Neil James is executive director of the Australia Defence Association (ADA), the independent, non-partisan, community-based, national public-interest watchdog organisation for strategic security, defence and wider national security matters.
As the ADA official spokesman he is also responsible for the Association's contributions to day-to-day public debate and for helping maintain the long-term and informed perspectives the ADA has long brought to such discourse. While this is a highly visible aspect of the ADA's public-interest watchdog work, it comprises only a small portion of the Association's overall public-interest advocacy and oversight efforts.
Most of the ADA's responsibilities involve behind-the-scenes liaison and negotiation concerning parliamentary, departmental and other public accountability mechanisms, defence capability development and strategic policy issues generally, and the ADA's extensive public education and community awareness activities.
Prior to taking up his current position with the ADA in May 2003 Neil served (full-time) for over 31 years in the Australian army. He continues to serve part-time as an active reservist and celebrated his 42nd anniversary serving with the Army in January 2015. His Army Reserve duties in historical research have been carefully structured (by both the ADA and the ADF) to exclude any potential for conflicts of interest with his civil position with the Association.
Neil's military experiences over four decades have spanned a wide range of regimental, intelligence, liaison, teaching, operational planning, operations research and historical research positions throughout Australia and overseas.