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UDT 2024

Doug Theobald CSC

Captain Doug Theobald CSC

DNO-SSN AUKUS PDO COS, Royal Australian Navy

Doug joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1987 and qualified as a submariner in 1990, receiving his “Dolphins” after a remembrance service for the Australian submarine AE2, whilst transiting the Sea of Marmara following the 75th Anniversary of Gallipoli. After serving in a variety of Oberon and Collins Class submarines, he successfully completed the Royal Netherlands Navy Submarine Command Course (“Perisher”) and the United States Navy Submarine Command Course in 2000. The following year, he obtained a Masters of Management (Defence Studies), whilst attending the inaugural Australian Command and Staff Course, before assuming command of Australia’s latest submarine - HMAS Rankin.

Following an exchange position in Portsmouth, UK as part of the staff at the Royal Navy's Maritime Warfare Centre, he returned to Sydney in 2006 as the Commander, Tactical Development Group, overseeing the introduction of the ESSM onto HMAS Sydney as Test Director. Obviously spending too much time away from the submarine fraternity, he was posted as the Fleet Submarine Operations Officer in 2008 and, after a brief command of HMAS Collins, assumed the additional position of Director Submarine Operations Officer.

In December 2009, Doug left the Navy and spent nearly five years in Inverness, Scotland, owning and running a large hotel with his family before accepting a request to return and assume command of HMAS Rankin for a second time. Rankin was awarded the coveted Gloucester Cup for the most outstanding unit in the Fleet, the Platypus Cup for the highest performing submarine, the Combat System Proficiency Shield for efficiency and serviceability, and the Voyager Trophy for the highest standard in Anti-Submarine Warfare, and Doug was awarded a Conspicuous Service Cross (CSC) in the field of submarine operations and Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare training in the 2017 Australia Day Honours.

After 20 months at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, USA as the Operational Requirements Manager for both the submarine combat system and heavyweight torpedo, he returned to Australia, was promoted to Captain and assumed responsibilities as the Commander Submarine Force in December 2018. After a challenging but rewarding three years at the helm of Australia’s submarine capability, Doug arrived in the UK in December 2021, as part of the small team assisting Australia’s decision to develop a nuclear-powered submarine capability.