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Warren McDonald (RAAF officer)

Warren McDonald
Born (1963-02-04) 4 February 1963 (age 61)
Hay, New South Wales
Service/branchRoyal Australian Air Force
Years of servicec. 1979–2021
RankAir Marshal
Commands heldChief of Joint Capabilities (2017–20)
Deputy Chief of Air Force (2015–17)
Air Mobility Group (2013–15)
No. 92 Wing (2009–11)
No. 11 Squadron (2007–09)
Battles/warsWar in Afghanistan
Iraq War
AwardsOfficer of the Order of Australia
Conspicuous Service Cross

Air Marshal Warren George McDonald, AO, CSC (born 4 February 1963) is a retired senior officer of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). He joined the RAAF as a 15-year-old apprentice and, in 1989, underwent pilot training. A series of squadron and staff postings in Australia, Canada and Malaysia followed, before he was appointed to command No. 11 Squadron (2007–09), No. 92 Wing (2009–11) and Air Mobility Group (2013–15). He was Deputy Chief of Air Force from July 2015 to May 2017 and the inaugural Chief of Joint Capabilities from July 2017 to November 2020.

Early and personal life

Warren George McDonald was born in Hay, New South Wales, on 4 February 1963 to George and Shirley McDonald. At 15, he joined the Royal Australian Air Force as an apprentice motor transport fitter.[1][2]

RAAF career

After ten years as an enlisted airman, McDonald was accepted for pilot training and commissioned as an officer in 1989. He was first posted to No. 11 Squadron flying the Lockheed P-3 Orion then, in 1993, was sent to Canada on exchange with No. 415 Squadron RCAF, equipped with the Lockheed CP-140 Aurora. Following his return to Australia in 1996, McDonald occupied a series of squadron and staff postings. He was appointed to No. 10 Squadron, served with the Maritime Test and Evaluation Unit within No. 92 Wing (during which he helped to introduce the Lockheed AP-3C Orion into service) and, in 2001, was promoted squadron leader and returned to No. 10 Squadron as a flight commander. This was followed, in 2002, by a three-year appointment in command of No. 92 Wing's Detachment Alpha at RMAF Butterworth in Malaysia.[2]

McDonald attended the Australian Command and Staff College in 2005 and, promoted wing commander, was posted as deputy director of Project Air 7000 Phase 1. Appointed to command No. 11 Squadron in 2007,[2] he was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross in the 2009 Queen's Birthday Honours in recognition of his two years of "outstanding achievement" in the role.[3] Promoted group captain, McDonald assumed command of No. 92 Wing in 2009 and, in October 2011, was posted to the Middle East as Air Component Commander for Joint Task Force 633 in support of Operation Slipper, Australia's contribution to the War in Afghanistan.[2]

McDonald was promoted air commodore in May 2012 and served as Director General Capability Planning – Air Force (2012–13), commander Air Mobility Group (2013–15), and Deputy Chief of Air Force from July 2015 as an air vice marshal.[1][2] He was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in the 2015 Queen's Birthday Honours for "exceptional performance of duty" in these appointments.[4] Following a reorganisation of Australian Defence Force headquarters, McDonald was appointed the inaugural Chief of Joint Capabilities on 1 July 2017 with responsibility for the Joint Capabilities Group, which includes the Australian Defence College, Joint Health Command, Joint Logistics Command, and the Information Warfare Division.[5][6] In December 2018, McDonald was promoted air marshal with effect from 28 January 2019. According to Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne, the raising of McDonald and the Chief of Joint Capabilities billet to three-star rank "was a reflection of the importance the position held in Defence", particularly since the chief is "the capability manager for the fifth domain of war—information warfare".[7]

In the 2020 Queen's Birthday Honours, McDonald was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in recognition of his "distinguished service in responsible positions as Deputy Chief of Air Force and Chief of Joint Capabilities."[8] He was succeeded as Chief of Joint Capabilities by Vice Admiral Jonathan Mead in November 2020.[9]


  1. ^ a b "Air Vice Marshal Warren McDonald". Who's Who in Australia Online. ConnectWeb. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Deputy Chief of Air Force: Air Vice Marshal Warren McDonald, AM, CSC". Our Leaders. Royal Australian Air Force. Archived from the original on 24 February 2017. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  3. ^ "The Queen's Birthday 2009 Honours" (PDF). Commonwealth of Australia Gazette. 8 June 2009. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  4. ^ "Member (AM) and Medal (OAM) of the Military Division of the Order of Australia" (PDF). The Queen's Birthday 2015 Honours List. Office of the Governor-General of Australia. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  5. ^ "Joint Capabilities Group". Department of Defence. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  6. ^ "Air Vice-Marshal Warren McDonald Heads New Joint Capabilities Group". Second Line of Defence. 15 July 2017. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  7. ^ "Joint Capabilities Chief elevated to Three-Star". Ministerial media release. Department of Defence Ministers. 17 December 2018. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  8. ^ "Queen's Birthday 2020 Honours List" (PDF). Commonwealth of Australia Gazette. 8 June 2020. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
  9. ^ "Vice Admiral Jonathan Dallas Mead". Royal Australian Navy. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
Military offices New title Chief of Joint Capabilities 2017–2020 Succeeded byVice Admiral Jonathan Mead Preceded byAir Vice Marshal Leo Davies Deputy Chief of Air Force 2015–2017 Succeeded byAir Vice Marshal Gavin Turnbull
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Warren McDonald (RAAF officer)
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