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Australian selected as DIA’s next Deputy Director for Commonwealth Integration

By Chasen Thoennes, DIA Public Affairs

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The Defense Intelligence Agency announced today the appointment of Maj. Gen. Michelle McGuinness, Australian Army, as the agency’s third deputy director for commonwealth integration.

McGuinness takes over for New Zealand Army Maj. Gen. John Howard, who held the position from January 2018 to January 2021.

The DDCI is the DIA Director's senior advisor on all Five Eyes defense and intelligence issues and works to increase collaboration and intelligence sharing between allies. FVEY is an intelligence alliance between the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Howard was the first DDCI from New Zealand. During his tenure at DIA, the agency increased the percentage of intelligence products releasable to FVEY partners, began co-authoring slides with FVEY partners for inclusion in the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff daily intelligence update and created the Information Sharing Working Group, a national-level effort across the five nations to address the policies and infrastructure that inhibit intelligence sharing.

“I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to serve at DIA and work in defense of all our nations,” Howard said. “I leave knowing Michelle will carry the colors faster and further.”

Prior to arriving at DIA, McGuinness was director general of counter proliferation and terrorism at the Australian Defence Intelligence Organization. She has completed several overseas assignments, including serving as the assistant military attaché at the Embassy of Australia in Washington, D.C.