Australia, its allies and partners need to maintain their security edge in a period of rapid geopolitical change and technological disruption. The number one national defence priority, deterring aggression and coercion, depends on it. Stay ahead of the debates of the decade with the 2023 ASPI Conference.Buy Tickets
Our region and our world are in a period of major strategic disruption, with China’s rise creating instability in the Indo-Pacific and Russia’s illegal war against Ukraine bringing catastrophic war to Europe for the first time in decades. Effective deterrence, built upon a strong Australian Defence Force that works closely with allies and partners, will be a vital part of ensuring a sustainable strategic balance in the Indo-Pacific.
The simultaneous disruptive power of rapid changes in technology carries risks and opportunities for Australia and its partners as they invest in superior capabilities and look to integrate those capabilities into a seamless force.
How Australia harnesses all elements of its national power - military, technological, industrial, economic and diplomatic - is a vital conversation to which our conference will make a lasting contribution.
The conference will bring together Australian government ministers, senior defence officials, leading industry figures, and international experts to tackle these challenges, and explore key trends and areas of innovation.
As one of the most highly-anticipated events on the calendar for the national security community, the ASPI conference will be an unparalleled networking opportunity while also seeking to inform, stimulate and generate real discussion.
The conference will include sessions on deterrence; disruptive technologies; net assessment; innovation and industry; Australia’s nuclear-powered submarine pathway; the 2024 National Defence Strategy; regional and global geopolitics; achieving an integrated and focussed force and more.
The ASPI conference will bring together Australian government ministers, senior defence officials, leading industry figures, and international experts to tackle the key challenges across defence and national security, as well as explore key trends and areas of innovation.
Please see our current speakers below, with more to be announced in the lead-up to the event.
The Hon. Richard Marles MP is the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, Minister for Defence and the Federal Member for Corio.
Richard was first elected to the House of Representatives for Corio, Victoria in 2007.
Richard's previous ministerial appointments include Minister of Trade, Minister for Employment, Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, Parliamentary Secretary for Innovation and Industry, and Chair of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Affairs.
Born in 1967, Richard was raised and educated in Geelong and went on to study Law and Science, achieving a LLB (Hons) and a BSc from the University of Melbourne.
Richard lives in Geelong with his wife Rachel and has four children, Sam, Isabella, Harvey and Georgia. He is a devoted Geelong Cats supporter, golf fanatic, a keen photographer, a snowdome collector and local history enthusiast.
Pat Conroy grew up on the New South Wales Central Coast and went to school at Gosford High School. He studied economics at the University of Sydney and graduated with honours in 2000. While studying he worked part-time as an electorate officer for the Hon. Anthony Albanese.
After university he worked as an industrial and policy organiser for the forestry division of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union and then as a policy adviser to Senator George Campbell. Mr Conroy was the national economist for the Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union from 2004 to 2008. From 2008 to 2013 he was Principal Policy Adviser and Deputy Chief of Staff to the Hon. Greg Combet, AM, MP, who served as a Minister in the Rudd and Gillard Labor Governments. In these roles Mr Conroy worked in developing significant policies in areas as diverse as defence procurement, climate change and energy, and industry and innovation.
Mr Conroy was elected to the House of Representatives as the Member for Charlton in 2013 and, following an electoral redistribution, as the Member for Shortland in 2016 and again in 2019 and 2022. His Parliamentary service has included Deputy Chair (Senior Opposition member) on the Joint Public Accounts and Audit Committee, Deputy Chair of the House Environment and Energy Committee, Deputy Chair of the House Privileges Committee and as a member of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics.
From 2016 to 2019 Mr Conroy was Shadow Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy and Shadow Assistant Minister for Infrastructure. In 2019 he was appointed Shadow Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Shadow Minister Assisting for Defence and Shadow Minister Assisting for Climate Change and Energy.
Following the election of the Albanese Labor Government in May 2022, he was appointed as Minister for International Development and the Pacific and Minister for Defence Industry.
Mr Conroy is married with two children and lives in his electorate of Shortland, which covers the Eastern Lake Macquarie area and the Northern Central Coast.
General Angus Campbell joined the Australian Army in 1981, graduating from the Royal Military College - Duntroon in 1984. He was assigned to the Royal Australian Infantry Corps and initially served as a platoon commander in the 3rd Battalion (Parachute), The Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR).
He then served in troop and squadron command appointments within the Special Air Service Regiment. In 2001 he was appointed the Commanding Officer of the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (2RAR). While in command, the battalion group deployed to East Timor, as a component of the United Nations Transitional Administration East Timor.
General Campbell has also served in a range of staff appointments including as Aide-de-Camp to the Chief of Army, as a strategic policy officer in Army Headquarters, an instructor at the Australian Command and Staff College and as Chief of Staff to the Chief of the Defence Force.
