The University of Western Australia today launched a new Defence and Security Institute, which aims to establish the institute as a world leader in key aspects of defence science as well as Indo-Pacific defence and security policy and issues.
Department of Defence Secretary and UWA graduate Greg Moriarty launched the Institute, bringing together the University’s existing defence and security research and work in managing foreign interference risks.
Former Defence Minister and current WA Governor, the Hon. Kim Beazley AC, also spoke at the launch.
The new Institute will be overseen by an advisory board of defence-related stakeholders, chaired by former Federal Defence Minister Professor the Hon. Stephen Smith, and including Governor Beazley and fellow former Defence Minister the Hon. David Johnston as members.
UWA’s defence strategy academic Professor Peter Dean has been appointed Director of the new Institute. Professor Dean leads the Defence and Security Program, which was established last year through a $1.3 million Defence Strategic Policy Grant.
Professor Dean said as Australia moved into a very different geostrategic era, the focus was more on the Indo-Pacific region.
“Perth, Western Australia, the north-west of the country and the Indian Ocean are absolutely core to the development of our strategic region,” he said. “Western Australia is now on the frontline of Australia’s defence.”
The UWA Defence and Security Program has already hosted six events and secured four funding grants; covering the US-Australian Alliance, Australian Army Capability Development and ASEAN Regional Security.
UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Amit Chakma said the new Defence and Security Institute was a perfect fit for the University as a whole.
“Here at UWA we are dedicated to serving the community in every way possible, and we are determined to make our position on the Indian Ocean Rim an asset – for Western Australia as a State and for Australia as a nation,” Professor Chakma said.
“The UWA Defence and Security Institute brings together our existing capabilities, activities and experience, allowing us to better understand some of the complex and challenging issues we face to ensure Australia’s well-being and defend its national interests. It is UWA’s contribution to the defence needs of our country.”