Major General Mark Andrew Kelly was born in Sydney, NSW on 31 October 1956. He was educated at James Ruse Agricultural High School.
He entered the Royal Military College, Duntroon in January 1975 and graduated with the Sword of Honour in December 1978. He was allocated to the Royal Australian Infantry Corps and was posted to the 5th/7th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment as a platoon commander. He served with the Commonwealth Monitoring Force in Zimbabwe/Rhodesia during the Independence Elections in 1980. As a captain, he served in a variety of regimental, staff and training appointments including Aide de Camp to the General Officer Commanding Field Force Command, Adjutant of the 1st Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment, and as an exchange instructor at the British Army School of Infantry, Warminister,UK.
In the rank of major, he served as a rifle company commander in the 1st Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment, attended the Australian Army Command and Staff College at Queenscliff and was the Brigade Major of the 3rd Brigade in Townsville. As a lieutenant colonel he served in the Directorate of Plans and the Directorate of Officer Career Management in Army Headquarters, Canberra. He then served as the Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment from December 1995 until December 1997.
On promotion to colonel he served as the Chief of Staff of the Deployable Joint Force Headquarters in Brisbane. This posting included deploying the Headquarters to East Timor for OPERATION STABILISE, as the Chief of Staff, INTERFET. As a brigadier, he was Commander 3rd Brigade (Ready Deployment Force) from December 2000 to December 2002. He then served as the first Director of the Combined Planning Group at Headquarters US Central Command in Tampa, Florida. He was promoted to major general and assumed his present appointment as Commander 1st Division and the Deployable Joint Force Headquarters on 5 July 2004.
He received a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his service as the Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion, and as Chief of Staff of the Deployable Joint Force Headquarters. He was awarded the US Legion of Merit (Degree of Officer) for his service at US Central Command. His academic qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts (UNSW 1978), a Graduate Diploma in Defence Studies (Deakin 1990) and a Masters of Defence Studies (UNSW 1995) He is a Fellow of the Australian Defence College in Canberra. He is married to Gabrielle and they have a son, Christopher. He is a keen sportsman and his interests include Rugby, Golf, Touch and Running.