Ms Katja Theodorakis

PhD Candidate
School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Katja is a national security professional and PhD Candidate at HASS, with particular expertise in the areas of terrorism/extremism, jihadism and the propaganda dynamics of asymmetric conflict. Her doctoral thesis examines the moral dimensions of insurgent propaganda narratives and their strategic use in information operations. She is a member of the Future Operations Research Group and co-founder of the associated Women in Future Operations Platform. In her day job, Katja is a Senior Program Coordinator for Foreign/Security Policy and Analysis at the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation’s Regional Program Australia and the Pacific in Canberra. Here, she works on topics like cybersecurity, European defence/security matters, the wider strategic relations in the Asia-Pacific and the field of terrorism/extremism. She regularly publishes and presents at seminars, conferences and consultancy courses and appears on national TV and radio for commentary. Katja has previously taught and tutored courses on Middle East Politics, International Terrorism, and Propaganda in Cyberspace at the Australian National University and the Australian Graduate School of Policing and Security at Charles Sturt University.

A key premise underpinning Katja's work is to look beyond technocratic, rational-actor approaches and consider the nature of the human element more fully. Especially as future conflict is anticipated to take place in more 'foggy' environments, her research seeks to inform the understanding of so-called information warfare by drawing out variables relevant to the future operating environment. Her publications include Cybersecurity in a Contested Age, an analysis of The Marawi Crisis: Urban Conflict and Information Operations or Soft Power Thoughts for an Evolving Threat Paradigm.

Katja has lived in the Middle East, where she was engaged in educational projects and NGO work in Syria during the early years of Bashar al-Assad’s presidency. She holds a First-Class Honours degree in International Development from the Australian National University, was recipient of several scholarships including an Australian Government Research Training PhD Scholarship, and has been awarded the 2016 ANU Media and Outreach Award as Emerging Media Talent.

'Turning Clausewitz on his Head? Soft Power Thoughts for an Evolving Threat Paradigm’, (September 2019), Australian Army Research Centre’s Land Power Forum Blog: ‘

 ‘Problems Without Passports?’ , ASPI Strategist (October 2019),

'Shifting frontiers: addressing post-caliphate terrorism dynamics', (October 2019), ASPI Special Report Australian Strategic Policy Institute  (w. Dr Isaac Kfir),

 ‘The Marawi Crisis: Urban Conflict and Information Operations’ (July 2019),  ASPI Special Report, Australian Strategic Policy Institute, (co-authored with Dr. Charles Knight),

‘Cybersecurityin a Contested Age: Geopolitical Challenges and Opportunities for Australia and Germany, (June 2019), PeriscopeOccasionalAnalysisPaperSeriesVol.2, (co-authored with Dr. Clint Arizmendi),

‘The Battle of Marawi, One Year On’, (October 2018), StrategistSpecialReport, AustralianStrategic PolicyInstitute, (co-authored with Dr. Charles Knight),

‘Us as the Enemy: Jihadism and the Strategic Narrative of Anti-Westernism’, (January 2019), Australian Army Research Journal, Volume 14, Number 3, Army in Motion Edition,

Transformingthe New Threat Landscape: The 3rd ASPI-KAS Australia-Europe Counter-Terrorism Dialogue’, (February 2018), ASPISpecialReportAustralianStrategicPolicy Institute, (co-authored with Dr. Isaac Kfir)

 ‘Blurred Lines? Options for Security and Immigration in Europe’, (February 2017), Divergent Options,

 ‘Attitudes to National Security: Balancing Safety and Privacy’, (October 2016), ANUPoll July 2016,Report No.22. (co-authored with Prof. Amin Saikal and Dr. Jill Sheppard),

 ‘Orlandoandthe New ‘Selfie Generation’ Jihadists’, CAISBulletin, Vol. 1. (July 2016)

 ‘Air-strikes Alone Won’t Solve the Syrian Crisis’ (co-authored with Prof. Amin Saikal), ABC The Drum, September 18, 2015,