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Major General Paul Kenny, DSC, AM, DSM

Major General Paul Kenny, DSC, AM, DSM

Special Operations Command, Australian Army

Major General Paul Kenny joined the Australian Army in 1988 and graduated from the Royal Military College Australia in 1989 into the Royal Australian Infantry Corps. He subsequently qualified as a Commando Officer after successfully completing the Commando Officer Selection Course in 1994. As a junior officer his regimental service included a variety of command appointments from platoon through to unit command. He has commanded the Special Forces Training Centre (2006–07) and the 2nd Commando Regiment (2008–09). He commanded at the formation level as the commander of the International Security and Advisory Force – Special Operations Forces (ISAF SOF) in Afghanistan in 2013. He recently commanded Joint Task Force 629, which provided ADF support to the Commonwealth, States and Territories in their response to the impact of COVID-19 during 2020. Major General Kenny assumed command of Special Operations Command Australia on 27 November 2020.

His extra-regimental service has included an instructional appointment at the Command, Staff and Operations Wing as an instructor on the Intermediate Operations Course (2002–03). He has held various staff appointments; as a Lieutenant Colonel in Army Headquarters in the areas of operations and preparedness (2003–05) and on promotion to Colonel in 2010 he was seconded to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet as the Senior Adviser Defence Policy and Operations. Subsequently he served as the Director of Special Operations and Plans at Special Operations Command – Australia (2011–12). Major General Kenny has also served as the Deputy Director of Operations at United States Special Operations Command in Tampa (2015–17). Upon his return from the United States of America, Major General Kenny was appointed as Director General Special Operations and Counter Terrorism at Special Operations Command (2018–20).

He has served on multiple operational deployments; in 1998 he deployed to Bougainville as the Special Operations Liaison Officer with the Peace Monitoring Group and as a Commando Company Commander on Op Plumb Bob in the Solomon Islands. During 2002–03 he was deployed to Sierra Leone as the Senior Military Advisor to the 4th Brigade of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces. During 2005, he was deployed to Iraq as the J3 Headquarters Joint Task Force 633 (JTF633). From July 2008—January 2009 he deployed to Afghanistan as the Commanding Officer of the Special Operations Task Group – Afghanistan (TF66). Major General Kenny was again deployed to Afghanistan in November 2012 as the CJ5 NATO Special Operations Component Command – Afghanistan (NSOCC–A). He was subsequently promoted to Brigadier in May 2013 and appointed as the Commander ISAF SOF in Afghanistan. As Commander ISAF SOF he commanded 16 Special Operations Task Forces and a Special Operations Advisory Group consisting of 2231 personnel drawn from 27 nations. Major General Kenny was promoted to his current rank and took command of Joint Task Force 629 (Operation COVID-19 ASSIST) on 28 March 2020. Subsequently he was appointed Deputy Commander of the Defence COVID-19 Task Force on 06 July 2020.

Major General Kenny is a graduate of the Australian Command and Staff College (2001) and the Centre of Defence and Strategic Studies (2014). He has a Bachelor of Professional Studies (Disaster Management), a Graduate Diploma of Defence Studies, and a Master of Arts (Strategic Studies). Major General Kenny was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross for exceptionally meritorious command and leadership in combat of TF66; a Distinguished Service Medal for his distinguished command and leadership of ISAF SOF and was made a Member of the Military Division of the Order of Australia for exceptional service within Army’s Special Operations capability. Additionally, he was awarded a Land Commander’s Commendation in 2001 for his contribution to the raising of the regular commando capability; and a Chief of Defence Force Commendation for his exceptional service in Iraq as the J3 for JTF 633. Major General Kenny has also been awarded the US Legion of Merit for his exceptionally meritorious service as the CJ5 NSOCC-A and a second US Legion of Merit for his exceptionally meritorious service as the Deputy Director of Operations at US Special Operations Command.

Major General Kenny is married to Patricia and they have two adult children. His interests outside of work include a keen interest in Rugby (only a spectator these days), hiking, fishing and boating.


  • We are extremely excited to convene the community at SOF Week 2024. This convention for U.S. and International SOF will include a diverse slate of programs, to include professional development sessions, interactive discussions about the future of SOF, and an up-close view of some of the best tech available to our warfighters. GSOF looks forward to working with USSOCOM to make SOF Week 2024 an impactful event.
    Stuart Bradin
    President and CEO, GSOF


Co-sponsorship of this event does not imply endorsement of GSOF, its services, or products by the United States Government, the Department of Defense, or U.S. Special Operations Command.