2020 speakers

Dr. Anita Abbott, APSI Forum, New Zealand

Dr. Anita Abbott is the Director of Global Partnership and Development Ltd, the chief of APSI Forum committee, and adjunct professor at Charisma University. She was a research fellow at NATO Defence College. She regularly contributes to publications and is invited nationally and internationally for research projects and speaking engagements. Her research areas include strategic partnership and negotiation, political alliance, alliance behaviour, strategic diplomatic deterrence, and geopolitics and alliance identity. She has published more than 40 articles. Her first book develops education sovereignty model in international negotiation. In her second book, published by Palgrave MacMillan, she uses Indonesia and several countries as examples of how negotiation works for maintaining sovereignty in education.

​Dr. Kelly Kristopher Lemmons, US Air Force Academy

Dr. Kelly Kristopher Lemmons is an Assistant Professor at the Air Force Academy where he also served as a Distinguished Visiting Professor. Dr. Lemmons came to the Air Force Academy from the Texas A&M System where he served as the Assistant Dean, Department Head, and Assistant Professor of Geography. Dr. Lemmons has a passion for teaching and conducting researching on the topics of cultural geography, economic geography, and travel/study abroad. Based on his doctoral research he has developed a new pre-departure course for students preparing to travel internationally and/or participate in a study abroad program. While at Tarleton State University he started a new Geography/GIS Major, a Geography Honor Society (Gamma Theta Upsilon) Chapter, and was awarded the Outstanding New Faculty Award. Dr. Lemmons has published various articles on student learning outcomes, repeat photography, study abroad, and culture. A graduate of Brigham Young University (BS) where he served as a research assistant, University of Massachusetts (MS), where he served as a Teaching Assistant, and Texas A&M University (PhD), where he was awarded a GK-12 National Science Foundation Fellowship, served as a Teaching Assistant, as the Vice-President Elect of the Graduate Student Body, Quality of Life Coordinator for Graduate Students, and received the Distinguished Graduate Student Award. Dr. Lemmons is married to Ami Leatham Lemmons and they are the proud parents of Brody, Vivian, and Guy.

LTC Ian Irmischer, USAFA

LTC Irmischer is the director of the Geosciences program at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO. He previously directed the Center for Environmental and Geographic Sciences at the United States Military Academy in West Point, NY. He is a career Engineer officer in the US Army where he has supervised and managed geospatial engineering at all levels. His operational experience includes combat engineer operations and supervising geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) operations while deployed to Baqubah, Iraq (2003) and Jalalabad, Afghanistan (2012). LTC Irmischer develops future Air Force officers through courses in geospatial information science, geovisualization, photogrammetry, and military geospatial operations. His research interests include 3D geospatial data modeling derived from unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), human movement modeling, spatial analytics, and terrain analysis algorithms.

Lieutenant General Vinod Bhatia, Centre For Joint Warfare Studies, India

Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia, is currently (2016- ) Director, Centre For Joint Warfare Studies (CENJOWS), a New Delhi-based think tank of the Ministry of Defence. CENJOWS  generates policy options for decision-makers in the Government of India and Defence Forces to strengthen national security. CENJOWS engages with national and foreign institutions, having congruence of interests and shared concerns to enhance cooperation in the security domain.

His last job in the Indian Army was Director General Military Operations (DGMO) (2012-14), directly responsible for talks with his counterpart in Pakistan to ensure sustained ceasefire, a difficult task much appreciated by the national polity. He continues to advise strategic policy planners and is called upon to lend his expertise in formulating operational policies. He was a member of the Defence Minister's high-level task force to Enhance Combat Capability and Rebalance Defence Expenditure.

Commissioned into the Parachute Regiment, his higher command assignments included command of an Infantry Division operationally deployed on the Line of Control with Pakistan and command of an operational Corps along the India - China border.         

He has attended Senior Executive Seminar at NESA, Washington, International Institute of Strategic Studies London sponsored workshops (Track 1.5) on maintaining peace and tranquility along the India - China Border and normalising India - Pakistan relations, situation in Afghanistan and counter terrorism. He is also a member of the Track II Ottawa Dialogue.

