Royal Society of NSW News & Events

Royal Society of NSW News & Events

1310th OGM and Open Lecture

Major General (Retd) Gus Mclachlan“Drones, Smart Munitions, and Cyberspace: the 21st Century Defence of Ukraine and its implications for Australia”

Major General (Retd) Fergus (Gus) McLachlan AO &
Colonel (Retd) Andrew Condon CSC


Date: Wednesday, 1 February 2023, 6.30 pm AEDT 
Venue: Gallery Room, State Library of NSW, Shakespeare Place, Sydney
Video Presentation: YouTube video
All are welcome

Summary: On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine in a major escalation of a war that began in 2014. The invasion has caused immense suffering in Ukraine with over 10m people displaced and significant damage to civil infrastructure, as well as food shortages in Africa and the Middle East and energy shortages across Europe. Many commentators expected that Russian forces would quickly overwhelm Ukrainian defences and cause regime change in Kyiv. However Ukrainian national unity and a courageous and competent military defence have halted and recently reversed Russian gains.

Major General Gus McLachlan will describe the origins of the war in Ukraine as they form part of a challenge to the "Rules-based Global Order" that has provided relative global stability for 80 years. He will describe the impact of modern Information Warfare — a battle in cyberspace and social media - on the maintenance of Ukrainian national resolve and western support. He will describe the impact on the war of advanced guided weapons such as the Javelin Missile and the HIMARS long-range rocket system and the impact of drones — robotic and autonomous air, sea and land systems — on modern warfare. He will describe the impact of modern war on Australia's defence planning in light of developing tensions in the South China Sea and around Taiwan.

Major General (Retd) Fergus McLachlan AO retired from the Australian Army in 2018. His senior appointments in the Army included responsibility for Modernisation and Strategic Planning, during which time he created the first Army cyber capability, introduced reconnaissance drones and commenced the creation of a deployable digital command and control system — a military "internet of things". His last appointment in the Army was as Commander of Land Forces Command. Land Forces Command comprised 36,000 women and men in roles as diverse as helicopter crews, tank and artillery units through to logistics and satellite communications. He saw active service in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Since leaving the Army he has undertaken executive and advisory roles in Defence Industry, Private Equity, Cyber Security and Information Systems companies. He was appointed Adjunct Professor at Monash University where he advises on the application of research in Defence and National Security, and he chairs the Advisory Board for Cyber and Data Security Research at Charles Sturt University. He is a Director of the not-for-profit Aerospace and Space think-tank, The Williams Foundation. He has an undergraduate degree from UNSW, a Master's degree from the University of Canberra, and is a graduate of the Harvard Advanced Management Program and the Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership. He was made an Officer in the Order of Australia for his service modernising the Army and was appointed an Officer of the US Legion of Merit for his service in Afghanistan. 

Colonel (Retd) Andrew Condon was appointed in 2022 as the inaugural Industry Professor Veterans and their Families at the Australian Catholic University, coming to this appointment from a long background working professionally in the veteran and families sector.

During his 27 years in the Australian Army, Andrew Condon deployed to Iraq in 2004, and in 2006 deployed as the ADF Joint Task Force Commander for the evacuation of over 5000 Australian nationals during the war in Lebanon between Israel and Hezbollah forces, for which he was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross. Post the ADF Andrew took up the appointment of CEO Sydney Legacy in 2007, that re-structured as NSW Legacy Associated Clubs, until 2015. In addition, he was appointed to the Prime Ministerial Advisory Council on Ex-Service Matters, from 2011 to 2014.

Andrew is a Graduate Member of the Institute of Company Directors and in 2012 he was appointed to the Board of Vasey Housing NSW, an organisation established after WWII to provide low-cost housing for war widows. He served on the Vasey Board until 2021. In late 2016 he was appointed to the Board of RSL LifeCare and in 2022 to the National Aged Care Advisory Council. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering UNSW, and Master of Science in Military Operations Research University of Cranfield UK, and is a Graduate of the US Army Command and General Staff College.

Site by
Privacy policy |  Links to other societies
Editor Login
Disclaimer: Positions expressed on this website by authors of publications and
event presenters do not necessarily reflect those of the Society.
The Royal Society of New South Wales acknowledges the traditional custodians
of the lands on which we live and work, and we pay our respects to Elders past and present.
All rights reserved. Copyright © The Royal Society of NSW.
ABN: 76 470 896 415


We use cookies on our website. Some of them are essential for the operation of the site, while others help us to improve this site and the user experience (tracking cookies). You can decide for yourself whether you want to allow cookies or not. Please note that if you reject them, you may not be able to use all the functionalities of the site.