Defending Space

Vice Admiral Paul Maddison (Ret’d) is Director of the UNSW Defence Research Institute, responsible for enabling, facilitating, and integrating UNSW’s ground-breaking defence research capacity across the whole of the University. With a mandate to build deeper relationships and increased collaboration with Commonwealth, State, industry and international partners, the Defence Research Institute aims to strengthen UNSW’s position as Australia’s leading defence university, and to play a defining role in accelerating the delivery of capability for the Australian Defence Force. Paul is a graduate of Canada’s Royal Military College and served in the Canadian Armed Forces for 37 years. He commanded at all levels, both at sea and ashore, and retired in 2013 from his appointment as Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy. Following this, Paul served as High Commissioner of Canada to Australia, with accreditation to seven Pacific island countries. A newly minted Australian citizen, Paul is an (ice) hockey (Toronto) and Aussie Rules (Essendon) fan. He is married to Fay, who hails from Darwin, NT, and who was the strength behind his uniform in Canada for over 25 years.

Christine Zeitz is a leader in Australia’s defence industry, with over 30 years’ experience delivering world-class solutions and services across the Asia Pacific region to Defence, security, ICT and intelligence customers. Christine was appointed General Manager, Asia Pacific region, at Northrop Grumman in July 2020 with responsibility for all aspects of growth, program awards and financial performance in Australia, and oversight for Japan and Korea market development. Prior to joining Northrop Grumman Australia, Christine served as Chief Executive Officer of Leidos Australia for five years, where she delivered a 100 per cent growth in revenue through an ambitious restructure of the Australian business. This followed roles at Lockheed Martin, where she served as Vice President and Managing Director for Australia and Asia Pacific, and 25 years at BAE Systems Australia in various roles, culminating in her leading the maturation of globally strategic partnerships as President North East Asia. Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defense and cyberspace to meet the ever-evolving needs of its customers worldwide. Its 90,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.

Professor Russell Boyce holds the position of Chair for Intelligent Space Systems and Director of UNSW Canberra Space – Australia’s largest and leading space mission, research and education team. On the one hand, he has built and led teams pursuing game changing technologies across a three-decade career, firstly in hypersonics and scramjets, and now in the development of artificial-intelligence-enabled space systems. He played a significant role in the establishment of the Australian Space Agency, and is Australia’s only living Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. On the other hand, he is a graduate of INSEAD’s flagship Advanced Management Program and of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and is passionate about the art of strategic yet personal leadership in an increasingly complex world.

Air Commodore Philip Gordon is Director General Air Defence and Space where he leads the multi domain programs for Integrated Air and Missile Defence and Space Control. Gordon was appointed Member (AM) in the Military Division of the Order of Australia for exceptional service in aerospace capability development, air combat preparedness and operations management and control for the Australian Defence Force in 2020, recognition of his significant contribution to Australia’s Defence Force. Prior to his current role, as the Australian Joint Forces Air Component Commander, he was responsible for the air planning, command and control of major exercises and operations globally. He has been awarded a Commendation for Distinguished Service (CDS) for his command of the Air Task Group, which contributed strike, air to air refuelling, airborne and ground based command and control, intelligence and targeting capabilities to the US led coalition under Operation INHERENT RESOLVE. A graduate of the Australian Defence Force Academy, Air Commodore Gordon is married with two children at university.

Session 6: Defending Space

Activity in the Space domain was initially spurred on by Cold War competition between the USA and USSR. Crewed spaceflight, overhead sensing and global space surveillance networks were limited to these two nations. Over time, many other countries have developed space programs and industries, including Australia. The UK, France, India, Japan, Canada, Israel and of course the PRC have all surged ahead with their space programs, as have commercial space services providers. Space has become an integral enabler of military operations across the land, maritime, air and cyber domains; from the space-based detection of ballistic missile launches, to overhead intelligence sensing and threat detection, to precision navigation and weapons targeting, to global secure communications. Space has also become increasingly contested, with competing powers such as the USA and the PRC developing plans to deny one another freedom of manoeuvre in Space. The Australian Defence Force is seized by the strategic imperatives underpinning a sovereign Space capability, and has recently announced the stand-up next year of a new Space Division. What is the current state of play in Australia as we look to “Defend Space” alongside our key global and regional allies? What are the challenges we must overcome, and what are the opportunities we need to seize? What are the social science impacts?

Moderator: Professor Paul Maddison, Professor of Practice, Vice-Admiral (Ret’d),UNSW Defence Research Institute


  • Christine Zeitz, Northrop Grumman, Asia- Pacific
  • Professor Russell Boyce, UNSW Canberra Space
  • Air Commodore Philip Gordon, Air Defence and Space, Air Force Headquarters, Canberra

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