Welcome from the Rector, Professor Michael Frater

The Australian Centre for the Study of Armed Conflict and Society (ACSACS) consolidates a longstanding tradition at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) of attempting to understand and interpret the complex interactions between armed conflict and the institutions and individuals who comprise this nation.

ACSACS is a multi-disciplinary research centre at the UNSW Canberra campus located at the Australian Defence Force Academy. It utilises the strength of our academic research and draws on the University's close and unique relationship with Defence since 1967. I am persuaded that bringing together acknowledged experts in diverse disciplines can produce some really creative solutions to a variety of problems, whether questions of history or challenges in policy. That is why I am so supportive of ACSACS and its charter to facilitate scholarly output and to promote community engagement.

The main areas of present interest – which we refer to as 'pillars' – are history, ethics and economics. The history pillar examines the past but alerts us to lessons that are relevant to the present and pertinent for the future. The ethics pillar focuses on the tension between principles, policies and practicalities. The economics pillar explores the costs of armed conflict, international peacekeeping and disaster relief, and the relationship between political rhetoric and government spending in defence and security.

The fruits of the work going on within ACSACS will be shared with the Australian community through publications and presentations, and in our 'Support for Schools' program which aims to promote excellence in the teaching of history and ethics in secondary colleges in addition to the contributions of our researchers in the electronic and print media.

ACSACS also serves as a significant focal point for academic activity prompted by the Centenary of the Great War (2014-18). The ANZAC tradition is very dear to Australian society and critical to notions of national identity. Coinciding with the Great War Centenary is the 75th anniversary of World War II (2014-2020) and the 50th anniversary of Australia's involvement in the Vietnam Conflict (2015-22). ACSACS is perfectly placed to interpret these stories of local valour for the thousands of commemorations that will happen across the nation over the next decade. With its hugely significant database of 1st AIF enlistees and the operational database for the Australian Taskforce in Vietnam, the Centre is a helpful resource for those researching local contributions to the Australia's war effort.

Whether the Centre's final user is a policy maker, a current ADF member, a student or an interested citizen, ACSACS is a rich resource that UNSW Canberra offers to the nation.