Royal United Services Institute of Australia

United Services Institute of the Australian Capital Territory

Our Next Event

23 March 2017

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.

In 2016, two Bursaries were awarded, and the Council is delighted to announce that the recipients will talk about their work at the Defence College on Thursday 23 March.

Mr Cameron Hawker from the UNSW Canberra will speak on his project, Australian Prime Ministers and the Australian - American Alliance 1951 - 2001: Crisis Points and Political Decision Making.

(Photo: Hawker)

Major Leon Young, also from UNSW Canberra, will talk about his work, entitled Developing Computational Strategic Thinking Models.

(Photo: Young)

Each will speak for about 15-20 minutes, followed by questions.  Council strongly encourages all members to turn out to support this important event.  You can register here.


Our Last Event

Australia and China: conflict of interests?

On 9 March, Mr Graham Fletcher, First Assista

nt Secretary North Asia at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, addressed members and guests on Australia's complex relationship with China. In a comprehensive presentation, Graham sketched the interests of both partners and canvassed the surprisingly wide range of activities that comprise the relationship. He provided a frank personal perspective on how the relationship works in practice, and his very pragmatic approach was much appreciated by the audience.

This was the second in our series of presentations on Australia's security in the region. The next will be presented by Australian Federal Police Commissioner, Andrew Colvin APM, OAM, on Thursday 11 May.

(Photo: USI)

Prior to Graham's presentation, Group Captain Pete Mitchell DSC, OAM gave a short account of his experiences commanding 75 Squadron RAAF on operations in the Middle East in 2015. Speaking informally in the ADC Mess, Pete described vividly a day of flying operations during the tour and touched on some of the lessons learned in the deployment. He placed particular emphasis on the quality and capacity of the young men and women under his command.

Pete's presentation was our first experiment with holding an operationally focussed presentation in the Mess ahead of the evening's principal speaker. The format seemed to work well - certainly the audience responded with some sharp questions. We'll now press forward with similar presentations in the maritime and land domains later in the year.

(Photo: RAAF)

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 2016, we are trialling several changes to our speaker program, including focussing on only a couple of themes and reducing our tempo to just one presentation each month.  Our principal theme explores the impact on Defence of the First Principles Review and the 2016 Defence White Paper;  while our secondary theme seeks a better understanding of global terrorism.

2016 also sees further changes in our governance.  At local level, the Council is working hard to implement the reforms identified in our 2015 strategic review.  And nationally, we have been closely involved in helping to steer major changes to the form and governance of RUSI-A.

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.

Not a member?

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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