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Brigadier Nerolie McDonald

Brigadier Nerolie McDonald

Director General Pacific and Timor-Leste Branch, Department of Defence; External Contributor

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Brigadier McDonald is currently Director-General Pacific and Timor-Leste Branch within Defence’s Pacific Division.

She was the Chief of Defence Force Liaison Officer to the United States Central Command (2016); Australian Defence Attache to Vietnam and Laos (2017-2019); and Vice Director for Intelligence at United States Indo-Pacific Command (2020-2021).

Brigadier McDonald joined the Australian Regular Army in 1992, attending the Australian Defence Force Academy. She graduated from the Royal Military College Duntroon in 1995 into the Intelligence Corps. Over her career, Brigadier McDonald has been employed in a wide variety of tactical, operational and strategic level intelligence roles within land, training and joint environments. Brigadier McDonald has also completed international policy, capability, strategy, operations and command postings.

In 2014, Brigadier McDonald deployed for twelve months as Commander of the Australian Contingent on Operation Mazurka – Australia’s contribution to the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) peacekeeping mission in Egypt; she also filled the role as Deputy Chief of Operations for the MFO. Her other operational deployments include: Op Tanager - East Timor (2002) as an intelligence analyst with the Australian National Command Element; Op Catalyst - Iraq (2005) as the Staff Officer Grade Two in the Australian National Representative Cell to the Multi-National Divisional Headquarters South East; and Op Slipper - Afghanistan (2009/10) as the Intelligence Officer of the Mentoring and Reconstruction Task Force 2.

Brigadier McDonald has a Bachelor of Arts Honours (Economics) and a Master of Arts (Strategy and Policy) from the University of New South Wales. She is a Vietnamese linguist, completing over two years of language training in both Australia and Vietnam.

Brigadier McDonald has a young daughter and when not spending time with family and friends, enjoys reading, hiking and perfecting her golf swing.