He is an elected member of the Executive Council of the 150-year old United Service Institution of India, New Delhi, and participates in seminars and discussions at various think tanks.

He has conducted numerous seminars and  conferences including an international conference ‘India and the Multilateral World Order’ at Maldives in August 2019, which was attended by delegates from 20 countries.

Lt General Vinod Bhatia was The Colonel of The Parachute Regiment for three years, during which time Indian Special Forces saw exponential growth and enhancement of operational capabilities.

He was also the Co-chair of the India-US Executive Steering Group on Defence Cooperation.

He has written extensively on Regional and National Security, International Relations, Special Operations, Human Resource Development, Operational Philosophy, and Multi-domain warfare.

Major General Gert-Johannes Hagemann, HQ NATO Force Structure, France

Major General Gert-Johannes Hagemann is the Deputy Commander of Headquarters Rapid Reaction Corps (HQ RRC-FR) in Lille, France. Created in 2005, HQ RRC-FR is a French NATO certified headquarters able to command a national or multinational force of between 15,000 and 60,000 personnel. 

With around 450 military coming from fifteen different nations, HQ RRC-FR is stationed within a 17th-century citadel also known as the Queen of the Citadels, designed by the famous French Field Marshal Vauban. Reactive, flexible and ‘open to the world’, HQ RRC-FR is a purpose-built organization, designed to handle the complexity of military operations of the early twenty-first century.

Prior to his appointment as Deputy Commander of NATO’s HQ RRC-FR, Major General Gert-Johannes Hagemann was Commander of the Infantry School and the Infantry Training Center in Hammelburg, Germany and the General of the German Infantry. From 2011 to 2013 he was the twelfth Commander of the German-French Brigade in Müllheim, after having served as Regional Commander of NATO’s Training Mission Afghanistan.

Lieutenant General Olivier Rittimann, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, Belgium

Lieutenant General Olivier RITTIMANN was born on the 17th of July 1961.   A graduate of the Military Academy of Saint Cyr and the Army Engineer School, he first served with the Foreign Legion.

In 1984, he was posted to the 4th Foreign Legion Regiment as a platoon leader in charge of
the basic instruction of new Legionnaires.   In 1986 he joined the 6th Foreign Legion Engineer Regiment where he served as platoon leader and company commander. During these years he went on operational deployments in Chad, Mayotte, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Six years later, in 1992 he was selected as an instructor at the Military Academy, and in 1994 he was sent to the United States Army General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia. Upon his return to France, he successfully completed the course of the Joint Defence College in Paris and, in 1996 returned to the 6 th Foreign Legion Engineer Regiment – this time incharge of operations and training.

After an operational tour in the NATO-led Stabilization Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina (SFOR), he was assigned to Allied Forces North Headquarters in Brunssum, Netherlands, in 1998 where he served in both the ‘Training and Exercises’ and ‘Policy and Concepts’ Branches as the first French officer inserted within the NATO Command Structure, as a result of the implementation of the Combined Joint Task Force concept.

In 2001, he took command of the 1st Foreign Legion Engineer Regiment. Following a successful command, two years later he attended the Pakistani National Defence College in Islamabad and was then assigned to the French embassy as the Defence Attaché until 2007. 2007 brought a posting to Joint Staff in Paris, as Chief of the NATO branch. When the French political authorities decided to return to a full military participation in NATO, he was in the negotiations leading to an increase of the French military presence within the NATO Command structure.

Promoted to Brigadier General in 2010, he was assigned to Allied Force Command Heidelberg   as the Director Joint Coordination Centre in the Deployable Joint Staff Element. This enabled him to be deployed to HQs International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) from January 2011 to January 2012 as the Chief of Operations, covering current operations, force generation and counter Improvised Explosive Device (IED) issues.

In 2012, he was assigned as the French Deputy Military Representative (MILREP) in NATO Headquarters. Then in August 2015 he became the French National Military Representative to NATO’s Allied Command Operations in Mons, Belgium, and few months later, in January 2016 promoted to Major General.  On 1 st September 2017 he was promoted to Lieutenant-General and appointed Chief of Staff at Joint Force Command Brunssum with effect the 8th September 2017.

