academic STAFF


Assoc. Prof. Nick O'Brien


Levi West



Terrorism Studies, Australian Graduate School of Policing and Security





Mr David Irvine, AO

Adjunct Professor


Adjunct Lecturer, Australian Graduate School of Policing and Security


Adjunct Lecturer, Australian Graduate School of Policing and Security


Adjunct Lecturer, Australian Graduate School of Policing and Security

Assoc. Prof. Nick O’Brien
Head of School

Assoc. Prof O’Brien brings over 3 decades of leadership in counter terrorism to his position as Head of School. Prior to his transition to academia, Assoc. Prof. O’Brien was the Counter Terrorism Liaison Officer at the British High Commission in Canberra, with a watching brief on the South-East Asia region. Before his posting to Australia he was in charge of international counter terrorism at Special Branch, New Scotland Yard including responsibility for the National Terrorist Financial Investigations Unit (NTFIU) and International Liaison.

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Assoc. Prof. O’Brien’s extensive knowledge base and experience has seen him speak on counter terrorism at professional and academic conferences across Europe, North America, and the Asia-Pacific. In authoring G8 paper Best Practices in Dealing with Suicide Terrorism he undertook research into suicide bombing in both Israel and Sri Lanka. Nick is a visiting Fellow at the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Co-operation in Indonesia, sits on the Board of Management of the Australian Graduate School of Policing. He is on the Australian Institute of Professional Intelligence Officers (AIPIO) Journal Editorial Committee.

Assoc. Prof. O’Brien is a highly sought after speaker on counter terrorism matters, and frequently provides media commentary in regards to terrorism and policing more broadly.

Levi West
Director of Terrorism Studies

Levi West is the Director of Terrorism Studies at Charles Sturt University. His primary research interests relate to the intersection of information and communications technology with terrorism specifically, but also with other forms of non-state violence.

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Levi has lectured extensively to law enforcement, intelligence, and military audiences both domestically and internationally, including at the Naval War College in the United States, the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation in Indonesia, the National Security College at ANU, and at the Australian Command and Staff College at the Australian Defence College. Additionally, Levi has undertaken research in the Middle East, South Asia, and South East Asia. Levi regularly contributes to the ASPI Strategist blog, and is a sought after speaker on terrorism and other national security issues. In addition to lecturing in higher education contexts, he frequently delivers professional development training and consulting to a broad range of government agencies and private sector clients.

You can follow him on Twitter @levijwest.

His research interests include: • Terrorism and insurgency • Diversity and evolution of violent non-State actors • Use of technology by non-State actors • Transnational crime and illicit finance • State responses to non-State violence • Cyber security, particularly as it pertains to non-state actors

Dr. Charles Knight Lecturer, Terrorism Studies

Before joining AGSPS, Charles was a Research Fellow at the Defence Department’s Land Warfare Studies Centre in Canberra.  Charles completed his PhD research at QUT, where he examined the coercive effects of State repression on popular support for insurgents.

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In military roles, Charles served in Europe, Central America, Asia and the Middle East and his diverse experience ranges from RAF pilot training, through four years commanding Baluchi troops with the Omani Army, to operational counterinsurgency training.  As a reservist he has served with the Parachute Regiment in the UK, the Commandos in Australia and commanded an Infantry Battalion.

Charles is also a specialist in Urban and Complex operations and his extensive involvement in Special Operations capability development included delivery of new Special Forces doctrine and ground-breaking future studies methodologies.

His research interests include • Decision Making, Planning and Social Dynamics for and in Conflict • Political Violence and the Conduct and Countering of Armed Rebellion • Urban, Complex and Special Operations

Dr. John Hardy Lecturer, Intelligence Studies

John is a Lecturer of Intelligence Studies at the Australian Graduate School of Policing and Security. He is also a Fellow with the Research Network for a Secure Australia (RNSA) and a member of the Safeguarding Australia Organising Committee.

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John was previously the Director of Security Studies at the Department of Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism (PICT) at Macquarie University and was a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the National Security College, ANU.

John has worked as a Research Associate for the Crawford School of Public Policy and the Lowy Institute for International Policy. He has also taught at the, the Australian Defence Force Academy, the School of Politics and International Relations, ANU and the University of Canberra.

John has been a security analyst and consultant for public, private, and not-for-profit organisations and works with practitioners from Australian and international organisations on applied research issues. His research on national security, intelligence and military targeting has involved broad consultation with government and industry and has been published in leading international journals.

John’s research interests include • Applied Intelligence Analysis • Terrorism and Violent Extremism • Network Analysis • National Security Policy • Defence and Strategy • Counterterrorism • International Security

Derek Ward
Lecturer, Terrorism Studies (London)

Derek Ward is a Lecturer on the terrorism studies distance education program, based in London. His role also encompasses the designing and delivery of international police capacity building training.

