Making a difference with his work

UNSW Canberra Academics Involved: 
Dr John Reeve

When he read the 2004 report of the Parliamentary Inquiry into Australia’s Maritime Strategy, a report that broadly endorsed the positions of the 2000 Defence White Paper, Dr John Reeve found that it quoted his own testimony extensively in justifying its findings. He was satisfied to know that his work had made a real difference. 

Reeve’s principal area of academic interest is that of early modern European international relations and warfare (c.16th to 18th centuries), focussing on the relationship between diplomacy and strategy, the interaction of domestic politics and foreign policies, great power rivalry and the financing of warfare. 

He has also written on contemporary strategic issues in the Asia-Pacific, navies and national development, the history of maritime strategic thought, maritime operations and counter-terrorism and much more.

Having been educated at Melbourne University and Pembroke College, Cambridge University, then taught for three decades at the University of Hong Kong, The University of Sydney and UNSW Canberra, Reeve has also assisted significantly in the development of the broader regional maritime strategic outlook which has marked Australian defence policy over the last two decades. 

“My involvement in strategic policy work began in 1999, when the preparatory work for the Defence White Paper was beginning. The RAN included me in strategic discussion as someone who could provide a lengthy historical perspective on current issues,” he says. 

Having retired in 2018, Reeve is now an Honorary Senior Lecturer at UNSW Canberra. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, a Member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies and a member of the Advisory Committee of the Australian Naval Review. 

Reeve’s ongoing work includes research and writing in the areas of early modern European history, Australian and international naval history, and both historical and contemporary maritime strategic issues.