On 1st July 2018 he was assigned as Vice Chief of Staff Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe. In March 2019 he took the Command of Operation ALTHEA, Bosnia and Herzegovina.Lieutenant General Olivier RITTIMANN is married to Claudine and they are blessed with five children.

Lieutenant Colonel John W. Black, Regional Affairs Officer United States Marine Corps

LtCol Black is an Infantry and Regional Affairs Officer in the United States Marine Corps.  He has served in the Marine Corps for more than 22 years.  

As an Infantry Officer, he has commanded at the platoon, company, and battalion levels.  He has served in OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM, OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM – AFGHANISTAN, and has completed two deployments with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit – Special Operations Capable (MEU SOC) in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.  

As a Regional Affairs Officer, he has served as a Country Director for Marine activities in Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific Islands, and Timor Leste, and as the Office of Defense Cooperation Chief at the American Embassy in Wellington, New Zealand. 

LtCol Black holds a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College. LtCol Black's personal awards include the Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, U.S. Department of State Meritorious Honor Award, a Commendation from the Chief of the Australian Army, and the German Armed Forces Badge for Military Proficiency (Gold).
Lieutenant Colonel Black is married to Dr. Aime Black, former Education Advisor at the American Embassy in Wellington, New Zealand, and currently leads STEM engagement research and evaluation projects at NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration). 

Colonel Shigehiro Noshita, Defence Attaché to Papua New Guinea and the Army Attaché to Australia, Fiji and New Zealand in the Embassy of Japan in Canberra, Australia.

Colonel Shigehiro Noshita is currently the Defence Attaché to Papua New Guinea and the Army Attaché to Australia, Fiji and New Zealand in the Embassy of Japan in Canberra, Australia.

As a transport officer, he has held a variety of command, training and staff appointments at the tactical, operational and strategic levels. These include serving in Timor Leste as a movement control officer in 2003 and 2004, and commanding the Japanese Transport and Engineering Unit of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force from 2011 to 2012.

Colonel Noshita is a graduate of the National Defence Academy Japan (1999), the United States Army Logistics Management College (2007), the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force Command and Staff College (2009), the Centre for United Nations Peacekeeping India (2011), the Australian Command Staff College (2015) and the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (2018). 

He holds a Bachelor degree of Social Science and a Master of Military and Defence Studies from the Australian National University.

Col Taesub Kwon, Defence Attache to Australia and New Zealand

Col Kwon was commissioned as an Army Engineer officer in 1993 and has served in Republic of Korea ARMY for 26 years. He is currently the Defence Attache to Australia and New Zealand.

As an engineer officer, he commanded engineer platoon, company and battalion. He has served as the commander of Korea Defence Geo-Intelligence Agency (KDGA) after being promoted to Colonel. For staff positions, he has served in Army HQ as a carrier management officer for engineer officers and a Force building officer for 2 years respectively. He taught the tactics to O-4 level officers in Army College. He also served in the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) in 2008-2009.

Col Kwon graduated the Korea Military Academy in 1993 and studied Geographic Information System (GIS) at International Institute of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) in the Netherlands (2002). He is a graduate of the National Defence College in Delhi, India (2016). 

He holds a Bachelor degree in Civil Engineering and Master of Science (MSc) in Geo-Information Management. He also holds Master of Philosophy (M.Phil) in International Security and Defence from Madras University in India.

SGT Saimoni Bebenisala, Fiji Police Force

SGT 4956 SAIMONI BEBENISALA is a regular member of the Fiji Police Force. Currently holds the position of SGT COMMAND/TRAINING OFFICER based at Police Special Response Unit, the tactical arm of the Fiji Police Force. Prior to enlisting In the Fiji Police Force served as Secondary School Teacher and taught for 8 years before joining the Fiji Police Force on 1st July 2013.  He was a member of the Fiji Police Force Commissioner of Police Cadet Scheme. He has attended various local and regional training and the latest achievement is being accredited as a Regional Pacific Training Instructor. Also accredited on Search and Rescue as the focal point for the Fiji Police Force, a member of the working group for the first ever Search and Rescue Manual and also Draft Search and Rescue  Bill.

