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Paul Symon

MAJGEN (ret’d) Paul Symon AO

Former Director-General, Australian Secret Intelligence Service

Contact information

Biography

Paul served as the 12th Director-General of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) from 2017-2022.

Paul’s military career began at the Royal Military College, Duntroon where he was the recipient of the Sword of Honour and he transferred from the military as a Major General 35 years later. He distinguished himself in appointments such as Deputy Chief of the Australian Army (2009-2011) and Director of the Defence Intelligence Organisation (2011-2014). He served overseas in the United Kingdom, Israel, Lebanon, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Paul was appointed Deputy Director-General of ASIS in 2015. He was subsequently appointed Director-General by Prime Minister Turnbull in 2017. He became responsible for the collection of foreign human intelligence. He advised the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Prime Minister on foreign intelligence, was a regular attendee of the National Security Committee of Cabinet and oversaw a high tempo of very sensitive and high-risk intelligence operations.

Paul was honoured as an Officer in the Military Division of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service. He holds two Master’s degrees, is married and has two adult children and two grandsons.

Paul is currently an independent non-executive board member and a strategic adviser to the University of Melbourne. He also co-chairs the Group of Eight (Go8) Defence and Security Committee.