Royal United Services Institute of Australia

United Services Institute of the Australian Capital Territory

Our Next Event

Thursday 19 April 2018

Deborah Jeppesen: Are we influential? Examining the attributes which make military advisors effective in Train Advise Assist roles

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.

Connecting recipients with USI members is an important element of the Bursary.  We achieve this in a number of ways: recipients are presented with their award at our Annual Members Dinner; appointed Honorary members for 12 months; and invited to attend our events and functions. They are also asked to give a presentation on their work.

The Council is delighted to announce that our 2017 winner, Ms Deborah Jeppesen, will present on her work on Thursday 19 April 2018.  Please note this is a further change of date from our originally published program, due to availability of the theatre.

Deborah is investigating the attributes of military advisors that lead to success in Train Advise and Assist (TAA) roles. Her focus is predominantly on Afghanistan and Iraq, but she has also interviewed Vietnam veterans and allied security force advisors and senior commanders commanders in order to expand the applicability of her research. Deborah is focused on how interpersonal factors and emotional self-regulation can assist in building mentoring relationships. Concurrently, Deborah has designed and delivered bespoke performance optimisation training to Australian Special Forces based on her research. This training is aimed at improving commando capacity to regulate emotion & physiological responses to improve performance under pressure while building resilience. 

The presentation will be held in the Spender Theatre, Australian Defence College, Weston Creek, commencing at 1800 hours. The ADC Mess will be open for networking from 1700 hours. Register on the website or by contacting Mickey in the office (T: 6266 3446; E: Please join us for what promises to be a fascinating evening.

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

(Photo: Jeppesen)

Our Last Event

Thursday 5 April 2018

On Thursday 5 April 2018, the ADF's Commander Joint Health and Surgeon General, Air Vice Marshal Tracy Smart AM, addressed members and guests on the ADF's health support arrangements in peace and war.

In a wide-ranging presentation, AVM Smart described how the ADF health support system works, her dual role as CJ Health and Surgeon General, the evolution of Joint Health Command, the range of challenges she confronts and her approach to addressing those challenges. You can find the slides for the presentation here.  A short video on Joint Health Command can be found here

AVM Smart took the opportunity to debunk a number of myths that surround ADF health support, including on mental health issues, outsourcing of aspects of health support and privacy of patient information. She also touched on the challenges arising from the use of "free medical and dental" as a Defence advertising button, including managing expectations about the standard of health care that will be provided, and getting members to value a service that is provided to them free (eg in just six months in 2017, a staggering $0.5 million was wasted paying for specialist appointments that members failed to attend).

(Photo: USI; Bio: Defence)

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 2018, we will explore in some detail the new Department of Home Affairs: how it came about, views on whether it is necessary, how it is shaping up, and what is hoped for its future.  We begin on 8 February with an academic perspective provided by Professor John Blaxland from ANU, and over coming months we plan to present a range of practitioner views.  Beyond that theme, we hope to present several senior officials and ADF officers to hear updates on their agencies.  In May, our 2017 Leo Mahoney Bursary winner, Deborah Jeppesen, will brief members and guests on her work following her coming research trip to the United States. And we will continue to seize opportunities to engage other relevant speakers as they arise. Finally, we are in the early stages of securing more high-profile speakers for our Members' Dinner and the ACT Blamey Oration.  So there's a strong program in prospect.  Please keep an eye on the website and watch our newsletters for further details.

From a Council point of view, 2018 shapes as another year of consolidating the changes we have made to our governance. We continue to work hard to implement the reforms identified in our 2015 strategic review.

About the USI of the ACT

The United Services Institute of the Australian Capital Territory (USI of the ACT)  aims 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.

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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:

LTCOL Richard Maurice
Secretary USI of the ACT Inc.
CP3-1-155 Campbell Park Office

(membership and all other)

Mail address: 
Australia Post Mail to:
CP3-1-155 PO Box 7912 CANBERRA BC ACT 2610

0410 496 721 Treasurer

for Membership Inquiries
0477 358 580 Secretary

Special Thanks: 
The RUSIDSS-A 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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