In late 2005, he joined the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet as a First Assistant Secretary to head the Office of National Security and was subsequently promoted to Deputy Secretary and appointed to the position of Deputy National Security Adviser. In these roles he was responsible for the preparation of advice to the Prime Minister on national security matters and coordinating the development of whole-of-government national security policy.
Upon his return to the Australian Defence Force in early 2010 he was appointed to the rank of Major General and led the Military Strategic Commitments staff in Defence headquarters until January 2011, when he assumed command of Australian forces deployed in the Middle East Area of Operations. He subsequently served as Deputy Chief of Army from February 2012 to September 2013, when he was promoted to Lieutenant General to command the Joint Agency Task Force responsible for the implementation of Operation Sovereign Borders.
On 16 May 2015, he was appointed Chief of the Australian Army. General Campbell was subsequently promoted and appointed to command of the Australian Defence Force on 7 July 2018.General Campbell holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) from the University of New South Wales, a Master of Philosophy in International Relations from Cambridge University and he is a graduate of the Australian Army Command and Staff College.
General Campbell’s hobbies include hiking, distance running, military history and gardening. He is married to Stephanie and they have two adult children.
Dr Ross Babbage is Chief Executive Officer of Strategic Forum Ltd, a not-for-profit organisation committed to fostering high-level discussions and debates on the primary security challenges confronting Australia and its close allies.
Dr Babbage is also a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) in Washington DC. In addition he is Managing Director of Strategy International (ACT) Pty Ltd, a national security consulting and education service delivery organization.
Dr Babbage served as a special advisor to the Minister for Defence during the preparation of the 2009 Australian defence white paper. He also served on the Council of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London for a maximum six-year term.
Dr Babbage served for 16 years in the Australian Public Service holding several senior positions, including Senior Strategic Analyst in the Office of National Assessments, and leading the branch in the Department of Defence responsible for ANZUS policy. Dr Babbage was Assistant Secretary, Force Development in the late 1980s, carrying responsibility for the analysis of all major defence capability proposals and the preparation of recommendations for the senior Defence committees and for Cabinet.
Through the 1990s, Dr Babbage moved to the corporate sector, working with the team that reformed and re-shaped the Office of Defence Production with its loss-making, government-owned defence factories. What emerged was a modern, profitable corporation known as ADI Limited that grew to become Australia’s largest defence company.
Dr Babbage has served a period as Deputy Head of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University (1987-1990) and also a period as Head of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre (2001-2003).
As Founder, Chair and CEO of the Kokoda Foundation, he designed, developed and organized the first high-level Strategic Dialogues between Australia and the United States and subsequently he organized the first trilateral Strategic Dialogue between Australia, the United States and Japan.
Dr Babbage has Bachelor and Master degrees in economics from the University of Sydney and a PhD in International Relations from the Australian National University. Amongst his publications are: Game Plan: The Case for a New Australian Grand Strategy (Menzies Research Centre, Canberra, 2015), Countering China’s Adventurism in the South China Sea – Strategy Options for the Trump Administration (Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments and Strategic Forum, Washington D.C. 2016) Winning Without Fighting: Chinese and Russian Political Warfare Campaigns and How the West Can Prevail (Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments and Strategic Forum, Washington D.C.,2019), Stealing a March: Chinese Hybrid Warfare in the Indo-Pacific: Issues and Options for Allied Defence Planners (Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments and Strategic Forum, Washington D.C.,2019) and Which Way the Dragon? Sharpening Allied Perceptions of China’s Strategic Trajectory, (Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments and Strategic Forum, Washington D.C., 2020).
Dr Babbage’s most recent book is: The Next Major War: Can the US and its Allies Win Against China? (Cambria Press, New York, 2023).
Dr Babbage was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia on 26 January 2011.
Tech start-up investor Steve Baxter is a proud Queenslander, born in the remote town of Cloncurry and raised in Emerald in the State’s central highlands. In 1994, at the age of 23, Steve put his life savings of $11,000 on the line to launch his first start-up, the pioneering internet service provider SE Net, from the spare room of his Adelaide home. Servicing more than 35,000 customers, SE Net was eventually acquired by Ozemail/UUNet under the stewardship of its founding Director and Former Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull. In 2001, Steve teamed with a schoolmate to launch his second start-up, PIPE Networks, a provider of wholesale telecoms infrastructure that was listed on the ASX in 2005. Eight years later they sold it to the TPG Group for $373 million. Steve spent a year working with Google in California in 2008, leading a project to deliver high-speed telecommunications systems across North America. Steve is now the Co-founder and Executive Chairman of TEN13, Australia’s leading tech startup investment platform, and Founder and Lead Investor with Beaten Zone Venture Partners which is dedicated to early stage investments in Australian sovereign legal defence technology.