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Before joining Charles Sturt University in September 2010, Derek was a Counter-Terrorism Training Consultant. During this period he was employed by the British Government to provide specialized counter-terrorism training in South East Asia. As a serving police officer from 2005-2009, Derek represented the UK as the Police Attaché and Police Training Advisor to Indonesia. During these four years in Indonesia he was responsible for designing and delivering a range of counter-terrorism training programs at the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation (JCLEC), as well as, throughout South East Asia. He also performed operational police liaison duties, in particular during the Bali 2005 and Jakarta 2009 terrorist bombing attacks.

In 2013, Derek was awarded the Medal of Honour in Education for his work training police at the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation (JCLEC).

Mr David Irvine, AO Adjunct Professor

Mr Irvine has 33 years of experience (since 1970) as a diplomat in the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs, with experience in the promotion of Australia’s bilateral and regional political, economic and trade relationships with the countries of the Asia-Pacific region.  His career includes high level diplomatic postings as High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea (1996-1999), Australian Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, Mongolia and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (2000-2003).

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Mr Irvine’s appointments also include being Director-General of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (2003-2009) and more than 5 years as Director-General of Security, in charge of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO).

During the five years prior to his appointment in Papua New Guinea, Mr Irvine held several senior management and policy positions in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra, including management of Australia’s relations with the major markets of South, North and East Asia, as well as Indochina.

In 2005, Mr Irvine was awarded an Officer of the General Division of the Order of Australia for services furthering Australian international interests. Mr Irvine has also published two books entitled, Bisma, Warrior Priest of the Mahabharata (1990) and Leather Gods and Wooden Heroes (1996).

Dr. Kira Harris Adjunct Lecturer

Dr Kira Harris is an Adjunct Lecturer with the Australian Graduate School of Policing and Security at Charles Sturt University. Kira has previously lectured in both psychology and counter terrorism and currently works for the Australian Government.

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Kira's doctoral research examined the psychology behind exiting extreme social groups, including terrorism groups, right-wing extremism, one percent motorcycle clubs, cults, as well as fundamentalist religious and political groups. She has published and presented in areas relating to disengagement, social psychology and gangs.

Her research interests include: • One percent motorcycle clubs • Counter terrorism • Radicalisation • Exiting from extremism • Military identity • Social psychology

MAJ Paul Lushenko Adjunct Lecturer

Paul Lushenko is a U.S. Army Major currently assigned to the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. He has recently commanded the Headquarters and Headquarters Company for the 502nd Military Intelligence Battalion, 201st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade and has served as the Executive Officer of the Brigade's Special Troops Battalion. Commissioned as an Intelligence Officer in 2005.

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Paul Lushenko is a Major in the U.S. Army. He is a 2005 distinguished honour graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York and was commissioned as an Intelligence Officer. From 2010 to 2012 he studied at The Australian National University as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. He received a Master of Arts in International Relations with highest honours and was awarded the college's prize for best dissertation: "China, the United States, and the Future of Regional Security Order – An Unhappy Coexistence." He also received a Master of Diplomacy with highest honours and was awarded the James Ingram Prize for Excellence in Diplomatic Studies. From 2007 until 2013, Paul deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan with Stryker and Special Operations Forces where he was responsible for directing intelligence operations in support of the Coalition's counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations at the Company, Battalion, Combined Task Force, and Joint Task Force levels. He recently graduated first in his class from the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island with an M.A. in Defense and Strategic Studies.

Paul is the author of numerous articles appearing in journals such as the Army Magazine, the Asia Pacific Bulletin, Asian Security, Defence Studies, Journal of Military Ethics, Military Review, Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin, Small Wars and Insurgencies, and the Small Wars Journal. His military education includes the United States Army Airborne School, Ranger School, Military Intelligence Officer's Basic Course, and Infantry Captain's Career Course (Honor Graduate). His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal (1 OLC), Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal (3 OLC), Army Achievement Medal, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, Combat Action Badge, Ranger Tab, Parachutist Badge, and German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge (Gold). Paul is also a recipient of the Military Intelligence Corps Association's Knowlton Award for significant contribution to Army intelligence.

Nicole Matejic Adjunct Lecturer

Nicole is a part-time Lecturer and internationally recognised military information operations and social media advisor. Nicole is also well regarded for her crisis communications acumen. Nicole has lectured and worked extensively overseas, including as a foundation instructor for NATO's Allied Transformation Command's social media course, as an instructor at NATO School and a speaker at NATO's Public Diplomacy Forum.

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Nicole is a sought after public speaker and media commentator in the areas of social media radicalisation, crisis communications and countering violent extremism. She works with Australian State and Federal Government agencies, international Governments and the private sector in building resilience and capability for the social media battlefield.     Nicole spent over ten years working across the areas of intelligence, passenger operations and strategic communications during her career as a public servant. Her time in uniform with Australia's Customs and Border Protection Service (now Australian Border Force) and later as a civilian with the Australian Department of Defence saw her work in operational and intelligence roles at Australia's airports and then in ministerial liaison and strategic communications across the national security and defence portfolios.

Her research interests include: • Information warfare • Psychological warfare • Social media data science • Behavioural and cognitive psychology • Australian Foreign Fighters