From 2014 to 2016 he served as a training Instructor and later acted in the role of National Collator in the Sensitive Information Operations Center for the Fiji Police Intelligence Bureau. Also had served in many units and branches of the Fiji Police Force from charge room duties, CID, Crime Intelligence, Special Branch, Traffic, Divisional Planning Officer SD, Training Instructor, FPU Instructor on Human Rights and Masters of ceremony in any formal police functions.

Hon Mark Mitchell, Member of Parliament, New Zealand

Born on the North Shore, Mark spent his early years living on Whenuapai Air Force Base where his father was a Flight Lieutenant. He later attended Rosmini College in Auckland and worked in the farming sector after leaving school.

In 1989, Mark joined the New Zealand Police, and was a member of the Dog Section and Armed Offender’s Squad. During his time in the Dog Section, Mark and his dog Czar were stabbed during an armed encounter in Rotorua. Czar made a full recovery, but Mark never regained the full use of his right arm.

After leaving the police, Mark relocated overseas and launched an international business career, including the start-up of his own company specialising in hostage rescue, supply chain security, and risk management. Working closely with the World Economic Forum, he helped establish logistic emergency response teams that provided humanitarian support in countries hit by natural disasters, such as the Philippines, Pakistan, and Haiti.  He was also a member of the executive management team of several global companies, including one of the biggest logistics companies in the world.

Mark entered New Zealand’s Parliament in 2011 when he was elected as the Member of Parliament for the Rodney electorate. In 2016, he was appointed as the Minister of Statistics, Minister for Land Information, and Associate Minister of Justice. In 2017, he was promoted to Cabinet and appointed as the Minister of Defence.

Mark has previously served as the Chair of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee, and Deputy Chair of the Law and Order Committee. Following the change in Government in September 2017, he is now the Opposition Spokesperson for Defence, Justice and Pike River.

Mark enjoys the kiwi lifestyle and spending time with his family in their hometown of Orewa.

Mr Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, MP, New Zealand

Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi is a National List Member of Parliament based in Manukau East, Auckland and is New Zealand Parliament’s first Indian Sikh MP. He has a profound interest in trade, law and order and developing positive inter-ethnic relationships in the country.

As the former Chairperson of the Law and Order Select and Caucus Committee, and current opposition spokesperson of Associate Police portfolio he has always shown interest in matters relating to criminal law, police and serious fraud. 

Kanwaljit endeavors to generate awareness about the Indian culture and its people in New Zealand. He, along with the members of local Indian Community gifted the first copy of a book titled “A Spiritual Journey Harmandar Sahib: The Golden Temple” to New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key. He also received Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award for his extraordinary services and immense contribution to the Indian communities in New Zealand.

Having a political background, he always had a desire to understand politics while helping his father in various election campaigns. He is proud of continuing his family tradition whilst representing Indian communities in the country. Apart from supporting the Kiwis, he has also represented the South-East Asian Communities and was a member of a range of business and socially focused organizations. Recognizing shared values and principles, he became actively involved in the National Party shortly after moving to New Zealand.

Hon Alfred Ngaro, National List MP based in Te Atatu, Auckland, New Zealand

Alfred is a first generation New Zealander of Cook Island and Jewish descent married to Samoan-Niuean Moka Fuemana with four children and two grandchildren.

Alfred was raised in Te Atatū, attended the local schools, played rugby at club level and was an active member of the St. Giles Presbyterian Church Te Atatu South.  He trained and qualified as an electrician and also completed his theological degree at the Henderson campus of the Bible College of New Zealand.

Prior to entering Parliament, Alfred was a consultant in community-led development and governance with expertise in New Zealand, Cook Islands and Canada.  He co-pioneered several community initiatives such as the Tamaki Achievement Pathway, Healthy Village Action Zone (HVAZ) Project, Whānau ora and the Inspiring Communities Exchange Network sponsored by the Tindall Foundation.