Lieutenant General Greg Bilton is the Chief of Joint Operations at Headquarters Joint Operations Command. He is responsible for ADF Operations and Joint exercises both domestically and internationally as directed by the Chief of the Defence Force in order to achieve Government strategic priorities. In executing this mission, Lieutenant General Greg Bilton is responsible for the planning, control and conduct of all Australia’s military campaigns, Operations, joint exercises and other activities in order to meet Australia's national objectives.
Lieutenant General Bilton was born in Melbourne, Australia. After completing his secondary education at Melbourne High School he entered the Royal Military College in 1983 and graduated to the Royal Australian Artillery in 1986. He completed regimental appointments as a Lieutenant and Captain in the 1st and 4th Field Regiments, the 8th/12th Medium Regiment and the School of Artillery.
Lieutenant General Bilton has held command appointments as Battery Commander 104th Field Battery, Commanding Officer 4th Field Regiment, Commander 7th Brigade, Deputy Commanding General United States Army Pacific, Commander Forces Command and Deputy Chief of Joint Operations. He has served in staff appointments in the Directorate of Officer Career Management, the Directorate of Force Structure (Army) and as Director General Development and Plans (Army). He has also been an instructor at the Australian Command and Staff College. Lieutenant General Bilton deployed on Operation MAZURKA in 1993 to the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) Headquarters. In 2008, he deployed on Operation SLIPPER as Deputy Chief of Staff for Security Sector Reform on Headquarters Regional Command South, Afghanistan. Lieutenant General Bilton is a graduate of the Long Gunnery Course at the UK School of Artillery, the United States Army Command and General Staff College and the Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies, Weston Creek. He also holds a Bachelor degree in Military Studies and a Master’s degrees in Military Art and Science, and Strategic Studies. He is also a recipient of prestigious academic honours; the Lieutenant General Hans Schlup (US) award for excellence in International Relations and the Blamey Award (Australia) for Leadership.
Lieutenant General Bilton has been awarded the Force Commanders Commendation for his work on Operation MAZURKA in the Sinai, a Conspicuous Service Cross for his force structure work at Army Headquarters, the Canadian Meritorious Service Medal for his work in Afghanistan, the United States Legion of Merit and the Japanese Defence Cooperation Medal for his work at United States Army Pacific. He was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia in 2014 in recognition of his work as Director General Development and Plans at Army Headquarters and as Commander 7 Brigade, and has since been appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia for his achievements as Deputy Commanding General of the United States Army in the Pacific, Commander Forces Command and Deputy Chief of Joint Operations. On promotion to Lieutenant General in June 2019, he was appointed as the Chief of Joint Operations. Lieutenant General Bilton is married to Rachael, who is a registered nurse. His eldest son Alex is an Infantry Officer posted to the 7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, and his youngest son Nic is a Pilot in training in the Australian Army Corps of Aviation.
Alex Bristow is Deputy Director of ASPI's Defence, Strategy and National Security program.
Alex spent the last decade working in the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). This included postings to Beijing, covering human rights, and Canberra, covering Indo-Pacific policy. He has worked in national security and strategy roles in London, including at the Cabinet Office. Outside government, Alex has worked for a range of consultancies, think tanks and political offices across the UK, Japan and United States.
Alex’s D.Phil from Oxford University applied two-level game theory to the US-Japan security alliance, especially summit diplomacy, the handling of Okinawa, and declassified agreements about nuclear weapons. He was Jane Eliza Procter Fellow at Princeton University. He researched at Tokyo University with support from the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.
Alex has language skills in Mandarin and Japanese.
Gai Brodtmann is the Chair of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute council and a board member at Old Parliament House and Endometriosis Australia boards and Sapien Cyber advisory board.
She is also an occasional presenter and panellist at the National Security College and Australian Defence College and contributor to The Strategist.
Gai served as the Member for Canberra from 2010-2019. She was Shadow Assistant Minister for Cyber Security and Defence from 2016-19 and Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Defence from 2013-2016.Gai is a former member and deputy chair of the joint committees on Public Accounts and Audit and National Capital and External Territories and a former member of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade and the Defence sub-committee.
Before her political career, Gai ran her own small business for ten years and was a federal public servant, primarily with Foreign Affairs and Trade and Attorney-General’s, for a decade.
From 2000-2009, Gai consulted in Defence across a broad range of areas, including on capability acquisition and sustainment, financial and personnel management, youth development, science and technology, cultural change and diversity policy.
During her time in Foreign Affairs and Trade, Gai was posted to New Delhi and served on the Middle East desk, where she worked on the normalisation of the relationship with Iran and bilateral policy on Iraq, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
Gai’s national security policy interests include cyber security – across a broad range of fields – the Women, Peace and Security agenda, critical infrastructure, capability sustainment, sovereign capacity and community education.
Gai is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of the Public Relations Institute of Australia.
Alex is a former diplomat and national security official whose career spans over 20 years’ in Defence, the Office of National Intelligence, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Department of Foreign Affairs, including postings to Canada and Afghanistan.
