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Issue 3 2016 Defence
32 Defence Issue 3 2016
PROUD TO SERVE
For a department secretary and commanding officer,
juggling two careers, a family and an overseas deployment
comes down to being organised
Corporal Mark Doran and Warrant Officer
Class Two Andrew Hetherington
Brigadier Kathryn Campbell,
left, chats with the Commander
of Task Group Afghanistan,
Brigadier Cheryl Pearce, at
Kandahar air base in Afghanistan.
Photo: Warrant Officer Class Two
S THE Secretary of the
Department of Human Services,
Kathryn Campbell contributes
to the health and welfare of
Australians. Kathryn did a similar
job in uniform while deployed to the Middle
East region for three months this year.
A brigadier in the Army Reserve, her
first overseas deployment was as the Deputy
Commander of Joint Task Force 633 at Camp
Baird – the first woman in the position.
Kathryn has two busy careers – one
as Commander 5th Brigade and the other
as Secretary of the department that runs
Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support.
“I’m incredibly lucky to have both jobs
as they give me the opportunity to serve
Australians,” she says.
“Like the Army, the Department of Human
Services is an operational department that
relies heavily on information technology. It
has 35,000 people working in more than 400
locations all over Australia.
“In both roles I make decisions using very
similar processes. With the Department of
Human Services, we are sometimes in the
operations centre working to solve issues in
the middle of the night. It is not dissimilar to a
As the Deputy Commander of Joint Task
Force 633, Kathryn visited ADF units in the
Middle East region.
“I was incredibly impressed to meet people
doing jobs they really enjoy. They’re performing
their roles with a sense of humour and a can-do
outlook,” she says.
“What is important is that everyone knows
their role and everyone knows there are
processes and systems and a chain of command.
Importantly, everyone also knows what we are
trying to achieve.
“I particularly enjoyed working in the joint
environment and with members of the Navy and
Air Force because I didn’t know much about
them before I deployed,” she says.
Working with enthusiastic personnel
“They were out there doing their best, so
therefore it was up to me to ensure the resources
and support was there for them to do their jobs,”
“It is the same in Australia, as I have a lot
of junior staff who are supporting Australians
who may be facing difficult circumstances and
life events. They also need resources and good
leadership so they can do their job.”
She describes her time in the Middle East as
“definitely a self-development opportunity”.
“It was also good to gain a greater
understanding of the situation in Afghanistan
and Iraq and the important role Australia is
playing,” she says.
What surprised her most was how much she
enjoyed the work.
“I love my normal job, but it was hard to
come home,” she says.
“I have been a public servant and an Army
officer for 28 years, so my careers have run a
“The military has given me a disciplined
approach, which allows me to focus on decision
making and a structured framework, thinking
logically and developing options.
“I have learnt not to run with the first idea I
get and to work out the best course of action.”
What she has learnt from the APS that
benefits her military career is a broader
understanding of government and the ability to
see where Defence sits within the wider frame.
“Skills such as consultation and stakeholder
management work differently in the APS, as I
can’t just order people around,” she says.
“I need to entice them to follow me or
encourage them with a different type of
leadership. It also applies to my Army Reserve
role as I am fighting for people’s spare time, so
I have to discover what motivates them to want
to be there.”
Kathryn says while it is normal for women
to be in the ADF, it is important for all coalition
forces to show Afghan and Iraqi people it is a
part of our culture.
“We know that having women in the ADF
brings diversity in thinking and culture and is
truly representative of the people of Australia,”
“There are different cultural norms in
Afghanistan and Iraq, but we can continue to
encourage them by providing an example.
“I attended a graduation ceremony at the
Afghan National Army Officers Academy
where I saw young women commissioned,
which was fantastic to see.
“I also had some interesting chats
with Iraqi soldiers who had a hard time
understanding how my children were at home
in Australia without me.”
Kathryn says people look to all senior
officers as role models and women look
to female senior officers to see how they
manage work and life.
“Because I am also a mother, people also
look to me to see how I manage my different
roles,” she says. “It is very important to me to
show I have two great careers, have great fun
doing them and that it is worth working hard
while not sacrificing having a family.”
“I’M INCREDIBLY LUCKY
TO HAVE BOTH JOBS
AS THEY GIVE ME THE
SECRETARY OF THE HUMAN
SERVICES DEPARTMENT AND
ARMY RESERVE BRIGADIER
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