Govt hires new federal infosec director

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Govt hires new federal infosec director

Former DIO deputy director joins as head of intelligence agency.

The Federal Government’s information security and foreign intelligence authority has named a new director following the retirement of former head Ian McKenzie.

Dr Paul Taloni will join the Australian Signals Directorate (formerly the Defence Signals Directorate) as its director in November. Taloni has served as the department’s first assistant secretary of Capability Investment and Resources since 2008. 

He has also worked as chief of staff for former Defence Minister Stephen Smith, and as the deputy director of the Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO).

Taloni was awarded a public service medal in the 2007 Australia Day honours list for “outstanding public service” in his role as the deputy director of the DIO.

His contribution to the “standing and reputation” of the DIO led to the agency gaining greater influence with the government, Defence minister, defence customers and the wider intelligence community, according to a statement by then Governor General Michael Jeffrey.

“He initiated a range of sophisticated intelligence policy and structural improvements supporting Australian Defence Force (ADF) deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan that enabled DIO to deliver more timely intelligence advice to a wider command audience. 

“Under his leadership, intelligence policy coordination and customer relations were overhauled and refocused, shortening product dissemination times and increasing the reach of critical DIO intelligence,” the statement said.

“This directly impacted on ADF operations by improving the situational awareness of commanders in the theatre and at the highest command levels, and by improving the validity of their decision making. Dr Taloni also initiated a number of improvements to the way in which DIO attracts and recruits key analysts and specialists; this has enabled DIO to maintain its core analytical ability throughout periods of heightened operational tempo.”

Ian McKenzie, the DSD’s director for the past six years, will retire in December. Prior to his role at DSD he was the head of the Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation.

The ASD provides intelligence and security advice, including on online matter, to the Australian Government. It is located within the Department of Defence. 

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