Between 2019-2023, Alex was an Associate Director, Operations Advisory and Director, Policy Evaluation and Public Impact at professional services firm KPMG, supporting Commonwealth and State Governments on policy and program design and implementation.
Prior to this, Alex held various senior policy advisor roles in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s National Security Division, including Director of Law Enforcement and Border Security, Director Cyber Security Policy and Director Crisis Management. In this capacity Alex provided advice to Government on a wide range of security legislation, policy and operations, including critical infrastructure security, foreign interference, cyberspace, telecommunications security, digital identity management, intelligence and border security.
During 2011-2012, Alex was a Senior Analyst for Transnational Issues at the Office of National Intelligence, where she provided senior executives and Ministers with all-source analysis on people smuggling, regional law enforcement and transnational crime.
Alex is an Australian Defence Force Academy Graduate. She holds a PhD in International Relations from Monash University (2007).
Dr Robert Glasser is the Head of the ASPI Climate and Security Policy Centre. He was previously the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction and a member of the Secretary General’s Senior Management Team.
Before joining the U.N., he was the Secretary General of CARE International, one of the world’s largest non-governmental humanitarian organisations, with over 10,000 staff active in 80 countries. From 2003-2007, Dr Glasser was the Chief Executive of CARE Australia. Prior to joining CARE, he was Assistant Director General at the Australian Government aid agency (AusAID) where he headed the PNG programme, programmes in South East Asia, Corporate Policy, and the Infrastructure and Environment Group.
Dr Glasser’s previous work also included climate change science and policy analysis for the US Department of Energy (Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Center for National Security Studies) and research on peace and conflict issues at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University, the Cornell University Peace Studies Program and the Centre for International and Strategic Affairs at the University of California.
Dr Glasser is on the board of WaterAid Australia, the Queensland Reconstruction Authority and Inclusivo (Santiago, Chile). He was previously the inaugural board chairman of the CHS International Alliance, chair of the Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response, an Advisory Panel member of the Climate Vulnerability Monitor, a member of the Principals Steering Group of the United Nations Transformative Agenda for Humanitarian Action, and a member of the Steering Group for the World Economic Forum project on The Future Role of Civil Society.
Jennifer Jackett is working to help liberal democracies prevail as global technology leaders to maximise their prosperity and security. She is passionate about how governments can better connect national security, economic and social policymaking to advance the national interest.
Jennifer is a Sir Roland Wilson Scholar at the National Security College at the Australian National University. Her research examines the role of United States allies in US-China competition for leadership of advanced technologies using case studies of 5G telecommunications and semiconductor chips.
Jennifer is also a Non-Resident Fellow in the Foreign Policy and Defence Program at the United States Studies Centre at Sydney University. Her research interests include AUKUS advanced capabilities cooperation and defence innovation. Jennifer has been on the Institute for Regional Security’s Board of Directors since 2018.Jennifer is currently on leave from the Australian Government. She is an experienced national security adviser and leader and was most recently a Senior Adviser in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and has also held roles in the Cabinet Secretary’s Office, Department of Defence, and Office of National Intelligence.
In 2021, Jennifer was awarded the Joan Uhr prize for outstanding public policy research. In 2022, she was named a Woman to Watch by Young Australians in International Affairs. Jennifer holds a Master of National Security Policy from the Australian National University and a Bachelor of Liberal Studies with First Class Honours and the University Medal in Geography from Sydney University. Jennifer speaks Spanish and some Arabic.
Mr Jeffrey joined Defence in August 2018, as First Assistant Secretary International Policy, and was appointed as Deputy Secretary Strategy, Policy, and Industry in February 2023. Mr Jeffrey has a background in foreign and national security policy and intelligence. Prior to joining Defence, Mr Jeffrey held positons in the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Office of National Assessments.
Mr Jeffrey has had four overseas postings, including as Minister Counsellor at the Embassy of Australia in Washington DC, and to NATO in Afghanistan, where he was Senior Adviser to the International Security Assistance Force Commander and the NATO Ambassador.
Mr Jeffrey is married and has two young children.
Vice Admiral Jonathan Mead is the inaugural Director-General of the Australian Submarine Agency. Prior to taking up this position Vice Admiral Mead led the Nuclear Powered Submarine Taskforce, within the Department of Defence. The Taskforce worked with the United States and United Kingdom to identify the pathway for Australia to acquire conventionally-armed nuclear-powered submarines.
Vice Admiral Mead joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1984. On completion of initial training, he commenced Mine Clearance Diving and Explosive Ordnance training; and served as Executive Officer of Clearance Diving Team One. In 1993, he trained as a Principal Warfare Officer, which was followed by sea postings as the Anti-Submarine Warfare Officer of HMA Ships Melbourne and Arunta, and Executive Officer of HMAS Arunta.
