John Blaxland

Professor John Blaxland

Professor of International Security & Intelligence Studies


PhD (War Studies), MA (History), BA (Hons 1)

Contact details
+61 2 6125 0932
M +61 (0)429 824 169
Room: 3.23
Building: Hedley Bull Building

Biographical Statement

John Blaxland is Professor of International Security and Intelligence Studies at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at ANU. He is also a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and Fellow of the Royal Society of New South Wales. In addition, he is a member of the Australian Army Journal editorial board and an occasional commentator in the print, television and radio media. He is a US Department of Defense Minerva Research Initiative grant recipient, and speaks English, Thai and Spanish.

John holds a PhD in War Studies from the Royal Military College of Canada, an MA in History from ANU and a BA (Hons 1) from UNSW. He is a graduate of the Royal Thai Army Command & Staff College (dux, foreign students) and the Royal Military College, Duntroon (Blamey Scholar).

He has extensive experience in the intelligence community including as the principal intelligence staff officer for the Australian brigade in East Timor in September 1999, as an intelligence exchange officer in Washington DC, as Director Joint Intelligence Operations (J2), at Headquarters Joint Operations Command (2006/7) and as a lead author of the three-volume history of ASIO. In addition he was Australia’s Defence Attaché to Thailand and Myanmar.

He teaches “Honeypots and Overcoats: Australian Intelligence in the World” as part of the Bachelor of International Security Studies program, and supervises a number of students undertaking higher degrees by research.

Research interests

His publications and research interests concern intelligence and the security arms of government, Australian military history and strategy, defence studies, military operations (including East Timor, Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan); international relations, notably on South-east Asia (Thailand, Myanmar, Timor Leste, Indonesia, South China Sea, ASEAN), and North America, (Canada/United States).

Key publications

His books include The Secret Cold War: The Official History of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation 1975-1989 (Allen & Unwin 2016), East Timor Intervention (MUP, 2015), The Protest Years (A&U, 2015), The Australian Army From Whitlam to Howard (CUP, 2014), Strategic Cousins (MQUP, 2006), Revisiting Counterinsurgency (LWSC, 2006), Information era Manoeuvre (LWSC, 2002), Signals (RASigs, 1999) and Organising an Army (SDSC, 1989).

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Kioloa Beach

From Hot War to Cool Oceans: ANU Wargames at Kioloa

By: Dr Andrew Carr, Program Convenor of the Master of Strategic Studies at the ANU Strategic and Defence Studies Centre.

Who is watching the watchers? It's a bureaucratic maze


Guarding Australia in an alphabet soup of spy organisations, Australia needs a new National Security Adviser to balance competing advice with clear strategy.

Gold Buddhist statues

YOLO: Insights from Thailand

How do the religious worldviews of senior officials shape the strategic thinking of Thailand’s up-and-coming leaders? Professor John Blaxland combs the data from a years-long project on religion and Thai politics for insights.

Peter Dutton and Malcolm Turnbull

Explainer: how the Australian intelligence community works

This article is the first in a five-part series exploring Australian national security in the digital age.


Tenets of Thailand’s ASEAN engagement


Photo by Flikr user looyaa

Do the lessons of Thucydides apply to Singapore?

Recently the Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore, Kishore Mahbubani, dropped a bombshell.

Why Moriarty is a good choice for Defence Secretary

Pundits were surprised and eyebrows raised late last week when the news broke that Greg Moriarty had been selected as the replacement for Dennis Richardson as Secretary of the Department of Defence

Peter Dutton (right) is set to assume responsibility for the newly created home affairs portfolio. AAP/Mick Tsikas

New home affairs department seems to be more about politics than reform

It is difficult not to give in to cynical impulses over Tuesday’s announcement that the government will create a department of home affairs.


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