Board of Directors

The Institute's activities rely heavily on the efforts of several key groups, led by our pro bono Board of Directors.

Andrew Balmaks

Chairman and Research Committee Member

Andrew is a founder and the Chairman of the Noetic Group which operates both in Australia and overseas. His primary responsibility is as the Chief Executive Officer of Noetic Solutions, overseeing its growth and leading projects of strategic significance. He retired from the Australian Army, after 22 years’ service, and has continued to work extensively on defence and security matters consulting to a range of Government departments both in Australia and overseas. Andrew typically works with and advises senior executives in relation to their key organisational challenges and has built a strong reputation for dealing with difficult and sensitive issues, demonstrating an ability to ‘unpack’ these issues and develop ‘de-sensitised’ and implementable options to address them. He is a twice former visiting fellow with the University of New South Wales and sits on a number of boards / advisory bodies including the University of Canberra School of Government Course Advisory Group.  


Simon Cullen AM, CSC

Deputy Chair

Rear Admiral Simon Cullen retired from the Royal Australian Navy in late 2014, following a 38-year career.His career highlights included command at sea and ashore, extensive operational service and appointments to key senior military positions in the United States.  Rear Admiral Cullen is now pursuing a portfolio of new challenges, ranging from consulting to working in the not-for-profit and charity sectors. He resides in Canberra.


Peter Nicholson, AO

Executive Director

Former senior Air Force officer who has held several operational commands and strategic level joint staff appointments. He has commanded the RAAF combat force, served as the Head of Strategic Policy and Plans, and as the Chief Knowledge Officer of the Department of Defence.


Jim Bancroft

Jim Bancroft retired from the Australian Army in 2004, following a 28-year career. His military career highlights included command of a United Nations Brigade in East Timor, Battalion command and Commandant of the Australian Army Command and Staff College at Queenscliff. Commercial experience has included Director, Northrop Grumman Australia; Government Account Manager for Hewlett Packard and Business Development Manager, Saab Systems Australia. He has recently established his own Company supporting the growth of high Technology Australian SME’s.



Brett Biddington, AM

Treasurer and Research Committee Member

Brett Biddington consults to governments and the private sector on space matters and has more general interests in community resilience, notably in the electronic and communications and cyberspace domains. He maintains strong linkages to all elements of the Australian space community including the national security, space science, astronomy and education sectors. Previously he was a member of the Cisco Systems Space Team, in the vanguard of activities which are transforming global space communications and before that was an officer in the Royal Australian Air Force specialising in intelligence, security and capability development.


Jasmin Craufurd-Hill

Jasmin Craufurd-Hill is a Management lecturer and consultant who has held both senior and project management roles within the government, not-for-profit and emergency services sectors. She currently serves as an Executive Board Member of Women in Nuclear (WiN) Global and previously served as the I&C Team Leader for the OPAL Reactor’s Commissioning Operations Group at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO). She is an Associate Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management and a member of both the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Australian Institute of Project Management.


Drew McKinnie

Drew McKinnie served for over 34 years in the RAN, as an Engineer Officer, completing full time service as Director General Major Surface Ships. He is now serving as a Reserve Commodore on the Defence Independent Seaworthiness Management Review Panel. He is an expert negotiation consultant, strategist and trainer, with expertise in strategic and enterprise risk management.  He is Chairman of Operations for the Gliding Federation of Australia.  Drew has a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical) and Master of Arts in Strategic Studies.



Nicole Quinn

Nicole Quinn is the Director of Government Relations at Parker & Partners and heads up the Canberra operations of opr Agency.  Nicole has more than 20 years’ experience advising in executive management, advocacy and stakeholder relations at the Federal Government level. Firstly in Sydney and then Canberra, Nicole has held senior roles in marketing, communications, sponsorship and stakeholder relations in the corporate sector, with peak industry bodies and Federal Government Agencies. Nicole is currently also a board member of the air power think tank, the Sir Richard Williams Foundation.


Rebekka Wheate

Rebekka Rebekka Wheate has over 15 years experience in the national security community and is currently a Senior Advisor at the Department of The Prime Minister and Cabinet.  This follows previous policy and operational roles in the Australian Border Force, Australian Federal Police, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.


Christine Zeitz

Christine Zeitz is Chief Executive of Leidos Australia and has over 25 years’ experience in industry as a defence, security and ICT expert. She is responsible for the performance and delivery of programs, as well as strategic growth of Leidos Australia and Asia Pacific, and has a record of achieving excellent business outcomes in challenging circumstances across geographic regions. Christine holds a Bachelor of Economics (Accounting) from Flinders University, completed post-graduate courses in business administration, management and marketing with the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Harvard Business School and the University of South Australia. She is also a member of the Defence Council of Victoria and a council member of Flinders University (South Australia).








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