Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies Australia


Our 2019 speaker program is proudly sponsored by:

Thursday 11 April

On Thursday 11 April, our 2018 Leo Mahony Bursary winner, Ms Natalie Sambhiprovided members and guests with an outline of her work examining how East Timor’s 25 years as an Indonesian province is perceived in the Indonesian military (TNI). Natalie provided a fascinating overview of her research, including interviews with former serving members of TNI, observing that veterans saw their involvement in East Timor as one of liberation and assistance, with the eventual “loss” of the province explained as a consequence of political mistakes, international intervention, and the East Timorese not fully appreciating all the good the TNI had done. Natalie noted that East Timor was not taught much at Indonesia’s military academies, although it had been the subject of autobiographies by some well-known veterans, and this perspective largely formed the basis of the “collective memory” of East Timor, rather than the internationally-accepted understanding of the story of East Timor’s independence. The presentation provided a remarkable insight into an issue that is close to many Australians, while also providing a timely reminder on how this aspect of the bilateral relationship is seen by senior and influential figures in Indonesia.

The Leo Mahony Bursary is a significant element of the USI program. It is awarded annually to a doctoral scholar enrolled in an ACT university and studying in the field of national security and defence. It commemorates the memory and service of founding National Secretary of RUSI-A and long-time USI member and Counsellor, Mr Leo Mahony.

(Photo: USI; Bio: ANU)

USI of the ACT provides the Leo Mahony Bursary with the support of Rolls Royce.

Thursday 21 March

On Thursday 21 March, the Commandant of the Royal Military College of Australia, Brigadier Rupert Hoskin AM, spoke about a new body of Army work on leadership.

Noting that Army's approach to leadership is already very mature, Brigadier Hoskin observed that, in a changing world, even highly successful models must be constantly tested and enhanced if they are to remain relevant.  He described how the Chief of Army has appointed the Commandant of RMC-A as Director Army Leadership and tasked him to review the Army's leadership development model, baseline its current effectiveness, benchmark its approach against other military and civilian organisations, and implement whatever measures are required to maintain excellence.  He went on to  outline progress to date, before engaging in a robust discussion with members and guests.

(Bio: Hoskin; Photo: USI)

Thursday 7 February

Our 2019 program was opened on Thursday 7 February by the Vice Chief of the Defence Force, Vice Admiral David Johnston AO, RAN. VADM Johnston began by describing the future challenges the ADF might need to face and for which it must therefore be designed. He also stressed that in addition to the traditional environments of sea, land and air, the ADF will need to be prepared to fight in the space and cyber domains.  He described the ADF as a remarkable force with potent capabilities, but noted that expectations of it have also grown. He spoke briefly about his own role in capability development as force designer and force integrator, before touching on some of the areas in which he feels further work is needed, particularly on enablers. He concluded by underlining the importance of industry, noting the genuine strides that have been taken towards establishing industry as a true partner.

(Photo: USI;  Bio: Defence)

RUSIDSS-A Contact details:
Peter McDermott, Company Secretary. Herbert (Mickey) Michaelis,  National Support Manager and Hon Treasurer.            Queries on website and membership:

Mail address: 
CP3-1-157 PO Box 7912 CANBERRA BC ACT 2610. Telephone: 02 6266 3446.

Special Thanks: 
The RUSIDSS-A of Australia gratefully acknowledges the support of the Department of Defence for its continuing assistance.

Queries on website and membership: 
Our major sponsor, Rolls-Royce Australia, underwrites the production of this website.

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