Departmental Seminar

Australia’s export controls on military & strategic technologies

Dr Michael West
Director - Technical Assessments
Defence Export Controls

To meet its international obligations, Australia regulates the physical export and electronic supply of certain military and strategic goods and technologies. These export controls cover a wide range of sensitive and emerging technologies in fields as diverse as hypersonics and space systems, biological sciences, materials engineering, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, and underwater sensing. These technologies all have the potential to be used to develop military goods or contribute to weapons of mass destruction programs. This presentation will demystify Australia’s export control framework, describe the Defence and Strategic Goods List and explain researchers’ legal obligations. Case studies will explore and highlight when a permit, issued by Defence Export Controls (DEC), is required. The presentation will also describe how DEC can work with research groups to tailor permits for specific projects to reduce the regulatory burden.

Dr Michael West has degrees in Aerospace Engineering and Science (majoring in Physics and Geophysics) from the University of Sydney and a PhD in Applied Physics from the Australian National University. His doctoral thesis detailed the first extensive space simulation tests of the Helicon Double Layer Thruster prototype – a new plasma propulsion system for spacecraft.

Dr West has over a decade of experience with the Department of Defence and has worked in engineering analysis, policy and governance, and technical management roles that support the Defence capability development and acquisition process. He has managed a $100+ million research and development project for an emerging military technology in collaboration with a major Australian industry partner. Dr West currently leads Defence Export Controls’ Technical Assessments Directorate, which assesses export applications against the Defence and Strategic Goods List. He also oversees Australia’s technical input to the four key international export control regimes and represents Australia at the Wassenaar Arrangement, which covers military and strategic dual use technologies.

Dr West is a Senior Member of the American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics (AIAA) and in 2018 received AIAA’s prestigious Lawrence Sperry Award for his contributions to the AIAA and the Australian aerospace sector. Past recipients include Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, and Gene Kranz, NASA’s Chief Flight Director during the Apollo lunar landing missions.

Date & time

Wed 9 Jun 2021, 11am–12pm



Oliphant Seminar Room Lv4.414


Members of RSPE welcome