In 2005, Vice Admiral Mead assumed the position as Commanding Officer of the frigate HMAS Parramatta. He saw active service in the North Arabian Gulf as part of Operation Catalyst, with the ship’s efforts recognised with a Meritorious Unit Citation in 2007 and was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for his exceptional service in warlike conditions. During 2007, Vice Admiral Mead undertook studies at the National Defence College of New Delhi and was appointed Australia’s Defence Adviser to the Republic of India.
In 2010, Vice Admiral Mead returned to Canberra to take up the position as Director Naval Personnel Policy. Following his promotion to Commodore in July 2011, he deployed to Bahrain as Commander of Combined Task Force 150 (Maritime Counter Terrorism) on Operation Slipper, and was awarded a Commendation for Distinguished Service.
On promotion to Rear Admiral in January 2015, he spent the next three years as the Head of Navy Capability in Canberra. From January 2018 to November 2020, Vice Admiral Mead served as Commander of the Australian Fleet. In June 2020, Vice Admiral Mead was appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia for his service to the Royal Australian Navy in senior management and command roles. Upon promotion to Vice Admiral in November 2020, he assumed the position as Chief of Joint Capabilities and Command of Joint Capabilities Group.
In September 2021, he was selected as the Chief of the Nuclear Powered Submarine Taskforce and from 1 July will commence as the inaugural Director-General of the Australian Submarine Taskforce.
Vice Admiral Mead holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations, a Master’s Degree in Management, and a PhD in International Relations. He has published a book on Indian national security.
Jennifer Parker is the Deputy Director Defence of ASPI’s Defence, Strategy and National Security program.
Jennifer has served for more than 20 years with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). During her time in the RAN Jennifer specialised as a Principal Warfare Officer, including undertaking deep specialist training with the Royal Navy in Anti-Submarine Warfare Officer.
Jennifer has extensive operational experience from the Middle East to the Caribbean, and most areas in between. She has undertaken a series of naval appointments nationally and internationally in areas including force design strategy, career management, international exercise planning and operations. That included service as an exchange officer with the Royal Navy. Before joining ASPI, Jennifer’s last appointment in the RAN was as Director of Operations in Bahrain of the Combined Maritime Forces, a 38-nation coalition promoting national security in the Middle East and Indian Ocean region.
Jennifer holds a Master of Arts in Strategy and Security from UNSW, and a Master of Laws from ANU, and she has been admitted to the ACT Supreme Court as a legal practitioner. Jennifer’s research areas of interest include maritime security, maritime law, uncrewed capabilities, force design and defence strategy.
Sarah Pavillard is the founder and CEO of ADROITA, and an ex-Royal Australian Navy Weapons Engineer. Sarah leads a fast-growing national firm delivering specialist maritime, weapons, and integration engineering and other professional services to Defence and Defence Primes, and advisory services to Australian and international firms that want to grow their defence business.
Since joining the Navy as a midshipman studying Electrical Engineering at the Australian Defence Force Academy, Sarah has gained more than 25 years of Defence experience not only as a Naval Officer but also as an award-winning consultant and business leader. Sarah has supported Defence, companies and academic institutions to develop, integrate, sustain and optimise some of the most complex materiel in service today across the maritime, C4ISREW, land and air domains. She has led Australian, American, British and New Zealand industry to mobilise into the defence sector, mobilising existing industrial capacity across sectors including heavy engineering, engineering design, artificial intelligence, complex electronics, and precision machining to strengthen Australia’s sovereign industrial capability.
As CEO of ADROITA, Sarah’s core purpose is to Engineer Success for Sovereign Capability and delivers this through partnering with employees, Defence, clients and other businesses. She continues to grow and develop a talented team of engineers, Defence and industry professionals, is investing in the research and development of artificial intelligence enabled decision support technology to deliver in-service maritime programs more bang for buck, and leads a number of industry consortiums.
Sarah was awarded 2021 Consultant of the Year in the Australian Defence Industry Awards, and was a finalist in the Engineer of the Year category of the Women in Defence Awards, with ADROITA being shortlisted for numerous industry awards. Sarah has written three White Papers, including the latest titled Micro-Partnerships in the Age of AUKUS which was launched in the US in April.
Sarah serves as a Director on the Board of the Australian Industry and Defence Network (AIDN), on the Steering Committee of the NSW Defence Innovation Network (DIN), and is a Member of the Executive Committee of the Submarine Institute of Australia (SIA).
Dr. Brad Roberts has served as director of the Center for Global Security Research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory since 2015. From 2009 to 2013, he was deputy assistant secretary of defense for Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy. In this role, he served as policy director of the Obama administration’s Nuclear Posture Review and Ballistic Missile Defense Review and led their implementation. Prior to entering government service, Dr. Roberts was a research fellow at the Institute for Defense Analyses and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, editor of The Washington Quarterly, and an adjunct professor at George Washington University. Between leaving the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 2013 and assuming his current responsibilities, Dr. Roberts was a consulting professor at Stanford University and William Perry Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC). While at CISAC, he authored a book entitled The Case for US Nuclear Weapons in the 21st Century, which won the Choice Award for Outstanding Academic Title in 2016.
