Brigadier Mark Smethurst DSC, AM has today been announced by Minister for Emergency Services, the Hon. Troy Grant, as the new Commissioner of the NSW State Emergency Service.
Brigadier Smethurst has served 35 years in the Australia Army in a wide variety of operational, training and leadership appointments in Australia and overseas, including Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, East Timor and the United States.
He has spent the majority of his career as a Special Forces officer and commanded at all levels including, Troop and Squadron Commander appointments with the Special Air Service Regiment and commanded both the Special Forces Training Centre and the Australian Regular Commando Battalion, both based in NSW.
On promotion to Brigadier in 2009, he was the Deputy Commander of Australian Special Operations Command for 2 years, prior to commanding the International Stabilising Force, Special Operations Forces (ISAF SOF) in Afghanistan. Brigadier Smethurst served in the United States from 2012 - 2014 initially embedded within the United States Central Command in charge of the Coalition Coordination Centre and then at US Special Operation Command where he served as the Deputy Chief of Operations.
For the past 2 years he assumed the position of Director General Preparedness which transitioned to Director General Joint Force Analysis in Apr 2016, responsible for ADF Futures & Joint Concepts, Joint Lessons, Joint Experimentation and ADF Preparedness.
He is a graduate of the Royal Military College Duntroon, the Australian Army Command and Staff College and the Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies and holds an Arts Degree, a Masters in Defence Studies and a Masters in Strategic Studies.
In 2005, Brigadier Smethurst was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for services to operational planning in Iraq and for commanding the Special Forces Training Centre in the Hunter Valley and the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) for command and leadership as the Commander of the Special Operations Task Group in Afghanistan 2006. This is in addition to numerous other Australian and foreign citations, meritorious medals and honours for service.
Brigadier Smethurst is a dynamic and practical leader with significant experience in leading large and diverse teams in unpredictable environments. He is looking forward to working and getting to know the proud team of staff and volunteers across the State and building strong working and cooperative relationships with the NSW community and broader emergency services team to enhance crisis planning and responses in times of need.
He is married to Monique and has two teenage children.
Brigadier Smethurst will assume the role as NSW SES Commissioner on the 27th February, 2017. Greg Newton who has been the acting NSW SES Commissioner for the past 12 months, ably leading the Service through a year of significant operational activity and corporate development, will return to the role of Deputy Commissioner.
Click here to read the Minister's media release
Picture: New SES Commissioner Brigadier Mark Smethurst