‘Artilleryman’ takes over as the new commander for Operation Sovereign Borders – Politics
Australia has a new commander for its border operations program.
- Major General Craig Furini is the new head of Operation Sovereign Borders
- He has a long military and intelligence career but more recently has worked as an adviser to Government
- “Nothing has changed”, he claimed in his first media appearance
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has confirmed Major General Craig Furini will become the new head of Operation Sovereign Borders, taking over from Air Vice-Marshall Stephen Osborne.
Mr Dutton noted Major General Furini’s “distinguished” career with the Army and said he would start in his new position on Friday.
Sovereign Borders is a civilian law enforcement operation, but in implementing its strategy for reducing the number of asylum seekers arriving in Australia by boat, the Government has adopted military structure, language, and methodology.
Major General Furini is the fourth commander since its inception in 2013, following Lieutenant General Angus Campbell, Major General Andrew Bottrell and Air Vice-Marshall Osborne.
On leaving his post, the outgoing commander said Operation Sovereign Borders was something “we should not be complacent about”.
“The people-smuggling threat is suppressed, we certainly could not call it defeated,” Air Vice-Marshall Osborne said.
Since 2013, asylum seekers arriving by boat have decreased to almost nought, although arrivals by plane have increased.
Major General Craig Furini has warned asylum seekers not to try to reach Australia by boat. (Supplied)
Who is Mr Furini?
Major General Furini said although the program had a new head, “nothing has changed”.
“To anyone contemplating an illegal maritime entry to Australia … the message is don’t,” he warned.
“On my watch, you’ll be intercepted and returned.”
His official biography describes him as an “artilleryman”, highlighting his experience working in the military in groups that specialise in large guns.
He first joined the Defence Force in 1990, following graduation from the Royal Military College Duntroon.
The Major General has also worked in UK and Australian intelligence organisations and as an adviser to the Government, including as chief of staff to the Chief of Defence.
He was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia in 2017 for his work in Iraq and Syria.
Major General Furini holds a Bachelor of Science, Masters of Management (Defence Studies) and Masters of Arts (Strategic Studies).