Major General John Frewen is a career infantry officer whose father and grandfather also served in the Australian Army. He completed his secondary education at Xavier College in Melbourne and graduated from the Royal Military College, Duntroon, in 1986. His first appointment was as an Infantry Platoon Commander in the First Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment (1 RAR). He later served again with 1 RAR as a Company Commander (including a tour as the Officer Commanding of the Australian Rifle Company Butterworth, Malaysia) and as the Operations Officer.
Major General Frewen commanded the Second Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment (2 RAR) from December 2002 until December 2004, and the 1st Brigade from October 2012 until October 2014.
In training appointments, Major General Frewen has conducted the Australian Infantry Platoon Commander's Course; been Senior Instructor of Tactics at the Officer Cadet School in New Zealand; and led the Australian Army's Battle Command Wing of the Combat Training Centre.
Major General Frewen has held a range of staff appointments, most notably Military Assistant to the Chief of Army in 2006, the Director Military Strategic Commitments in Australian Defence Headquarters in 2008/2009 and Chief of Staff Headquarters Forces Command in 2011/2012.
His operational service includes Rwanda with the United Nations in 1993/94; leadership of the regional military intervention force in support of the re-establishment of law and order in the Solomon Islands in 2003 (a force comprising 1800 military personnel drawn from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Tonga); and Afghanistan, as both the Australian National Commander in Kabul and later, in Kandahar, coordinating NATO efforts to rebuild the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police in Regional Command (South).
Major General Frewen is a graduate of the University of New South Wales, the Australian Army Command and Staff College and the US Army War College. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree and Masters Degrees in both Defence and Strategic Studies.
He was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his leadership in the Solomon Islands. Major General Frewen also received the United States Meritorious Service Medal as a Strategic Plans Officer with the Headquarters of the United States Army Pacific (USARPAC) in Hawaii. Other awards include the Army Journal Chauvel Essay Prize in 2008, a Future Summit Australian Leadership Award in 2009 and the US Secretary of Defense National Security Essay Prize in 2010 (the first non-US recipient of that award).
Major General Frewen assumed command of Joint Task Group 633 on 22 January 2017. In this capacity he is the national theatre Commander for all Australian forces deployed to the Middle East region, including Afghanistan.
Major General Frewen is married to Jenelle with two children. He is the Chairman of the Australian Services Rugby Union and his leisure interests include rugby union, surfing and reading.