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2022 - Nicola Mathieson

Nicola’s thesis was on Fighter Integration and its Consequences for International Security: An Examination of Foreign Fighters in the Soviet-Afghan and Afghan Civil Wars.

This research project maps the trajectories of foreign fighters and examines how their integration into armed groups affects the future risk that they pose to international security.


As states continue to consider repatriation of foreign fighters from Syria and Iraq (and more recent conflicts), this research provides a framework to assess the types of risks that foreign fighter returnees pose.


The research draws on a database of over 400 foreign fighter veterans from the Soviet-Afghan and Afghan Civil Wars from 1979 to present and incorporates a Social Network Analysis approach.

Nicola has since been appointed the Research Director of the Global Network on Extremism and Technology in the International Centre of the Study of Radicalisation in War Studies at King’s College London.

Thesis available (here)


2021 - Rhiannon Nielsen

Rhiannon’s research topic was on cyber capabilities and how they may be used as a means of preventing and responding to mass atrocity crimes.


The Award enabled Rhiannon to travel to Silicon Valley to conduct elite, semi-structured interviews with social media representatives (such as Twitter) regarding how their corporations might help prevent mass atrocity crimes. 

Rhiannon is now a Cyber Security Postdoctoral Fellow in the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University.


Thesis available (here)



2020 - Sasha Vukoja

Sasha's PhD study, which is the first in-depth examination of how the self-reliance concept developed in Australian defence policy. He draws on declassified archival records and interviews to define the concept and articulate an intellectual framework to show how it has evolved over time.


In doing so, he challenges the dominant narrative that self-reliance developed as a political idea from the mid-1970s. In fact, the self-reliance concept was first developed by the Menzies Government and was a response to the West New Guinea Crisis in the late 1950s.


The public servants and military officers involved with that challenge later refined the concept of self-reliance as they rose through the ranks in subsequent decades. ​


Thesis available (here)

2018 - Natalie Sambhi

Natalie’s PhD thesis sought to understand the legacies of the conflict and occupation of East Timor for the Indonesian military (TNI) from 1975 to 1999.


Conceptually, it extends culturalist scholarship in strategic studies by investigating whether events such as withdrawal or defeat impact military culture, using Indonesia’s experiences in East Timor as a case study.


Understanding dominant themes in Indonesia’s military culture could provide insights into the military’s preferences, civil-military relations and its worldview, particularly relations with Australia.

ANU Link available (here)


2017 - Deborah Jeppesen

Deborah’s research investigated the attributes of military advisors which lead to success in Train Advise and Assist (TAA) roles.


While her focus was predominantly on Afghanistan, Deborah had also interviewed Vietnam veterans, allied security force advisors from the US and UK who participated in other military operations, and interviewed personnel who have deployed to Iraq. Deborah focused on how interpersonal factors and emotional self-regulation can assist in building mentoring relationships or cause them to fail. Her aim was to interview a cross section of advisors in TAA roles to explore how advising is experienced. Her data provided a firm foundation for ADF senior leaders to consider the selection and training of personnel deployed in advisory, humanitarian or diplomatic roles.

Thesis available (here)

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