Our Researchers


Associate Professor Deane-Peter Baker - Research Group Convenor

Deane-Peter Baker

A/Prof. Deane-Peter Baker specialises in military ethics as well as military affairs more generally. Current research includes projects focused on urban warfare, lethal autonomous weapons, special operations and moral injury in the military context. He has also addressed the question of armed contractors in military operations (what he calls 'contracted combatants') and ethics in military training and education, among other topics. He has recently held visiting research fellowships in the Institute for Advance Study at Durham University and in the Triangle Institute for Security Studies (a consortium of Duke, NC State, and UNC Chapel Hill). He is currently a Senior Visiting Researcher in the School of Security Studies at Kings College London.

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Professor David Kilcullen (Co-coordinator)

David Kilcullen

Prof. David Kilcullen is a Professor in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at UNSW Canberra, and a Professor of Practice in the School of Politics and Global Studies at Arizona State University. He is a former Australian Army officer, intelligence analyst, diplomat and policy advisor for the Australian and U.S. governments. He has published extensively on future warfare, cities and urbanization, special operations, guerrilla and unconventional warfare, terrorism, and counterinsurgency. His current fieldwork focus is on the future of African cities, the evolution of special warfare, and the application of concepts from evolutionary theory to adaptation and innovation by nation-state militaries and non-state armed groups.

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 Dr.Lewis Frederickson 

Dr.Lewis Frederickson is an RAAF officer currently serving as the Chief of Air Force Fellow at UNSW ADFA. He has enjoyed 28-years of service as an Air Combat Officer, but more so in his roles as an educator and Qualified Aviation Instructor. Lewis has an undergraduate degree in History and Literature, and a master’s degree in History. He was fortunate enough to complete his doctoral thesis on an aspect of Australia’s involvement in the Great War at UNSW ADFA. Lewis is scheduled to qualify with a bachelor’s degree in Teaching in 2019. He deployed to East Timor in 1999, and to the Multi-National Force – Iraq (2007). He was the lead RAAF Officer in the Australian War Memorial (AWM) Historical Mission to the MER (twice in 2016).Lewis's forthcoming publication, From Armageddon to OKRA, showcases the manner in which Australian air power has been applied in conflict during the last 100 years; this will be particularly relevant in the context of the nation's future strategies for the employment of air power.

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Associate Professor Douglas Guilfoyle

Douglas Guilfoyle

A/Prof. Douglas Guilfoyle is Associate Professor of International and Security Law and a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Visiting Legal Fellow (2019-2020). He publishes largely in the fields of law of the sea and maritime operations, as well as international and transnational criminal law. His publications include Shipping Interdiction and the Law of the Sea (Cambridge University Press 2009) and numerous articles and chapters on maritime security, piracy and maritime crime and naval warfare. Current projects include the protection of submarine cables during peace and war, and ‘grey zone’ activities in the South China Sea dispute.

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Associate Professor Jian Zhang

 Associate Professor Jian Zhang


A/ Professor Jian Zhang is the Deputy Head of the School of Humanities & Social Sciences, UNSW Canberra. He specialises in China’s foreign and security policies, Chinese military affairs and Australia-China relations. He is a member of the Australian Committee of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP), a member of the Executive Committee (2018-2021) of International Studies Association (ISA) Asia-Pacific and an adjunct Senior Fellow at the Institute for Security & Development Policy (ISDP) at Stockholm, Sweden. He has written extensively on Chinese foreign policy and the South China Sea dispute. His publications include Building ‘a harmonious world’? Chinese perceptions of regional order (Australian Strategic Policy Institute, 2007). 



Dr Mark O’Neill



Dr Mark O’Neill is an Adjunct Senior Lecturer in both the Public Leadership Research Group and the Future Operations Research Group in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, UNSW Canberra. Mark is also an Australian Army officer with operational experience in Somalia, Mozambique, Iraq and Afghanistan. He has been the Chief of Army Fellow at the Lowy Institute for International Policy, Joint Operations Liaison Officer to the DFAT and a lecturer at the National Security College. From 2016 to 2018 he served in the Office of the Chief of Army as Staff Officer Strategic Analysis, assisting with strategic communications, research and policy development. Mark’s wider research interests include security in sub-Saharan Africa, regional security capacity and capability building, and the development of strategy.


