This panel will look at Australia’s role in the strategic contest between the U.S. and China, including through the Quad and AUKUS in the Indo-Pacific, ahead of the release of the highly anticipated "Defence Strategic Review" (DSR) report. The DSR, sent to the Australian Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister on February 14, 2023, conducts a sweeping review of Australia’s defense force posture, structure, and capabilities. This report aims to to help Canberra respond to the changing strategic environment that will likely direct the Australian government’s defense policy for future decades.

The panelists, who represent the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the discussion, having authored numerous reports on defense policy and strategy and having served in the Australian government. ASPI is the country’s premier think tank, which opened its first overseas branch in Washington, D.C. in mid-2022.

Please RSVP here

Mark R. Watson - Director, ASPI Washington DC

Mark R. Watson

Director, ASPI Washington DC

With over thirty years’ experience in law, international relations and national security, Mark joined ASPI in November 2021. Following a period in legal practice with Moray & Agnew in Sydney, Mark’s career as a diplomat included postings in Port Moresby, Hong Kong, Singapore, London and, most recently, as Minister-Counsellor at the Australian Embassy in Washington DC. In that role, Mark was responsible for developing a range of key partnerships with US national security agencies, and worked with US companies looking for opportunities to grow their businesses with the Australian national security and defence communities.   

As a member of the Senior Executive Service, Mark led cross-agency innovation, business process restructuring and change management programs, as well as providing ‘hands on’ leadership in high risk, high tempo environments. His effectiveness as a risk manager, negotiator and thought leader have been recognized by awards from both the US and Australian governments. A trained Chinese linguist, Mark holds undergraduate and post-graduate degrees in law, an Honours degree in strategic studies, as well as a Masters degree in Public Policy.  

Mark completed post-graduate studies in the Economic and Civil Law of the People’s Republic of China at the University of Hong Kong, and is a graduate of the Senior Executives Leadership program at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. Mark is a regular international affairs and national security contributor on the nationally syndicated Sky News Australia current affairs program Afternoon Agenda, and a national security contributor at the Australian newspaper. 

Dr. Greg Brown - Senior Analyst, ASPI Washington DC

Dr. Greg Brown

Senior Analyst, ASPI Washington DC

Dr. Greg Brown is a senior analyst at ASPI’s Washington DC office. Greg joins ASPI after serving for nearly two decades as a contractor supporting diverse research, analysis, and outreach programs for the US national security community.

His experience includes managing projects that explore emerging security issues in Oceania and Southeast Asia; designing and running working groups involving  government, academic, think tank, commercial, artistic, and scientific communities; and applying Structured Analytic Techniques (SATs) such as tabletop exercises and games, red teaming, and future scenario development to provide alternative analyses and challenge conventional wisdom.

A subject matter expert on political demography, Greg also serves as Adjunct Professor at the Center for Australian, New Zealand & Pacific Studies in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, where he teaches courses on strategic competition in the Pacific, migration and conflict, diasporic politics, and comparative foreign policy.

Greg received his Ph.D. in Government from the University of Texas at Austin and, in years past, was a research fellow at the University of Melbourne and an Australian National University parliamentary fellow in Canberra.

Bronte Munro - Analyst, ASPI Washington DC

Bronte Munro

Analyst, ASPI Washington DC

Bronte Munro is an analyst at ASPI's Washington DC office. Bronte has a master's degree in Cyber Security Analysis (Excellence) from Macquarie University and a bachelor's degree in International and Global Studies from the University of Sydney. Bronte has also been awarded a Certificate IV in Leadership and Management through practical leadership and business development experience in Cambodia and Timor Leste. 

Before joining ASPI, Bronte was a Research Officer with Thales Australia and New Zealand, focusing on security convergence practices. Bronte was also the Cyber and Technology Fellow with Young Australians in International Affairs in 2021. In 2020, she was awarded the US Consul General Policy Report Award for analysis on the impact of COVID-19 on US cyber policy produced through her studies at the United States Studies Center with The University of Sydney. 

Her research interests include the impact of emerging technologies for national security, public-private sector relations, as well as cyber security particularly in relation to critical national infrastructure.

Iain MacGillivray - Analyst, ASPI Washington DC

Iain MacGillivray

Analyst, ASPI Washington DC

Iain MacGillivray is an analyst at ASPI Washington DC. He is a researcher and foreign policy analyst with over thirteen years of experience in Australia and overseas. His research areas and expertise include Middle Eastern politics and security, detailed knowledge of geopolitics and international affairs in the Indo-Pacific, as well as the QUAD and AUKUS. 

In his current role, Iain coordinates the ASPI DC Paradiplomacy/Subnational diplomacy in the US-Australia relations program examining subnational linkages in defence, national security and diplomatic engagement in the US-Australia alliance. Iain has published broadly on issues such as US-Australia relations, AUKUS, Australian maritime strategy, and Middle Eastern and Turkish politics. 
His recent work includes ‘Can the Abraham Accords save US-Saudi Ties’ published in The National Interest, and ‘The 2022 US midterm elections and what they might mean for Australia’ published by ASPI.  Iain has presented his work at various universities, think tanks and public institutions. He also regularly provides commentary on matters relating to foreign policy and international relations in Newsweek, ABC, BBC and other international media outlets.

Iain was a 2021–22 Yale Fox International Fellow at Yale University and formerly worked as a researcher and lecturer at the University of Melbourne, Australia. He has authored articles in reputable journals and for think tanks on issues related to the Middle East, China, Australia and the United States. 

Iain is a doctoral candidate at the University of Melbourne and holds a Master of International Relations (MIR) from The University of Melbourne, a Master of Science (MSc-Middle East Studies) from Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey, and a Bachelor of Arts in History & Political science from the University of Western Australia.

Dr. Nishank Motwani

Dr. Nishank Motwani

Mid-Career MPA, Harvard Kennedy School '23; Edward S. Mason Fellow; Ramsay Centre Scholar 

Nishank is pursuing a Mid-Career Master’s in Public Administration at the Harvard Kennedy School, where he is an Edward S. Mason Fellow and a Ramsay Centre Postgraduate Scholar. With a focus on the Indo-Pacific region, Nishank brings expertise in regional competition and conflict, nuclear deterrence and strategy, and the relationship between technology, defense, and public policy. Nishank is currently working at the Technology and Public Purpose Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, where he is actively researching regulatory solutions for addressing the issues of big tech.
Nishank has held senior executive organizational and advisory roles in Kabul, where he worked on security, political affairs, and countering violent extremism. During his time in Afghanistan, he also served as an Independent Elections Observer and covered two presidential and one parliamentary election between 2014 and 2020. Following the collapse of the Afghan government in August 2021, he testified before the Australian Senate in November 2021, where he examined the dynamics of the terrorism threat flowing from the Taliban’s return to power.
In addition to his policy experience, Nishank has published his work in peer-reviewed journals, authored and co-edited a book, and several online channels such as the Combating Terrorism Centre at West Point, War On The Rocks, Foreign Policy, The Diplomat, The Interpreter, East Asia Forum, and others. Nishank is finalizing his forthcoming book, Players, Perceptions, and Power in Afghanistan’s Regional Conflict, to be published in 2023 by Palgrave Macmillan. He was awarded his PhD at the University of New South Wales, Australian Defence Force Academy, in 2015, and has dual master’s degrees in strategic studies and diplomacy from The Australian National University.