B.A., International Relations, Stanford University
M.A., International Relations, London School of Economics and Political Science
Ph.D., International Relations, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
• Deterring a Nuclear-armed North Korea, May 2023
• “China’s Emergence as a Second Nuclear Peer: Implications for U.S. Nuclear Deterrence Strategy”, Spring 2023 (study report)
• “Rethinking Mutual Vulnerability in an era of US-China Strategic Competition,” May 2022
• Stockpile Stewardship in an Era of Renewed Strategic Competition, April 2022 (editor)
• Getting the Multi-Domain Challenge Right, December 2021 (editor)
• “Redesigning Nuclear Arms Control for New Realities,” ETH Zürich, Center for Security Studies, November 2021 (coauthor)
• “Orienting the 2021 Nuclear Posture Review,” July 2021 (journal article)
• “Germany and NATO’s Nuclear Deterrent,” July 2021 (research report)
Paul Scharre is the Executive Vice President and Director of Studies at CNAS. He is the award-winning author of Four Battlegrounds: Power in the Age of Artificial Intelligence. His first book, Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War, won the 2019 Colby Award, was named one of Bill Gates’ top five books of 2018, and was named by The Economist one of the top five books to understand modern warfare.
Scharre previously worked in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) where he played a leading role in establishing policies on unmanned and autonomous systems and emerging weapons technologies. He led the Department of Defense (DoD) working group that drafted DoD Directive3000.09, establishing the department’s policies on autonomy in weapon systems. He also led DoD efforts to establish policies on intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance programs and directed energy technologies. Scharre was involved in the drafting of policy guidance in the 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance, 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, and secretary-level planning guidance.
Prior to joining OSD, Scharre served as a special operations reconnaissance team leader in the Army’s3rd Ranger Battalion and completed multiple tours to Iraq and Afghanistan. He is a graduate of the Army’s Airborne, Ranger, and Sniper Schools and Honor Graduate of the 75th Ranger Regiment’s Ranger Indoctrination Program.
Scharre has published articles in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, TIME, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, Politico, and USA Today, and has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, NPR, and the BBC. He has testified before the House and Senate Armed Services Committees and has presented at the United Nations, NATO, the Pentagon, the CIA, and other national security venues. He holds a PhD in war studies from King’s College London and an MA in political economy and public policy and a BS in physics from Washington University in St. Louis.
Kori Schake leads the foreign and defense policy team at the American Enterprise Institute. She is the author of Safe Passage: The Transition from British to American Hegemony, and a contributing writer at the Atlantic, War on the Rocks, and Bloomberg.
Carley is a sought-after commercial space and strategy expert. At Space CoLAB, Carley encourages international collaboration in the space sector through the investigation of; systems that can streamline access to space, responses that address opposing narratives effectively, and, disruptive technology uses that can improve scientific and security outcomes for allied nations.
Carley is also a strategic advisor to the Victorian State Government on defence and environmental matters, particularly with a view to strategy, space, and technology innovation. Previously, as the inaugural CEO of an award winning economic development company, and later, as CEO beside the founder of ELA, Carley worked to establish the world first contract with NASA for the successful launch of US rockets and heliophysics payloads from an Australian commercial launch site in 2022. This required the import of US vehicles without a TSA, delivery of a remote site set up during a pandemic, securing land use agreements and environmental approvals alongside regulators, demonstrating her renowned collaborative leadership style and effective negotiation skills.
Carley has also been an advisor to the CSIRO Advanced Manufacturing Committee, board member of the Space Industry Association of Australia, and guest lecturer for RMIT’s rocket-science physics sessions.
Awarded Australia’s pre-eminent recognition for service with the ‘Order of Australia Medal’ in 2021, ranked in the top ‘100 Women of Influence’ by AFR in 2019/2020, and winner of the ‘Telstra Business Women’s Award’ in 2017, Carley is a recognised for her positive impacts on Australian industry and community.
A current member of United Nations Association of Australia (Victoria), the Victorian Rocketry Association, and graduate of Monash University, Carley is passionate about hands-on learning and enjoys testing model rocket fuels and airframe designs with her children on the weekends.
Andrew Shearer commenced duty as Director-General of the Office of National Intelligence (ONI) on 18 December 2020. Prior to this Mr Shearer was Cabinet Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister between August 2019 and December 2020, in which capacity he was responsible for the operations of the Federal Cabinet and committees including the National Security Committee and Expenditure Review Committee, as well as the establishment and operation of the National Cabinet.
