Royal United Services Institute of Australia

United Services Institute of the Australian Capital Territory

Our Next Event

Thursday 9 May 2019

AM Leo Davies AO, CSC was appointed Chief of Air Force on 4 July 2015 and is scheduled to complete his appointment in July 2019. During his tenure, the Royal Australian Air Force has contributed significantly to combat operations in the Middle East and continued its trajectory of major modernisation, including taking delivery of the first Joint Strike Fighters. In this presentation, AM Davies will reflect on his time as a senior leader in the RAAF, including his time as Chief.

The presentation will be held in the Spender Theatre at the Australian Defence College, Weston Creek, commencing at 1800 hours. Members and guests are invited to join us for networking in the ADC Mess from 1700 hours.

Attendance at this event is free but registration is required. You can register here or by contacting Mickey in our office (T: 02 6266 3446; E:

Members and guests are reminded that photo ID is required for access to the Weston Creek campus.

The USI of the ACT speaker program is proudly sponsored by pwc.

(Photo and bio: Defence)

Our Last Event

Thursday 11 April 2019

On Thursday 11 April, our 2018 Leo Mahony Bursary winner, Ms Natalie Sambhi, provided 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 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 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.

Our speaker program is sponsored by pwc.  

President's Message

Major General Mike Crane DSC & Bar AM (Retd)

The USI of the ACT is committed to presenting a compelling program of activities, delivering value for stakeholders, and modelling best-practice governance.

In 2019, we will explore the theme of Defence Capability. VCDF, VADM David Johnston AO, RAN, opened the batting on 7 February, and we have a range of other related events planned over the course of the year. We will also host our 2018 Leo Mahony Bursary winner, Natalie Sambhi, the Chief of Air Force and the Chief of Navy. We plan to have another agency head as the speaker for our Annual Members' Dinner in September and we are looking hard at options for the 2019 ACT Blamey Oration.  All in all, 2019 shapes as another terrific USI year.

From a Council point of view, 2019 sees us well into our 2016-2021 Strategic Plan. The Council is well satisfied with progress against the Plan's objectives and will continue to consolidate governance reform. 2019 will also see some Council renewal, with both your President and Deputy President standing down at the end of mandated tenure. Planning is well underway to identify successors and we anticipate a smooth transition and continuing success under new leadership.

About the USI of the ACT

The United Services Institute of the Australian Capital Territory (USI of the ACT) is an independent, not-for-profit, incorporated association, part of a wider network of similar state and territory organisations operating under the umbrella of the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies - Australia. Our aim is to promote understanding of national security and defence issues. Membership is open to all who have an interest in national security and defence. We host a program of guest speaker presentations, usually once each month, and offer an annual bursary to an ACT-based doctoral scholar.  

Our Patron is Major General the Honourable Michael Jeffery AC, AO (Mil), CVO, MC (Retd).  You can read his biography here.

Our next speaker can be found at "What's On", and a record of previous presentations can be found under "Transcripts" and Past Events.

Not a member?

Membership can be made through the website. Please click on the side up button opposite.

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Contact details:
USI of the ACT is located in Canberra. For further information please contact:

Secretary USI of the ACT Inc.
CP3-1-157 Campbell Park Office


Mail address: 
Australia Post Mail to:
CP3-1-157 PO Box 7912 CANBERRA BC ACT 2610

Membership and Treasurer enquiries:

Tel: 0410 496 721


ABN: 69 739 962 119


Rolls-Royce generously supports the Leo Mahony Bursary. Rolls-Royce is one of the world's leading industrial technology companies.

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L3 generously supports the ACT Blamey Oration. L3 develops advanced defence technologies and commercial solutions in pilot training, aviation security, night vision and EO/IR.

Home Affairs generously supports the Blamey Oration.

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