Alfred’s governance experience includes key roles on the National Anti-Violence Taskforce, Auckland District Health Board and Pacific Advisory Committee Auckland City Council and others.  He is also an Ambassador for the White Ribbon campaign, advising and developing national strategies for the Family Violence taskforce.

In 2009 Alfred received the Sir Peter Blake Emerging Leader Award in recognition of his community leadership.

Alfred entered Parliament in 2011 as a List MP for the National Party and was returned to the 52nd Parliament as a National Party List MP based in Te Atatū.  He is currently National’s spokesperson for Children, the Community & Voluntary Sector and Pacific Peoples and has chaired a number select committees from Welfare to Justice.

Always solutions focused, ensuring conversations are shared with outcomes based on genuine partnership with communities.  Alfred has consistently challenged processes to find innovation approaches to addressing social needs.

Dr Itzhak Gerberg, Israeli Ambassador to New Zealand

Ambassador Dr. Itzhak Gerberg completed his Masters Degree in Political Science from the Haifa University and obtained his PhD in International Politics from the University of South Africa.

He started his diplomatic career for the Israeli Foreign Ministry in 1985 as Second Secretary in Manila, followed by a posting at the Israeli Consulate in Bombay – India as the Consul General.
In 1996 he became the Consul General for the Israeli Consulate in Shanghai and between 1999 and 2012 he held Ambassadorial positions to Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, Botswana, Malawi and later on in Georgia.

Ambassador Dr. Gerberg was appointed Israeli Ambassador to New Zealand in July 2016 and is joined by his wife Shifra Gerberg. 

​Dr Jesus S. Domingo, Philippine Ambassador to New Zealand, Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa & Tonga

Jesus “Gary” S. Domingo is a career Philippine Foreign Service Officer.  His diplomatic assignments have included postings at the Philippine Missions to the United Nations in New York and Geneva, and the Philippine Embassy in Saudi Arabia.  He has also served as Philippine Focal Point for Multilateral Humanitarian Affairs and Disarmament, and coordinated international assistance for Supertyphoon Yolanda in 2013 –  one of the biggest  civilian and military humanitarian operations to date. 

Ambassador Gary is a graduate of the Georgetown University School  of Foreign Service, the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, National Defense College of the Philippines, and the Philippine College of Criminology.  He is an advocate of Human Security, and  has developed  “Universal Diplomacy” – a framework for multi-stakeholder and grass-roots Public Diplomacy.  He also holds commissions in the Philippine Marine Corps Reserve and Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary.  He is married to Maria Remedios, they have a daughter, Julianne Marie.

Dr. Sascha Dov Bachmann, University of Canberra

Dr. Sascha Dov Bachmann, Assessor Jur, LL.M, LL.D is an international scholar and former Lieutenant Colonel –GER Army Res- with operational experience and a career professional in law and higher education. In the last 20 years he worked in various capacities and functions in the USA, the Middle East, South Africa and various European countries. Sascha has been an Associate Professor at Bournemouth University (UK) since 2013 and Docent (Reader) in War Studies at the Swedish Defence University. In November 2017 he was appointed (Professorial) Research Fellow at CEMIS, Faculty of Military Science, Stellenbosch University. Sascha was educated in Germany (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) München), South Africa (Stellenbosch University and University of Johannesburg) and the United Kingdom (University of Portsmouth).

He has presented to NATO, US CENTCOM, US AFRICOM, the Austrian Ministry of Defence, the Swedish Defence University, the Royal Danish Defence College, the South African National Defence Force and the Australian Defence College on the subjects of Hybrid War/Threats, Lawfare, InfoOps and Targeting. He is the author of over 70 academic publications (articles/books and scientific submissions) and also a regular contributor to NATO’s Legal Advisor Web (LAWFAS) with his publications often being used as NATO reference documents. Sascha will commence a new role as Professor with Canberra School of Law – University of Canberra this autumn. 

Dr Andrew Dowse, Edith Cowan University, Australia

Dr Dowse joined Edith Cowan University after a 37 year career with the Royal Australian Air Force.  He joined the RAAF as an engineer cadet in 1981 and, after completing a degree in Communications and Electronics Engineering at RMIT, graduated as an electronics officer. 

