We are working with a strong cohort of national security experts, leaders, diplomats, public servants and young professionals to deliver the ACSS. We will update this page as more mentors sign on.


Patron of the ACSS

Admiral Chris Barrie has worked at an elite level in government as the Chief of The Australian Defence Force (CDF). He is an expert in strategic Leadership and continues to teach and mentor the next generation of leaders in complex and diverse organisations. As CDF he played a key role in the international operation to secure East Timor and provided specialised security support for the Sydney Olympic Games (2000). He served in the Royal Australian Navy for 42 years and advised the government about specific roles for Australia’s armed forces after the 9/11 tragedy.

Since retiring, Admiral Barrie has worked on strategic leadership issues as consultant, teacher and mentor at Oxford University, the National Defence University in Washington DC, and at the Australian National University.


ACSS Lead Academic Consultant

Dr Dominique Dalla-Pozza is a senior lecturer at the ANU College of Law working in the fields of Australian National Security Law and Australian Public Law. Dr Dalla-Pozza has been an ardent champion of the ACSS since its conception. She is providing the ACSS team with a combination of logistical and academic assistance, particularly in the development of the simulations. She ​has an interest in crisis simulation development, ​particularly after helping to prepare a team of ANU students to attend a national security crisis law simulation held at Georgetown University in Washington DC in 2018.


Richard Rowe PSM is a Special Counsel with Lexbridge Lawyers. Richard has enormous breadth and depth of experience across public international law having worked in this field for over four decades, particularly during his career in the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He was the Department’s Senior Legal Adviser with overall responsibility for the International Legal as well as the Corporate Law areas. He was also Head of the International Organisations and Legal Division and the Pacific Division in the Department.

He has been Ambassador to Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and he also served in senior positions in Australian Missions in New York, Geneva, Noumea, London and Hanoi.


John Blaxland is Professor of International Security and Intelligence Studies. He is a former Head of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University and is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a Fellow of the Royal Society of New South Wales, and the first Australian recipient of a US Department of Defense Minerva Research Initiative grant examining great power contestation in Southeast Asia.


Professor Medcalf is the Head of the National Security College (NSC) at the Australian National University.

His extensive professional background includes thirty years of experience across intelligence analysis, diplomacy, think tanks, academia and journalism. He is also the founding Director of the International Security Program at the Lowy Institute from 2007 to 2015.


Ambassador for Arms Control and Counter-Proliferation for Australia. DFAT First Assistant Secretary – International Security Division. Former Australian Ambassador to the Philippines & ACSS Mentor


Chair of the 50/50 by 2030 Foundation. Award winning journalist. ABC TV News Anchor 2001 – 2016. Passionate advocate for women’s rights and gender equity & ACSS Mentor.

An award winning journalist and social commentator on women, power and leadership, Virginia’s views on gender, inclusion and diversity are widely published. Her extensive media career spans 30 years, in which she has reported around the globe for primetime current affair programs on Channel 7, the 9 Network, and ABC TV. She anchored the ABC’s flagship TV News in Canberra from 2001-2016. Her book ‘Wonder Woman: the myth of ‘having it all’, was launched in a live broadcast at the National Press Club.


James Batley joined Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs in 1984. In the early part of his career he was posted to Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. From 1997-1999 he was Australia’s High Commissioner to Solomon Islands. During this time he also served two terms as the senior Australian civilian member of the Bougainville Truce Monitoring Group and the Bougainville Peace Monitoring Group.


Daniel Liddell is the Head of Business Resilience for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, with responsibility for Group-level crisis management and business continuity within Australia’s largest financial institution and it’s entities in Asia, Europe, North America and New Zealand. He has held similar roles at Origin Energy and Qantas Airlines, with 12 years practical experience in planning for, and responding to large scale crisis events impacting corporate entities including natural disasters, IT outages, terrorist attacks, cyber-security and privacy issues.

Daniel is currently also co-chair of the Banking and Finance Sector Group of the Trusted Information Sharing Network (TISN), the Australian Government’s primary engagement mechanism for business-government information sharing and resilience-building initiatives on critical infrastructure.

Prior to these roles, Daniel was an Australian Army Intelligence officer serving on multiple overseas deployments in East Timor, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Afghanistan, and supporting counter-terrorism security operations for the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games. He is a graduated of the Australian Defence Force Academy and the Royal Military College – Duntroon.


Professor Rob McLaughlin is Professor of Military and Security Law at UNSW Canberra, and Professor at the Australian national Centre for Oceans Research and Security. Prior to taking up this appointment he was on the faculty of the College of Law at the Australian National University, and from 2012-2014 he served as the inaugural Head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime’s Maritime Crime Program (for which he continues to regularly consult).


Award Winning Journalist, Former ABC Chief Political Correspondent & ACSS Mentor

Lyndal Curtis is an award winning journalist who has covered federal politics for nearly 30 years for the ABC, Sky News and commercial radio.  She has served as Political Correspondent for ABC Radio News, Chief Political Correspondent for ABC Radio Current Affairs (AM, The World Today, & PM) and as Political Editor for ABC News24.  She spent two years as Bureau Chief for Sky News at Parliament House.  Lyndal also spent five years as the State Editor of the ACT ABC News.  


Nigel Stanier is the Assistant Secretary at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Nigel joined DFAT in 1998 as a graduate. His first posting was in Berlin where he covered German politics and was the Cultural Attache (even though at the time he thought Patrick White was a tennis player). After a secondment to an intelligence agency, Nigel worked in DFAT on South Asia and Afghanistan.

Between 2007 and 2010 he was Deputy Ambassador in Ankara. He worked on consular policy and was a member of DFAT Crisis Response Team, being deployed to the Philippines, Ukraine, Vanuatu and Fiji. He is currently Assistant Secretary, Strategic Policy, Futures and Contestability Branch.


Tom McIlroy is a political reporter with The Australian Financial Review, covering federal Parliament and taxation. He has worked as a newspaper journalist in Melbourne, regional Victoria and Canberra, writing for mastheads including The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Canberra Times and The Houston Chronicle, from Washington DC. He is a graduate of the University of Melbourne and RMIT University. 


Karen Middleton is a journalist and author with more than 30 years’ experience covering national and international affairs in print and broadcast media. She is Chief Political Correspondent for The Saturday Paper and a commentator on ABC TV’s Insiders and The Drum and Network Ten’s The Project and a regular contributor to ABC radio, Radio New Zealand, Monocle24 and the BBC. Karen is the author of two books, Albanese – Telling it Straight (Penguin Random House, 2016) and An Unwinnable War – Australia in Afghanistan (MUP, 2011).