Media Release: Launch of Air Power Scholars for Next Generation of Leaders

The Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Leo Davies, AO, CSC today launched the Air Power Scholar program as part of a cooperative endeavour with the Sir Richard Williams Foundation at the 2016 Air Power Conference in Canberra.

Photo: Department of Defence

Air Marshal Leo Davies said that the Air Power Scholars program aims to develop a small group of Air Force Officers with intellectual skills, theoretical knowledge and practical experience.

“The program will improve the capability of Air Force to shape strategic planning and policy development relating to air power, and improve Air Force’s influence on strategy and security in Australia.

“The five officers will be provided with an opportunity to take around 12 months full-time research/study leave from the Air Force, with the caveat that only one officer in the program will receive this study leave each year,” Air Marshal Davies explained.

The Williams Foundation will award a scholarship of up to $20,000 each year of the program to the candidate undertaking the full-time study. This payment will assist the scholars with expenses associated with their academic program and will contribute to consultancy fees for a program mentor, initially Dr. Alan Stephens.


Williams Foundation Board Chairman, Air Marshal Errol McCormack AO (ret’d) said that the Williams Foundation is proud to support the Air Power Scholar program.

“This agreement with the Air Force will enable the Foundation to formally support scholars in their further education and thus strengthen the level of debate on military aviation issues,” Air Marshal Errol McCormack (ret’d) said.

The selected candidates will be known as Sir Richard Williams Foundation Scholars. This five year pilot program will support the five selected Air Force officers to undertake PhD studies. The program is planned as a pilot with a mid-term review to be conducted after the third year.

The first scholars are:

WGCDR Jarrod Pendlebury The Dawn Horizon: Constructing an Air Force Identity at the Australian Defence Force Academy University of Sydney Anticipate completion in December 2018

GPCAPT Steve Edgeley Title TBA Subject: That recent changes in the operational environment have required the RAAF to focus on the application of joint effects, this change in operational focus has led to cultural and organisational changes that make it an imperative to embrace jointness. University of New South Wales Anticipate completion in December 2019

SQNLDR Travis Hallen The gatekeepers: The development of Royal Australian Air Force maritime patrol during the Cold War Australian National University Anticipate completion in December 2021

GPCAPT Phillip Champion Title TBA Subject: That the Western experience of protracted land campaigns in the Middle East since 1991 has led to a new model of air/land warfare.  University application underway Anticipate completion mid-2018.

WGCDR Jason Begley Soft Options for a Hard Issue Subject: assess the degree to which Air Force effectively projects soft power and whether there are viable opportunities for it to improve. University of New South Wales Anticipate completion in December 2019

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