His career included working in air defence and communications, as well as managing command and control systems and information technology.  He has also had key leadership roles in electronic and information warfare, and broader capability planning.   

Between 2008 and 2012, Andrew worked to develop future capabilities for the Australian Defence Force, the efforts of which were recognised with his appointment as a Member of the Order of Australia.  Subsequently he was in charge of Air Force strategy and planning, then was the Head of Defence’s Information and Communications Technology operations, and in recognition of his performance in these roles he was promoted to an Officer in the Order of Australia.

In addition to his bachelor degree, he has a Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies, Masters of Science and Doctor of Philosophy.  He is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and is a Fellow Chartered Professional Engineer. 

Prof. Dwi Andreas Santosa, Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia

Professor Santosa is the Head of M.Sc. Program on Soil and Environmental Biotechnology at Bogor Agricultural University (IPB).   He is also the Chairman Governing Board Indonesian Center for Biodiversity and Biotechnology, National Chairman Indonesian Farmer Technology and Seed Bank Association, and Associated Scholar Center of Reform on Economics (CORE) Indonesia and Thamrin School. He holds a PhD in Life Sciences from Braunschweig University of Technology. He was awarded fellowships and postdoctoral fellowships from Yonsei University in South Korea, German Research Center for Biotechnology, German Federal Research Center for Nutrition and Food, and School of Pharmacy at Oregon State University. He has written numerous articles in food security, system and policy, bio politics, and the politics of global food security. He is also the holder of international patent (US Patent 9, 977, and 375; European Patent EP 1 791 823 AO) and national patent.

Don Lord, Hagar New Zealand

Don previously worked for World Vision in New Zealand and Mongolia. Don has been involved in research on Trafficking in Cambodia and has worked in Mongolia on the formulation of an anti-trafficking project to be spearheaded by local project staff. He has also had extensive involvement in developing tools to work with trafficked women and children in Cambodia, National Child Protection standards and systems in Mongolia, and global Children in Crisis initiatives. Don established Hagar NZ in 2009.

Gillian Somerville, GES Consulting, New Zealand

Gillian is a highly skilled Human Factors Engineer with 25 years’ international experience integrating human factors through complex systems.  Her strength lies in her ability to create highly efficient operational environments by working collaboratively with people across all levels of an organisation through the application of a user-centred design process.

She has applied this process across a range of high-risk industries including aviation, marine, utilities (power and water), and underground and over ground rail, in the UK, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Australia and New Zealand.  She is currently the Human Factors Specialist on a number of rail projects in Australia including Human Factors Specialist in the design team for a new $1.26bn rail maintenance depot.

Her qualifications include a BA Geography (NZ), CoP Marketing Management (NZ), Diploma in Environmental Management (NZ), and MSc Ergonomics (UK).  She has also completed the Creating Living Buildings course and the Regenerative Practitioner.

Major General Joaquin F. Malavet , United States Marine Corps (Retired); CNA, USA

Major General Joaquin F. Malavet (US Marine Corps, Retired) is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Naval Analysis (CNA), an independent Senior Strategic Advisor to businesses and corporate enterprises, and an international public speaker. He brings forth exquisite insights and an informed strategic perspective of the dynamic geopolitical, seconomic, secyrity and business landscape across the Indo-Pacific to ensure organizations and their clients achieve, sustain and advance their corporate relative-competitive advantage. Major General (MajGen) Joaquin F. Malavet, most recently served as the Director for Strategic Planning and Policy (J5 Directorate), U.S. Indo-Pacific Command. In this executive-level position, he designed, built, and produced the foundational blueprint and core elements of an Indo-Pacific Campaign that synthesized US National Strategic Plans and Policy. Working closely with senior military and civilian officials from the National Security Council, the Department of Defense, theDepartment of State, and other inter-governmental agencies from diverse  fields of expertise, and with US Allies and partners from across the Indo-Pacific, he advanced and executed the tenets of the National Security Strategy, and the National Defense Strategy.

