Queen’s honours for leading defence thinkers

Professor Des Ball. Photo by Bob Cooper.
09 June 2014
Professor Des Ball. Photo by Bob Cooper.

Two leading defence and intelligence analysts from the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific have been honoured for their contribution to the nation in the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Order of Australia Honours.

Professor Desmond Ball and Professor Hugh White – both from the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre in the School of International, Political and Strategic Studies – have been appointed as Officers in the Order of Australia (AO).

They join seven other high-profile members of the ANU community named in Monday’s honours.

Professor Des Ball AO has been recognised for distinguished service to international relations as an academic, author and researcher, as well as for his contributions to Australian Defence policy formulation, and the security architecture of the Asia Pacific region.

“I am honoured and privileged to be awarded this AO,” Professor Ball said.

“I have always regarded myself as a nationalist. Therefore, so much of my work on national defence has been designed to make sure we have the requisite capabilities for Australia’s defence.

“Indeed it is for these very reasons that I have opposed Australia’s recent expeditions to countries like Afghanistan and Iraq.

“At the same time, I am a little surprised in winning this award. Over the decades of my work, I have also dedicated myself to critiquing Australia’s defence and intelligence communities.

“This has inevitably earned me the enmity of a very influential and powerful element of that establishment. In some ways that makes this award even more rewarding.”

Described as “the man who saved the world” by former US President Jimmy Carter, Professor Ball also won the Peter Baume Award in 2013 – the University’s highest accolade.

His remarkable, almost 50-year career as an ‘insurgent intellectual’ is the subject of a book of essays in his honour, and has also been canvassed by the ABC’s 7.30 program in a two-part series – the first airing tonight.

ANU has unveiled a $1.5 million endowment in Professor Ball's honour.

Hugh White. Photo by Jimmy Walsh.

Professor Hugh White, who is also an ANU public policy fellow, won his award for distinguished service to international affairs, to strategic defence studies as an analyst, academic and adviser to government, and to public administration.    

“The award is a welcome sign that our work here is valued as a useful contribution to Australia.  And of course it is a great honour to join the ranks of my colleagues who have been similarly honoured,” Professor White said.

Professor White is well-known for his calls for Australia to look beyond its alliance with the US, as well as how America should deal with a rising China – the subject of his book The China Choice

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