Rear Admiral Michael Rothwell

Michael Rothwell entered the Royal Australian Naval College in 1983 and graduated as a Seaman Officer, later specialising as a Principal Warfare Officer - Communications. Early postings included service in HMA Ships Parramatta, Perth, Fremantle, Stalwart and Canberra. He was later Navigating Officer in the patrol boat Geelong and the frigate Canberra. Following completion of the Principal Warfare Officers course he served in the destroyer Hobart and the frigate Adelaide.

Rothwell commissioned and commanded the Mine Hunter Coastal HMAS Diamantina (2001-2002) during which time the ship was awarded the Kelly Shield for efficiency. He also commanded the Amphibious Landing Ship HMAS Tobruk (2005-2007). During his command of Tobruk the ship participated in Operations PERINGATAN (Nias Island Sea King Crash Commemoration), ASTUTE (Maintenance of Peace and Stability in East Timor), CATALYST (Security and Stability in Iraq) and SLIPPER (International Campaign against Terrorism).

He has held a number of communications and information systems specialist staff positions including Director of Maritime Communications and Information Systems (N6) in the Maritime Component at Joint Operations Command. He served as Director Information, Communications and Technology Capability Coordination (2010-11) having responsibility for a number of joint communications capabilities including satellite communications, tactical data links, high grade cryptography, deployed networks and computer network defence. Other staff appointments include Chief of Joint Operations Liaison Officer to US Naval Central Command in Bahrain, Commander Sea Training in Sea Training Group and the Amphibious and Afloat Support Group Capability Manager in Fleet Command.

In November 2013 on promotion to Commodore he assumed the role of Commodore Training responsible for the Navy’s individual and unit collective training. Commodore Rothwell was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2014 “for exceptional performance of duty as Director Information, Communication and Technology Capability Coordination in the Chief Information Officer Group, and as Amphibious and Afloat Support Group Capability Manager”.

In December 2016 he became the Director General Maritime Operations at Headquarters Joint Operations Command accountable for the planning and execution of Navy’s raise, train and sustain activities. As such he exercised operational control of those assets, was the primary maritime advisor to the Chief of Joint Operations, and often force assigned as a Commander Joint Task Force.

He completed a Bachelor of Laws in January 2002 through the Queensland University of Technology during which time he was admitted to the Golden Key International Honour Society in recognition of outstanding scholastic achievement and excellence. He was posted to Newport, Rhode Island, USA (July 2008-December 2009) where he studied at the US Naval War College. He completed a Masters of Arts in International Relations in 2010, while in the US, through Salve Regina University.

He was promoted Rear Admiral in December 2017 and was appointed Head of Information Communications Technology Operations in the Chief Information Officer Group (CIOG). In November 2020 Rear Admiral Rothwell was appointed as Commander Joint Task Force 633, responsible for command and control of ADF units and personnel in the Middle East Region.

Rear Admiral Rothwell retired from fulltime RAN service in November 2021. Rothwell was awarded a Conspicuous Service Cross (CSC) in the 2022 Queens Birthday Honours list 'For outstanding devotion to duty as the Commander Joint Task Force 633 on Operations; OKRA, HIGHROAD and ACCORDIAN from November 2020 to August 2021'.