Rear Admiral Simon Terence Cullen

RADM Simon Cullen

Simon Terence Cullen was born on 19 May 1959 and completed primary and secondary schooling in Western Australia before joining the Royal Australian Navy in 1977 as a Seaman Officer. After initial officer training both at sea and ashore, he gained his primary officer of the watch qualification in HMAS Brisbane in 1979.

His initial career postings were to HMA Ships Snipe, Bombard and Parramatta (III). In 1984 he undertook a posting to HMAS Stirling as the Assistant Operations Officer before commencing Warfare Officer training in the United Kingdom, specialising in Anti-Submarine Warfare.

On completion of this training, he returned to Australia to take up Anti-Submarine Warfare duties in HMAS Sydney. This was followed by a posting to HMAS Watson, in Sydney, as an instructor on the Australian Warfare Officer's course (following repatriation of the course to Australia from the United Kingdom).

Simon Cullen was selected to undertake an exchange posting with the Royal Navy in 1987, where he served in HM Ships Brazen and Penelope and on the staff of Flag Officer Sea Training. Returning to Australia in 1990, he completed the Royal Australian Navy Staff Course, at HMAS Penguin, before undertaking a posting as a staff officer in the Warfare Branch of Navy Office in Canberra. This was followed by postings as Operations Officer to Commodore Flotilla's and Executive Officer of HMAS Derwent.

On promotion to Commander in 1994, Simon Cullen was posted ashore to undertake duties as Commander Operations - West at HMAS Stirling. In 1997, he returned to Canberra as the Deputy Director of Sailor's Career Management. Commander Cullen commanded HMAS Sydney from April 1999 until November 2000, during which time the ship played an active role supporting INTERFET in East Timor and acted as the guard ship for the Sydney Olympic Games. On completion of his posting to HMAS Sydney, Cullen was promoted to Captain and was posted to Canberra, where among other duties he was the Director of Naval Communications, Intelligence, and Electronic Warfare. Captain Cullen assumed command of HMAS Albatross in late December 2002.

In May 2004, Captain Cullen assumed duties as the Chief of Staff to Commander Joint Task Force 633 in Baghdad, Iraq. Upon his return to Australia, in December 2004, he commenced a brief posting as Chief of Staff in Navy Systems Command, in Canberra, before being promoted to Commodore in 2005 and posted to Headquarters United States Central Command in Tampa Florida as the Director of the Combined Planning Group. He was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in June 2005 for exceptional service on warlike operations as the Chief of Staff in Headquarters Joint Task Force 633 and as the Commanding Officer of HMA Ships Sydney and Albatross. In August 2006, he assumed additional duties, in United States Central Command, as the Deputy Director Strategy, Plans and Policy and was subsequently awarded the US Legion of Merit.

Commodore Cullen returned to Australia in late 2007 and was appointed as the Deputy Commander of the Australian Fleet. In June 2008 Commodore Cullen was awarded a Conspicuous Service Cross (CSC) for outstanding achievement as the Director Combined Planning Group in United States Central Command. In early 2009, he moved from Sydney to Canberra to take up the position as the inaugural Director General Maritime Operations at Headquarters Joint Operations Command.

In early 2010 Cullen returned to the United States to assume a posting as the Australian Chief of Defence Force Liaison Officer to the US Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, DC. Simon Cullen was promoted to Rear Admiral in December 2010 and was transferred to Tampa, Florida where he was appointed as the Deputy Director of Operations, United States Central Command; a post he held until January 2014.

During February-August 2014 he was Deputy Commander of the Combined Task Force for Exercise Rim of the Pacific (Ex RIMPAC) before retiring from the RAN after 38 years of service. For his extensive service in key positions in the United States he was awarded a second US Legion of Merit. Since then he has been involved in a number consultancies as well as being active in the Naval Association of Australia and the Naval Historical Society of Australia.