Mr Shearer was ONI Deputy Director-General (Assessments) between July 2018 and August 2019. For the 2½ years previous he was Senior Adviser on Asia-Pacific Security at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC and Director of the Center’s project on Alliances and American Leadership. He authored and co-authored CSIS reports and other publications on a range of foreign policy, defence and national security issues and testified before the US House Armed Services Committee.
Earlier, Mr Shearer was National Security Adviser to Prime Ministers John Howard and Tony Abbott. In that capacity, he played a leading role in formulating and implementing Australian foreign, defence and security policies. He provided high-level advice that shaped Australian government decisions on engagement with the Indo-Pacific region, defence capabilities and commitments, responses to international crises and terrorist incidents, and longer-term strategic challenges.
Mr Shearer has 30 years of experience in intelligence, national security, diplomacy and alliance management. He was Political Minister-Counsellor at the Australian Embassy in Washington DC and Strategic Policy Adviser to former Australian Defence Minister Robert Hill and held positions in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and the Office of National Assessments (ONI’s predecessor). As a Deputy Secretary at the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet, Mr Shearer led the development of a comprehensive trade and investment strategy, initiating a major push to expand food exports to Asia, establishing new representational offices in China and Indonesia, and leveraging business, academic, and cultural relationships.
Mr Shearer has an international reputation as a commentator on Indo-Pacific strategic issues. He was Director of Studies at the Lowy Institute for International Policy and his analysis has been widely published in books, journals and leading Australian, US and Asian newspapers. He was awarded a UK Foreign Office Chevening Scholarship and holds a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Cambridge and honours degrees in law and arts from the University of Melbourne. He received the US Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service for his contribution to the Australia-US alliance.
Sean Singleton is Partner and Vice President of Business Development at America’s Frontier Fund, where he leads the team’s capital acquisition and fundraising activities.
Sean is the founder of Oglethorpe Capital LLC, a firm working to develop disruptive technologies in Aerospace & Defense (A&D), Technology, Media & Telecom (TMT), and Next Generation Energy (NGE). Sean gained his corporate finance and capital markets experience at J.P. Morgan Chase and NewCap Partners. Sean is a former system integrator sales executive, Air Force Officer, and Highly Qualified Expert (HQE) at the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU). In that role, Sean was the principal interface to the private equity and venture capital communities across the country.
Sean currently serves on the Board of Directors for Washington Federal Bank (NASDAQ: WAFD), Almost Home Kids, and The Brick Theater in Brooklyn, New York. Sean holds a B.S. in Legal Studies from the United States Air Force Academy and a MBA with a dual focus in Finance and Accounting from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Sean holds Series 7 and 63 licenses.
Bec is Director Defence Strategy and National Security at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, having previously been responsible for convening The Sydney Dialogue, Australia’s premier policy summit for critical, emerging, cyber and space technology.
Bec has over 20 years experience in policy, operational and corporate roles in the Australian Department of Defence and in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. She has served as senior adviser Major Powers to Australia’s Foreign Minister, and led trade and investment in the defence and space sectors in Austrade. For the last decade Bec has specialised in space policy, deterrence and advanced capabilities, including the role of commercial dual use technologies and innovation in national security.
Bec has provided high level policy advice to the Australian Government on Australia’s relations with the US, China, Five Eyes, SEA, the Pacific and on policy issues related to terrorism, insurgency, cyber, space, missile defence, nuclear and strategic deterrence and critical technologies. From 2015-2017 Bec was Counsellor Defence Strategic Policy in the Australian Embassy in Washington.
Bec is a Fellow of the Abshire-Inamori Leadership Program (2017) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC and an Alumni of the Munich Young Leaders Forum (2015). She is an Alumni of the Australian War College (2013 Defence and Strategic Studies Course) and is a Fellow of the College. She has a Masters of Strategic Studies (with Honours) from the Australian National University and a Masters of Strategic Studies from Deakin University.
Courtney has over 20 years of experience in government, industry, and think tanks in the areas of national security and deterrence in the US, Australia, and UK. Between 2015-2018 she served as the US DoD Policy Exchange Officer to the Australian DoD Strategic Policy Division.
Prior to her posting, Courtney held numerous positions in the Pentagon, to include the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review staff, and the Offices of East Asia and Nuclear and Missile Defense. She served as co-Chair the US-Republic of Korea (ROK) Extended Deterrence Policy Committee Working Group. In 2013, she was the lead author and Chief US negotiator of the “US-ROK Tailored Deterrence Strategy Against North Korean Nuclear and Other WMD Threats” – the only codified extended deterrence strategy with any US ally. Her contributions in the Pentagon were acknowledged through a US Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service in 2015.
Courtney earned a MA in Science and Security from King’s College London, and Bachelor of Arts in both Political Science and History with highest departmental honours from the University of California, Los Angeles . She is currently a Senior Managing Consultant for OCRT, a bespoke strategy, intelligence, and communications consulting firm based in Canberra.
