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09 January 2024

Security and Defence PLuS appoints new Executive Director

Security and Defence PLuS has appointed Ian Langford, a former Australian Defence Force Brigadier, to lead the partnership

Ian Langford Headshot PLUS alliance

King’s College London, Arizona State University (ASU) and the University of New South Wales (UNSW) have appointed a new Executive Director to lead their Security and Defence PLuS operations, strengthening their shared commitment to advance and support statecraft, research, and policy in the spirit of the AUKUS partnership.

Dr Ian Langford brings a distinguished military background and strategic insight to the role, aiming to advance education, research, and innovation globally in the national security sector.

Security & Defence PLuS is an academic research and educational collaboration between the three universities. It is aimed at advancing the AUKUS agreement between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

The collaboration provides independent, original knowledge and understanding of national and global security issues and serves as a keystone in the PLuS Alliance, a trilateral partnership between King's, ASU and UNSW aimed at solving pressing educational and societal challenges.

Langford's extensive leadership experience in the Australian Defence Force positions him well to contribute to the Alliance's mission.

I am extremely humbled and honoured to be given the opportunity to help lead Security and Defence PLuS at this most critical time. The shared vision of three of the world’s leading universities to lead, advocate and inspire global innovation, research and education across the national security sector offers universities, government and industry partners from the three AUKUS nations the chance to help shape the future.

Brig (R’td) Dr Ian Langford, DSC and Bars, PhD

Ian brings a wealth of experience and motivation to the role and will be instrumental in furthering PLuS Alliance’s mission of advancing education, research and innovation globally.

The appointment of Ian Langford to this leadership role marks a significant step forward for this unique alliance between three world-leading universities. He brings a remarkably distinguished military and strategic background to our initiative, and his vision and experience will allow the amazing resources of these universities to be brought ever closer together in support of the three AUKUS nations in meeting their shared security and defence needs.

Sir Malcolm Grant, Chair of PLuS Alliance

Dr Langford’s operational service includes deployments to Timor Leste, Afghanistan, Bougainville, Solomon Islands, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and the South-West Pacific. For his service, Ian has been awarded several Australian commendations, and the Distinguished Service Cross on three occasions. In 2019, he was appointed as an Honourary Aide de Camp to the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia. He was also until recently the patron of the Defence Entrepreneur’s Forum, an internationally recognised innovation pathway for young leaders as part of a global defence innovation network. 

Langford is a Distinguished Graduate of the United States Marine Corps Command and Staff College and the School of Advanced Warfighting. He is a Distinguished Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors Company Directors Course. He has also completed the Senior Executive Leadership program at the Australian National University as well as the Senior Leadership in National Security and the Senior Leadership in Government program from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Ian holds a bachelor’s degree in management, a Master of Arts, a Master of Defence Studies, a Master of Strategic Studies and a Doctor of Philosophy from Deakin University. He has been published dozens of times as an independent author, essayist and editor. In 2022, Ian retired from the Army as a Brigadier. He was also recently made a 2024 non-resident fellow of the Irregular Warfare Initiative, a joint collaboration between USMA West Point and Princeton University.

About the PLuS Alliance

PLuS Alliance was established in 2016 to bring together three globally influential universities to make a positive and lasting contribution to global innovation, research and education. The Alliance is focused on building interdisciplinary collaborative projects in education and research in areas such as sustainable development, global health, social justice, and technology and innovation.

About Security & Defence PLuS

Security & Defence PLuS is the flagship program of PLuS Alliance. It redefines the possibilities for partnership between universities and with government and industry partners. Recognised and trusted across all lines of strategic influence in the US, UK, and Australia, our academic alliance enables the acceleration of trilateral, full-spectrum collaboration for security and defence in the spirit of AUKUS.