Other highlights of his 34 years of military service and executive leadership include serving as the Commanding General-Marine Corps Installations Command based in Okinawa, Japan. He led over 15,000 military and civilian professionals from the United States, Japan, and Korea for all Marine Corps Installations arrayed across the Indo-Pacific.  He also served as the Deputy Commanding General of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF) and Commanding General of the 1st MarineExpeditionary Brigade (1st MEB), at Camp Pendleton, California.

MajGen Malavet also served as a Deputy  Assistant Secretary of Defense/Principal Director in Office of the Secretary of Defense – Policy, Pentagon, Washington D.C., where he formulated defense policy and strategy for South Asia and Southeast Asia. He regularly briefed the National Security Council, Secretary of Defense, and Senior Government Officials to advance and cement US Policy across the Indo-Pacific. MajGen Malavet was also a principal military negotiator for International Agreements with the Philippines, Australia, and New Zealand. He engaged regularly across core public-private sectors to strengthen alliances.

MajGen Malavet is regularly sought after by the global public-private sector to share his expertise and exquisite insights on the 'Economic-Security Nexus' and the relationship to international business growth and value throughout the broader Indo-Pacific, in particular. Public and private enterprises seek his deeper insights on the strategic trendlines and risk-reward calculus across the Indo-Pacific. He also speaks frequently on topics related to Executive-Strategic Leadership, Campaign designing, International Operations, Resource Management, and Artificial Intelligence.

MajGen Malavet received countless personal and professional awards for his military service, including the Defense Superior Service Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), the Legion of Merit, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), and the Air Medal with Strike/Flight award (combat). His foreign decorations include, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Commendation Medal and the Japanese Ground Self Defence Force (JGSDF) Chief of Staff Defence Cooperation Award First Class (2nd Award).

Originally from Denville, New Jersey, MajGen Malavet holds multiple degrees which include, a Master of Arts degree in  National Security and Strategic Studies from the College of Naval Command and Staff at the Naval War College, graduating ‘with Distinction.’ He was a Commandant of the Marine Corps Fellow at Johns Hopkins University - The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) where he received his Masters of International Public Policy (MIPP), concentrating on Asia Pacific security affairs. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering (Systems Management) from the Pennsylvania State University. He attended the Kenan-Flagler Business School’s Strategic Business Leadership Program at UNC-Chapel Hill. He also attended Harvard University: The John F. Kennedy School of Government (Resident Course) – Senior Executives in National Security. MajGen Malavet retired from the Marine Corps in September 2019.

Usman Shahid, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

Usman Shahid is a doctoral fellow at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. He has previously worked in Pakistan as a journalist and a lecturer in politics and communication studies. He is also a fellow of the International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ). As a policy analyst, Shahid contributes to international publications focused on South Asian politics and regional security. His research interests include China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Pakistan’s bilateral relations with India, China and Afghanistan. He is also the author of a book titled Indo Pak People to People Contact: A Victim of National Insecurities.

Bob mcCoskrie, Family First, New Zealand

Bob McCoskrie has a Masters of Commerce with Honours from Auckland University, and a Diploma of Teaching from the Auckland College of Education. He taught accounting, commercial law and tax law at Manukau Polytechnic, before becoming Director of YFC (Youth for Christ) South Auckland based in Otara. 

In 1994, he set up the Papatoetoe Adolescent Christian Trust (PACT) working with at-risk youth and their families in schools and the South Auckland community.

In 1996 he was appointed a Justice of the Peace (JP).

In 2002, he joined the Rhema Broadcasting Group as Breakfast / Talkback Host on their nationwide programme, and Television presenter on their Current Affairs show “N-Zone Focus”.

In 2006 he established Family First NZ and is the National Director. Family First has quickly become a well-known and strongly-supported voice for family issues at a public, media and political level. They have run key campaigns around issues including the anti-smacking law, same-sex marriage, euthanasia, abortion, pornography and a Values Voter Guide each general election. They have also released 15 research reports on issues ranging from child poverty, child abuse and imprisonment trends to screentime, daycare and the benefits of family mealtimes.

He is married to Tina and they have 3 children aged 21, 18, and 15. They are based in South Auckland.


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