Paul Symon, AO
Major General (Retd)
Director-General, Australian Secret Intelligence Service
Paul Symon was raised in Melbourne and moved to Canberra in 1979 in order to attend the Royal Military College Duntroon. He graduated as senior cadet and the Sword of Honour winner in his final year. A 35 year military career followed, culminating in the rank of Major General.
His final appointments in Defence were as Deputy Chief of the Army and as Director of the Defence Intelligence Organisation. He was also military adviser to the 'First Principles Review'.
Paul has had four periods of operational service. As a Brigadier he was appointed Australian Commander Middle East which gave him command responsibility for Defence personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan. Prior to that he was the senior military adviser for the Regional Assistance Mission in the Solomon Islands (RAMSI).
Paul was also the Australian senior military officer in East Timor in 1999 in the months preceding the ballot for East Timor's independence. His team of officers found themselves negotiating with militia and Falantil leaders, as well as the United Nations (UN) and Indonesian military, during a period of high tension and duress. Prior to that, he served with the United Nations in Southern Lebanon and on the Golan Heights.
Paul was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (AM) for his service in East Timor. He subsequently became a recipient of the Officer of the Order of Australia (AO).
Academically, he holds two Master's degrees: from the University of New South Wales and from Deakin University.
In mid-2015, Paul left the military and joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He was subsequently appointed as Director-General Australian Secret Intelligence Service from 18th December 2017. Paul is married to Kate and has two adult children.
The Director-General rarely makes public statements or interviews - since his appointment the Director-General has been interviewed for QANTAS Travel Insider and appeared on an Australia In The World podcast.