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Intelligence and security

Intelligence and security mentors

Jonathan Nicholl

Assistant Commissioner People Services, Australian Public Service Indigenous Champion
Australian Electoral Commission

A former APS graduate, Jonathan Nicholl joined the AEC in January 2016 following a career in the national intelligence and law enforcement sectors of the APS, the last 4 as a member of the SES. Career highlights include roles as a specialist intelligence advisor to a military HQ, Principal Policy Advisor to the Commissioner of the AFP, Head of a National Task Force based in Alice Springs, and as National Manager People, Finance and Integrity at the Australian Crime Commission (ACC).

Jonathan took up the role of Assistant Commissioner People Services in early 2017and is the APS Indigenous Champion for the AEC. Jonathan is an alumni of the Australia New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) and has completed the ANZSOG Executive Masters in Public Administration through the University of Melbourne. He has a genuine interest in the development of others and has been involved in mentoring programs for several years.

Jonathon Nicholl LinkedIn profile


Dominique Poidevin

Assistant Secretary Intelligence Support Branch
Department of Immigration and Border Protection

Dominique joined the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) in September 2015 as Assistant Secretary Intelligence Production. Following a restructure of the Intelligence Division in July 2016, she now serves as Assistant Secretary, Intelligence Support to Operations Branch, responsible for overseeing the delivery of direct intelligence support to border operations.

Dominique joined the Australian public service in 2005. Prior to joining DIBP, Dominique spent ten years in the Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO) in a variety of analytical, management, liaison and corporate roles. These roles included Acting Assistant Secretary for South East Asia and the Pacific; Executive Director Capability Support, overseeing tradecraft and training, intelligence production, psychological services, and service delivery relationships; Chief of Staff to Director DIO, overseeing the organisation’s customer and foreign relations, and intelligence community engagement; integrated analyst in the US Defense Intelligence Agency; DIO Liaison Officer to Op ASTUTE, Australia’s stabilisation operation in Timor Leste; and a variety of strategic analysis roles.

Dominique has a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Queensland. She is married to Mike, and has two children, Felix and Rufus.


Dr Sheridan Kearnan

Deputy Director
Defence Intelligence Organisation

Dr Sheridan Kearnan is Deputy Director of Australia's Defence Intelligence Organisation. Before her appointment as DDDIO, Dr Kearnan was Minister Counsellor Defence Policy at the Embassy of Australia in Washington D.C. and Assistant Secretary Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan in the International Policy Division of the Australian Department of Defence. In the latter position, which she held between September 2010 and September 2012, Dr Kearnan provided advice to the government and contributed to the development of policy on Australia's operation in Afghanistan and bilateral relationships with countries in the Middle East and Pakistan. 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 and in DIO.

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 - for senior Defence professionals - in London.


Brett Cox

Assistant Secretary Estate Planning
Department of Defence

In July 2014, Brett Cox was appointed Assistant Secretary Estate Planning in Infrastructure Division.  Brett has 20 years public service experience, having previously worked in different Government departments, including Department of Treasury, Prime Minister and Cabinet, Foreign Affairs and Trade, Attorney-General’s, prior to joining Defence in 2005.

In that time he has worked on a range of interesting public policy areas, including budget management, microeconomic reform, infrastructure, energy policy, irregular immigration and national security.

Brett is married with two teenage children. Brett is originally from Tasmania, and has lived in Canberra since 1990. In addition to a keen interest in a wide range of public policy, Brett is also interested in ancient history (Rome and Greece) as well as military and political history.

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Karen Dahlstrom

Director, Capability
Australian Public Service Commission