Government selects ASD head Mike Burgess to lead ASIO

Former Telstra CISO to take reins at intelligence agency

ASD director-general Mike Burgess

ASD director-general Mike Burgess

Credit: ASD

Australian Signals Directorate director-general Mike Burgess has been appointed to lead the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO).

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and home affairs minister Peter Dutton revealed today that the governor general had accepted the recommendation to appoint Burgess as director-general of security.

The government in December 2017 announced that Burgess, a former chief information security officer at Telstra, would take charge of the ASD. It was a return to the public sector for Burgess, who immediately prior to taking on the CISO role at Telstra held a string of roles at the Defence Signals Directorate (before its 2013 name change to ASD).

At the DSD his roles included deputy director for cyber and information security. Before DSD Burgess worked at the Defence Science and Technology Organisation.

Burgess was the inaugural director-general at the ASD. His position was created as part of a major transformation of the agency, reflecting the increasing importance the government has placed on the ASD’s offensive and defensive cyber capabilities.

Burgess has led the ASD’s transition to an independent statutory agency, implementing one of the key recommendations of the L’Estrange review of the Australian intelligence community.

Burgess’ leadership of the ASD has seen an unprecedented openness by the agency, driven in part by its need to compete with the private sector for talent. The director-general has described the process as the agency coming “out of the shadows”. His tenure has encompassed the government’s ban on Huawei’s participation in the roll out of 5G — a decision in which the ASD played a key role.

Burgess “brings a wealth of knowledge and understanding of Australia’s national information, intelligence and security landscape gained through many years of experience spanning public service and private industry,” a statement issued today by Morrison and Dutton said.

“ASIO plays a critical role in protecting Australians from security threats including foreign interference and terrorism.

“We congratulate Mr Burgess on his appointment to this vital role at a time when Australia faces an unprecedented level of complex emerging threats at home and abroad.”

At ASIO Burgess replaces outgoing director-general Duncan Lewis.

Burgess will commence his new role on 15 September.

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Tags governmentASIOnational securityMike BurgessAustralian Signals Directorate (ASD)

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