Dr Sheridan Kearnan commenced in the role as First Assistant Secretary Defence Industry Policy on 22 January 2018. Dr Kearnan’s responsibilities include the Defence Capability and Innovation Branch, which manages a consolidated innovation program and the associated portfolio of innovation investments; the Defence Export Controls Branch, responsible for managing Australia’s export control of military and dual-use goods and technologies; and the Defence Industry Branch, which is accountable and responsible for Defence industry policy.
Prior to this, Dr Kearnan was Deputy Director of Australia’s Defence Intelligence Organisation (2017); Minister Counsellor Defence Policy at the Embassy of Australia in Washington D.C. (2014-2016) and Assistant Secretary Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan in the International Policy Division of the Australian Department of Defence (2010-2012). Before her appointment as Assistant Secretary, Dr Kearnan was Adviser to the former Minister of Defence, Senator John Faulkner. Between January 2008 and June 2009, she was Director Afghanistan in International Policy Division.
Dr Kearnan’s previous appointments also include Director ASEAN in International Policy Division (2005-2007), Director Strategic Assessments in Strategic Policy Division (2004-2005), and Senior Executive Assistant for Deputy Secretary Strategic Policy (2003). Dr Kearnan has also worked on Papua New Guinea and the Pacific in a number of areas of Defence.
Before entering government service in 1999, Dr Kearnan completed a PhD in International Relations and a Masters of Social Science (Asian Government) at the University of Queensland. Dr Kearnan also attended the 2013 course of the Royal College of Defence Studies in London.