Dr Marcus Thompson is a retired Major General who served 34 years in the Australian Army. Graduating from the Royal Military College in 1988, Marcus was allocated to the Royal Australian Corps of Signals. He served in a variety of command, regimental and Special Operations appointments including: Command of the 3rd Combat Signal Regiment; secondment to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet as the Senior Advisor Defence Policy and Operations; Director General Special Operations Capability; Commander 6th Brigade; and deployments to East Timor, Iraq, and Afghanistan. His final appointment was as the inaugural Head of Information Warfare for the Australian Defence Force.
Marcus holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering with honours from the University of New South Wales, a Bachelor of Business from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, a Master of Defence Studies from the University of Canberra, a Master of Strategic Studies from Deakin University, and a PhD in Cyber Security from the University of New South Wales. He was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Since leaving the Australian Army, Marcus has founded Cyber Compass Pty Ltd, an independent advisory focused on improving cyber security and developing sovereign Australian capability. He has worked with and supported several Australian entities, including Macquarie Technology Group, NAB, Macquarie Bank, and the Melbourne Business School. He is the Chair of the Board of Penten, the Chair of the Board of ParaFlare, and a Non-Executive Director of Bank Australia.
Andi Widjajanto, born in Jakarta, 3 September 1971, was appointed as Governor of Lemhannas RI by President Joko Widodo on 21 February 2022. Previously, he served as Cabinet Secretary during Joko Widodo-Jusuf Kalla administration (2014-2015) and Senior Adviser to President Joko Widodo's Chief of Staff (2016-2021).
With a strong background as an academic, he used to serve as a permanent lecturer in International Relations, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences of the University of Indonesia (1999-2014), and currently serves as Senior Adviser in LAB 45 with study concentration in the field of defence, international relations and cyber security.
He studied international relations and defence sciences at the International Relations, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences of the University of Indonesia, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), National Defense University di Washington D.C., and S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) in Singapore.
Dr. Isaiah (Ike) Wilson III (Colonel, U.S. Army, retired) has earned a reputation as a versatile and innovative soldier-scholar. A decorated combat veteran with multiple combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and extensive operational experience across the greater middle east, Dr. Wilson is a nationally and internationally-recognized leading advocate for change in how America understands and deals with matters of security affairs and uses of force, in times of peace and war, at a time when disruptive change continues to outpace organizations and organizational leadership ability to think and act fast and effectively.
Wilson's military career has spanned troop-leading, staff-planning, strategic advisory and teaching and research assignments, and he has published extensively on organizational politics, civil-military relations, national security (defense) policy, and grand strategy. His 2007 book, Thinking beyond War: Civil-Military Relations and Why America Fails to Win the Peace, along with his service on the 2003 Operation Iraqi Freedom Study Group, helped to increase public attention to the problems and errors in U.S. post-war planning for the Iraq War and sparked governmental movement toward policy reforms. He has been at the center of innovative planning in the future of U.S. intervention policy.
His most recent military assignment was serving as chief, commander’s initiatives group (CIG) for the Commanding General, United States Central Command (2013-2016). Working in one of the most challenging combatant commands, Colonel Wilson played a leading role in the Command’s overall efforts relating to three major named operational campaigns, Operation ENDURING FREEDOM/FREEDOM’S SENTINEL, INHERENT RESOLVE, and SPARTAN SHIELD and numerous related supporting operations, to include U.S. Central Command’s 2013 Operation NIMBLE WARNING, as well as United States Central Command’s support for the Operation RESTORATION OF HOPE Gulf Cooperative Council Coalition in Yemen, among others.
Previously, Colonel (Ret.) Wilson served as a strategic planning advisor to GEN Stanley McChrystal, COMISAF, and the ISAF combined-joint planning staff in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF) in 2009, and as chief of plans for the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and resident strategist to the commanding general, David Petraeus, Mosul, Iraq during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM-1 (OIF, 2003-04).
Dr. Wilson holds a B.S. in International Relations from the United States Military Academy at West Point, master's degrees in Public Policy and Government from Cornell University, master's degrees in Military Arts and Sciences from the U.S. Army's Command and General Staff College, School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS), and the National War College, as well as a Ph.D. in political science (Government) from Cornell University.
Prior to his arrival at JSOU and U.S. Special Operations Command, Dr. Wilson served as Director of the U.S. Army’s Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) and U.S. Army War College Press, as well as a senior lecturer with the Yale Jackson Institute of Global Affairs at Yale University. He served as professor of political science and the Director of the American Politics, Policy, and Strategy program at West Point from 2005 to 2013 and was the architect and founding director of the West Point Grand Strategy Program. He has taught at the National War College, Yale University, Columbia University, and The George Washington University. Dr. Wilson is a nonresident Fellow with the D.C. think tank, New America, and a nonresident scholar with The Modern War Institute at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Dr. Wilson is also a life member with the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the Council’s International Affairs Fellowship program selection committee.
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