Katja Theodorakis (PhD Candidate)



Katja Theodorakis is a national security professional with particular expertise in the areas of terrorism/extremism, jihadism and the propaganda dynamics of asymmetric/hybrid conflict. She is a PhD candidate at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at UNSW ADFA where her (part-time) research is concerned with insurgent ideology and narratives – in particular their strategic use in information operations. Here, she is also founding member of their Future Operations Research Group, working on a Defence Strategic Policy and Intelligence Group – funded project that examines the potential impact of autonomous weapons in urban combat, including information maneuvers and the policy implications for the ADF. She is currently teaching a post-graduate course on ‘Terrorism and Propaganda in Cyberspace’ for the Australian Graduate School of Policing and Security at Charles Sturt University.



Rhiannon Neilsen (PhD Candidate)

Rhiannon is a Scientia PhD Candidate at the University of New South Wales. Her research interests include atrocity prevention, moral and political philosophy, cyberspace, and the Responsibility to Protect. In 2019, she was awarded the Barbara Hale Fellowship by the Australian Federation of Graduate Women to be a visiting doctoral student at the University of Oxford. Rhiannon has also been a visiting scholar at the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (2019). Her published work has appeared in international journals, such as Ethics and International Affairs (2020), Terrorism and Political Violence (2019), and Genocide Studies and Prevention (2015). 

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Karine Pontbriand (PhD Candidate)

Karine Pontbriand is a PhD Candidate in International Relations and Cyber Security at UNSW Canberra, and is a member of the Research Group on Cyber War and Peace. She is also a research fellow at the Research Group on Cyber Diplomacy and Cyber Security at the Montreal Institute of International Studies (IEIM). Before starting her doctoral studies, she worked as a policy analyst for Global Affairs Canada where she was focusing on the use of digital technology to advance Canada's foreign policy priorities. She has an undergraduate degree in International Relations and International Law and a master’s degree in International and Intercultural Communication (with Distinction, Highest Grade). Her main research interests are international cyber security, cyber diplomacy and cyber war and US-China cyber relations.  


Lyndsay Freeman (Major)

Lyndsay Freeman is a graduate of the Australian Defence Force Academy, where she gained a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Indonesian language from the University of New South Wales. She graduated from the Royal Military College – Duntroon as a Transport Officer where she has gained diverse experience and achievements in logistics, project management, leadership, and human resources, both domestically and on operations.

Lyndsay has been awarded the Chief of Army Scholarship for 2020, and is currently participating in the Australian American Leadership Dialogue's prestigious 2-year program for young leaders. She is studying a Master of International Development Practice, specialising in Gender, Peace & Security at Monash University. Lyndsay was recently listed as one of the ‘2020 Young Women to Watch in International Affairs’. She is passionate about the ADF’s pivotal role in women’s empowerment across the globe, and is a driver for positive change. You can find Lyndsay on Twitter: @LyndsayFreeman8.


John Spencer (US Army Maj. (Ret))


John W. Spencer serves as the Chair of Urban Warfare Studies, Co-Director of the Urban Warfare Project, and host of the Urban Warfare Project podcast with the Modern War Institute at the United States Military Academy. He served over twenty-five years in the Army as an infantry soldier to include two combat deployments to Iraq. His research focuses on military operations in dense urban areas, megacities, urban and subterranean warfare. He is an international recognized subject matter expert in urban warfare that regularly consults for United States Army Forces Command units, Training and Doctrine Command, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), United Nations, and many others military and national security organizations. His writing has appeared in New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Foreign Policy Magazine, Army Magazine, and many other publications.



 Tom McDermott (Lieutenant Colonel)

Tom McDermott is an Australian military officer and student of strategy. Over a 19 year career he has deployed widely in the Middle East, South Asia and the Asia Pacific. He is a Fellow of Kings College London and an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of New South Wales, and writes on strategy, defence policy, leadership and military ethics. He is currently the Commanding Officer of the 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment (the Queensland Mounted Infantry). He is studying for a PhD at the Australian National University, examining strategic decision-making in the Iraq War. You can follow him on Twitter via @helmandproject.’


Jenna Allen (Research Assistant)

Jenna graduated with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts - Government in 2015 from the University of Texas where she was a Jefferson Scholars Program Young Fellow and Scholarship recipient focusing on classical political theory and philosophy. She completed her final semester of undergraduate studies and a Parliamentary research internship at the Australian National University (ANU). Jenna completed a Masters of Diplomacy from the ANU and Masters of Journalism and Communications from the University of New South Wales while working in the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery and the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the ANU. She served as convener for the United Nations Association of Australia's National Conference and has edited/ contributed articles to several editions of the LexisNexis Asia-Pacific Region Rule of Law eDigest. She is now a research assistant for Dr Deane-Peter Baker.