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Security & Defence PLuS Appoints Ian Langford as New Executive Director

8 January, 2024

Former Australian Defence Force Brigadier Ian Langford brings wealth of defence expertise and insight to the role


Three of the world’s leading universities have strengthened their shared commitment to help advance and support statecraft, research, and policy in the spirit of the AUKUS partnership by appointing a new Executive Director to lead their Security and Defence PLuS operations.

PLuS Alliance is proud to announce the appointment of Brig (R’td) Dr Ian Langford, DSC and Bars, PhD as the newly appointed Executive Director of Security and Defence PLuS. 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.

“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. I am grateful to the PLus Alliance Chair and the three university presidents for their support and guidance and look forward to elevating the role of the Alliance over the coming months and years ahead”. 

Sir Malcolm Grant, Chair of PLuS Alliance, said he was delighted with the appointment, noting “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.”

With 30 years of experience as a senior officer in the Australian Defence Force, Ian Langford has had the challenge and opportunity of leading large and small teams in complex and ambiguous environments. Ian has held a range of appointments in the Army and Special Forces throughout his career. Ian commanded the 2nd Commando Regiment, as well as multiple Special Operations Task Groups in Afghanistan, Iraq, and on domestic counter-terrorism duties. Ian has also led at the strategic level, responsible for the Army’s future strategic investments, future concepts and capabilities, major capital acquisitions and critical sustainment systems as the Head of Land Capability on two separate occasions in both 2019/20 and again in 2022.

Ian 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.

Ian 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 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. Recognized 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.

Media Inquiries

Interested in speaking with the Security & Defence PLuS team? Media inquiries can be made to the following contacts: