Air Vice-Marshal Michael Kitcher is the new Deputy Chief Joint Operations (DCJOPS) at Headquarters Joint Operations Command (HQJOC).
Coming into the role after a United States exchange posting with Central Command, Air Vice-Marshal Kitcher is responsible for assisting Chief Joint Operations (CJOPS) with the command of ADF joint operations, directing command units and assigned forces in the planning and conduct of campaigns, operations, joint exercises and other activities.
At a change-of-command ceremony on August 12, outgoing DCJOPS Rear Admiral Jaimie Hatcher paid tribute to the personnel at HQJOC, recognising their loyal and dedicated service.
“To the staff at JOC – all of you – sailors, soldiers, aviators, public servants and our contractors, what a fantastic team,” Rear Admiral Hatcher said.
“The past two years has not just been busy – it has been constant - day, night, weekday, weekend, global, regional and especially domestic. I am inspired by you all; your commitment, your professionalism, your humanity and stamina.”
Rear Admiral Hatcher retires from full-time service after more than 35 years, which began as a midshipman at the Australian Defence Force Academy.
In the audience were his wife, Alison, and their three children, Eloise, Miles and Hugh, who he thanked for their support throughout his career.
“It is wonderful for me that they are here, among you, to share this occasion. For they, too, have made sacrifices, like all of our families, enabling our ADF to plan for and conduct operations here and overseas," RADM Hatcher said.
“Where I have ended up today surprises me, from the freckly, skinny, red-haired and awkward 17-year-old who joined in 1986.
“The Chairman of the Officer Selection Board, Captain Graham Sloper, asked me only one question – would I be willing to serve my country in war with all the potential risks to my life that entails? I replied it would be foolish of me to attend this board and not to have contemplated that possibility.”
During his career, RADM Hatcher deployed on operational service five times, including on Operation Damask I for the liberation of Kuwait, Gulf War I in 1990-91, as the Commanding Officer of HMAS Toowoomba in 2006-2007 and as Commander Joint Task Force 633 in 2018.