Cheryl has over 30 years experience in the national security sector, including specialist Army intelligence and Defence capability and preparedness roles. Cheryl led the Department’s Global Change and Energy Sustainability Initiative from 2013-2016 and established the position of the Australian Defence Force’s Climate and Security Advisor in 2016. She was the lead author for Defence’s submission to the Senate Inquiry on the implications of Climate change for Australia’s national security.
Cheryl has also championed international, cross Government, academic and business collaborations focussed on creating a better understanding preparedness for existential risks, and exploring the systemic connections between climate change and other security risks. As the Defence partner to Emergency Management Australia she supported the development of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Framework and the co-design of the Profiling Australia’s Vulnerability Report. Under Cheryl’s leadership Defence completed a major review of Defence Mobilisation in 2019 – the first such review since Vietnam.
Cheryl has presented and participated at numerous national and international fora including the Planetary Security Conference and the inaugural international Climate Engineering Conference. Cheryl is currently a member of the Climate and Security Working Group – Asia Pacific and a Fellow of the Institute of Integrated Economic Research-Australia.
Cheryl holds a BA (History and English) and MA (Hons) in History from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. She also holds a Grad Dip in Applied Linguistics (Indonesian) from the ADF School of Languages and a Grad Dip in Management (Defence) from the University of Canberra. She is an Alumni of the Cambridge University Institute for Sustainability Leadership. Cheryl Durrant graduated from the Royal Military College Duntroon in 1991, where she was awarded the prize for Strategic Studies, Military History and Military Science and Technology.