian Service Medal ribbon.png Australian Service Medal With "SINAI", "IRAQ" & "EAST TIMOR" clasps
DFSM with Rosette x 4.png Defence Force Service Medal with 4 clasps 35–39 years service
Australian Defence Medal (Australia) ribbon.png Australian Defence Medal
MFO Medal ribbon.png Multinational Force and Observers Medal With "2" award numeral
Army Commendation Medal ribbon.svg Army Commendation Medal (United States) 2013
AUS Meritorious Unit Citation with Federation Star.png Meritorious Unit Citation with Federation Star Awarded to 3 Squadron, Special Air Service Regiment[10]


  1. ^ Australian Army official Operation Mazurka site, see chronology
  2. ^ Australian Operation Mazurka Contingent hit and run incident 1994 also see Chronology August 1994 at Multinational Force and Observers
  3. ^ New Special Operations Commander appointed, Ministerial announcement MIN7/08, Minister for Defence, 13 Feb 2008. Retrieved on 2009-03-03.
  4. ^ "Officer (AO) in the Military Division of the Order of Australia" (PDF). Australia Day 2012 Honours Lists. Website of the Governor-General of Australia. Retrieved 26 January 2012. 
  5. ^ Kimber, Ben (3 January 2014). "Ararat's Tim McOwan has served us well". The Ararat Advertiser. Retrieved 8 May 2016. 
  6. ^ a b "New strategic direction for Defence". Media release. Northern Territory Government. 25 March 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2016. 
  7. ^ ADF Biography
  8. ^ 2012 Australia Day Honours List – Officer of the Order of Australia – 26 January 2012
    Citation: For distinguished service to the Australian Army in the fields of operations and Special Forces, particularly as Special Operations Commander Australia.
  9. ^ It's an Honour – Distinguished Service Cross – 25 March 2000
    Citation: For distinguished command and leadership as the Commanding Officer of the Response Force Component, and as Special Operations Component Commander at the Headquarters of the International Force East Timor of the 3rd Brigade during Operation WARDEN in East Timor.
  10. ^ It's an Honour – Meritorious Unit Citation, 3 SQN SASR – 25 March 2000
    Citation: For sustained outstanding service in warlike operations of the Special Air Service Regiment of the Response Force for Operation WARDEN.

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Major General Mike Hindmarsh
Special Operations Commander
Succeeded by
Major General Gus Gilmore