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Defence Intelligence Organisation
Agency overview
Formed1990; 34 years ago (1990)
Preceding agencies
  • Joint Intelligence Organisation
  • Joint Intelligence Bureau
HeadquartersRussell Offices, Canberra
Agency executives
Parent agencyDefence Intelligence Group

The Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO) is an Australian government military intelligence agency responsible for strategic intelligence and technical intelligence assessments, advising defence and government decision-making on national security and international security issues, and the planning and conduct of Australian Defence Force operations. The DIO does not collect intelligence or conduct covert action, but works on defence economics, transnational terrorism, and WMD.

The DIO is an agency of the Australian Intelligence Community and is part of the Defence Intelligence Group (DIG) with the Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation (AGO). The head of DIO is the Director of the Defence Intelligence Organisation, currently Major General Matthew Hall.


Joint Intelligence Bureau

In the post-World War II period, the military intelligence and strategic assessments functions were shared between the Navy, Army and Air Force intelligence directorates and the Joint Intelligence Bureau (JIB) from 1947 to 1969. JIB was responsible for geographic, infrastructure and economic intelligence – mainly in Australia's region. In 1957, JIB's responsibilities were expanded to include scientific and technical intelligence.

Joint Intelligence Organisation

Main article: Joint Intelligence Organisation (Australia)

In 1969, most of the foreign assessment elements of the three armed services were merged to form the Joint Intelligence Organisation (JIO).[1] The Royal Commission on Intelligence and Security (also called the first Hope Commission) in 1977 recommended the establishment of the Office of National Assessments (ONA) as an independent statutory agency to provide all-source assessments on international political, strategic and economic developments to the Prime Minister and to assume the foreign intelligence assessment role of JIO. JIO was then reoriented to focus more closely on defence intelligence and strategic interests. The second Hope Commission endorsed these arrangements in 1984. In 1989, counterterrorism was added to JIO's responsibilities.


A review of Defence intelligence in 1989 by Major General John Baker led to the establishment in 1990 of the Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO) as the sole strategic level, all-source intelligence assessment agency for the Department of Defence. Baker became the first Director of DIO in 1990 until 1992.

DIO is the strategic-level, all-source intelligence assessment agency for the Department of Defence. It is not an autonomous body; unlike ONA, DIO is a subordinate organisation within the Department of Defence with no separate statutory mandate or direct budget line. The organisation's character and purpose is defined by its position within the Defence portfolio.

DIO is an integrated civilian–military organisation, with the majority of staff being public servants recruited through either the defence graduate program or direct entry.


DIO's assessments focus on the Asia-Pacific region and cover strategic, political, defence, military, economic, scientific and technical areas. DIO's intelligence products help inform decisions about Australia's military activities at home and abroad, defence acquisition processes, force readiness decisions, strategic policy, international relations and defence scientific developments.

DIO also maintains close links with intelligence agencies of other allied countries. In addition, it maintains links with intelligence agencies of a range of other countries to foster dialogue and the exchange of information and as a contribution to defence relationships with regional countries.

Australian troops deploying to Afghanistan and Iraq were briefed by DIO on enemy weapons and forces.


The position of Director of the Defence Intelligence Organisation is a two-star rank position.

Title/Rank Name Postnominals Term
Director Joint Intelligence Bureau
Mr Allan Fleming CBE 1947–1949
Commander Arthur Storey DSC 1949–1952
Major General Sir Walter Cawthorn CB, CIE, CBE 1952–1954
Mr W. Harold King MBE 1954–1968
Mr Arthur McMichael OBE 1968–1969
Director Joint Intelligence Organisation
Mr Robert Furlonger CB 1969–1972
Mr Gordon Jockel CBE 1972–1978
Mr Arthur McMichael OBE 1978–1982
Mr Jim Furner CBE 1982–1984
Mr G.R. Marshall 1984–1987
Dr Paul Dibb 1987–1988
Major General John Baker AO 1989–1990
Director Defence Intelligence Organisation
Major General John Baker AO 1990–1992
Major General John Hartley AO 1992–1995
Major General James Connolly AO 1995–1996
Major General William Crews AO 1997–1999
Mr Frank Lewincamp PSM 1999–2005
Major General Maurie McNarn AO 2005–2009
Major General Richard Wilson AO 2009–2011
Major General Paul Symon AO 2011–2014
Air Vice Marshal John McGarry AM, CSC 2014–2016
Major General Matthew Hall AO, CSC 2017– 2021


  1. ^ CA 1533: Defence Intelligence Organisation, National Archives of Australia, retrieved 27 April 2016[permanent dead link]