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September 1, 2011
By Michael Weaver
SECRETARY of Defence Dr Ian
Watt will become the Government’s
key adviser when he leaves
Defence to become Secretary of the
Department of Prime Minister and
Dr Watt will enter what he expects
will be the final phase of his public
service career at PM&C on September
5, after notching up just more than two
years at Defence.
Dr Watt said he definitely had
thought Defence would be his last
public service position. However,
with the current Secretary of PM&C,
Terry Moran, retiring, Dr Watt was
offered what is acclaimed as the high-
est bureaucratic role in the Australian
“I don’t think you can aspire to a
job like that [as Secretary of PM&C],”
Dr Watt said.
“I am greatly honoured to be
appointed to the position of Secretary
at PM&C, but I leave Defence with
“The position of Secretary of
Defence has been both challenging
and rewarding. I have enjoyed my time
here and I will miss the people that I
have worked with during the last two
“The people of Defence, military
and civilian, achieve many marvellous
things for the country and it has been
a privilege to have been a part of that.”
Dr Watt’s successor is Duncan
Lewis, whose long and successful
career in the ADF included postings as
commander of the Special Air Service
Regiment from 1990-1992, and later
as commander Special Forces in 2001.
Mr Lewis is also well known as
the National Security Adviser and
will bring a wealth of experience to
Likewise, Dr Watt will take advan-
tage of his experience at Defence at
“I will go to PM&C with a better
appreciation of the challenges facing
major line agencies, which will help
me provide advice on whole-of-gov-
ernment issues,” Dr Watt said.
He said his time at Defence had
been “interesting, almost beyond
measure” and he was cognisant of the
challenges he left behind.
“You work for a terrific organi-
sation. There’s some big challenges
ahead, but I ask you to grasp those
challenges and Defence will be a bet-
MOVING ON: Dr Ian Watt is stepping down as Secretary of Defence to
take on the top bureaucratic role at the Department of Prime Minister
and Cabinet and, inset, Dr Watt and former CDF ACM Angus Houston
on a visit to HMAS Parramatta in 2010.
Photos: SGT Ricky Fuller and ABET Nathan Jeal
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