**SOLD OUT** Mission Critical: The Business of AUKUS

AmCham AUKUS Business Lunch
About the Event

The AUKUS pact is set to provide a long term boost to Australian industry beyond the defence sector. Much has been made of plans to acquire nuclear submarines - but what of the second pillar of AUKUS?

AUKUS aims to strengthen diplomatic, security and defence cooperation, focusing on deepening integration in defence-related science, technology, industrial bases and supply chains, with particular emphasis on cyber capabilities, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies and new undersea capabilities. 

At this business luncheon, an outstanding panel of experts will discuss the emerging reality of AUKUS Pillar 2, and what it might mean for Australian industry.


Amanda Holt

 Chief Executive Officer | Sypaq

With a career spanning across the defence and technology sectors, Amanda brings a wealth of expertise and a deep understanding of innovation and enterprise-level solutions to address some of Defence’s toughest challenges, seeing Amanda recognised as the inaugural Defence Connect Executive of the Year in 2019, and leading SYPAQ to be recognised as the Australian Financial Review’s Most Innovative Company for 2023.

As the Chief Executive Officer of SYPAQ, a leading engineering and systems integration company demonstrating the innovation potential of local defence industry, Amanda has consistently demonstrated her capability to lead and influence complex organisational improvements across technology, plans, and people. Her collaborative approach has consistently delivered effective results, from the boardroom to the battlespace.

Amanda is proud to describe SYPAQ’s contribution to the autonomous systems industry as the renaissance of the Australian Aerospace industry. “Fishermans Bend was the original home of Australian Aerospace, so establishing our advanced manufacturing facility and Defence Autonomy Centre of Excellence here in Port Melbourne pays homage to this important part of Australia’s innovation and industrial heritage”.

Beyond her professional achievements, Amanda remains actively engaged in various professional organisations, and continues to be active in the engineering disciple, as a Fellow and Engineering Executive of Engineers Australia. She is also a valuable member of the RMIT Aerospace Engineering Advisory Board, the Defence Council Victoria, industry co-chair of the Defence Maritime Environmental Working Group (MEWG), and co-chair on the Army’s Land Environment Working Group (LEWG).  

Amanda has recently been appointed as Non-Executive Director for PWR Group Holdings and CEA Technologies – two innovative Australian advanced technology businesses.


Professor Saeid Nahavandi

Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research & Chief of Defence Innovation

Distinguished Professor Saeid Nahavandi is currently Swinburne University of Technology’s inaugural Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Chief of Defence Innovation. Saeid Nahavandi received a Ph.D. from Durham University, U.K. in 1991. His research interests include autonomous systems, modeling of complex systems, robotics and haptics.

Saeid was the recipient of the Clunies Ross Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2022 from the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences & Engineering, Researcher of the Year for Australian Space Awards 2021, Australian Defence Industry Awards - Winner of Innovator of the year, The Essington Lewis Awards, and Australian Engineering Excellence Awards - Professional Engineer of the Year. Saeid a Fellow of IEEE (FIEEE), Engineers Australia (FIEAust), the Institution of Engineering and Technology (FIET). Saeid is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE).

Doug Ridd

Head of Government Relations & Education Partnerships | Boeing

Doug’s career spans nearly 25 years in Defence and defence industry.  He joined Boeing in September 2021 as the Head of Government Affairs, and leads the development and oversight of all facets of government relations which includes Boeing’s relationship with governments, oppositions and parliaments, as well as key peak industry bodies and regulators.  Doug is also responsible for Boeing’s education partnerships in Australia and New Zealand.

Prior to joining Boeing, Doug had a distinguished career across various levels of government, including as deputy chief of staff and senior adviser to the then Minister for Defence Industry (Cabinet). Doug has been a senior adviser to four ministers in the defence portfolio and is a former Defence official, bringing almost 15 years of policy experience from across Australia’s Department of Defence.  


Colonel Lewis Vaughn

Chief of the Office of Defence Cooperation | US Embassy, Canberra

Col Lewis M. Vaughn III is the Chief of the Office of Defense Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Canberra, Australia. In this position, he leads the U.S. and Australian cooperative planning, development, and execution of security cooperation activities in support of U.S. national security objectives and the U.S.-Australia Alliance.

Prior to his current assignment, Col Vaughn attended the U.S. Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama.
In 2001, Col Vaughn received his commission through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at Cornell University. Following commissioning, he served as an electromagnetic warfare test manager and flight test engineer at the Central Inertial Guidance Test Facility and subsequently served as a GPS systems engineer at the Space and Missiles Systems Center. In 2008, Col Vaughn received an Olmsted Fellowship to study international relations in Mandarin Chinese at the Center for Chinese and American Studies in Nanjing, China. Following accession into the foreign area officer program, Col Vaughn served as a security cooperation officer at the Joint United States Military Assistance Group in the Republic of the Philippines and the United States Military Training Mission in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Additionally, he has served at the Pentagon on both the Joint Staff and Air Staff including the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force for International Affairs in which he was responsible for developing and implementing foreign disclosure and technology transfer policy to allies and partners.

Col Vaughn has earned master’s degrees in electrical engineering, international studies, and security studies. He has served as an engineering officer and foreign area officer in a wide variety of acquisition, staff, and joint assignments.

Bec Shrimpton (Moderator)

Director - Defence Strategy & National Security | Australian Strategic Policy Institute

Bec is Director Defence Strategy and National Security at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, having previously been responsible for convening The Sydney Dialogue, Australia’s premier policy summit for critical, emerging, cyber and space technology.

Bec has over 20 years experience in policy, operational and corporate roles in the Australian Department of Defence and in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. She has served as senior adviser Major Powers to Australia’s Foreign Minister, and led trade and investment in the defence and space sectors in Austrade. For the last decade Bec has specialised in space policy, deterrence and advanced capabilities, including the role of commercial dual use technologies and innovation in national security.

Bec has provided high level policy advice to the Australian Government on Australia’s relations with the US, China, Five Eyes, SEA, the Pacific and on policy issues related to terrorism, insurgency, cyber, space, missile defence, nuclear and strategic deterrence and critical technologies. From 2015-2017 Bec was Counsellor Defence Strategic Policy in the Australian Embassy in Washington.

Bec is a Fellow of the Abshire-Inamori Leadership Program (2017) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC and an Alumni of the Munich Young Leaders Forum (2015). She is an Alumni of the Australian War College (2013 Defence and Strategic Studies Course) and is a Fellow of the College. She has a Masters of Strategic Studies (with Honours) from the Australian National University and a Masters of Strategic Studies from Deakin University.



Member: Single $199 / Table of 10 $1990
Non-Members: Single $249 / Table of 10 $2490

 Event Partners 




20/06/2024 11:45 AM
AUS Eastern Standard Time
Stamford Plaza Hotel 111 Little Collins Street MELBOURNE, VIC 3000 AUSTRALIA


Thursday, 20 June 2024

11:45 AM - 2:00 PM
20/06/2024 11:45 AM
11:45 AM - 2:00 PM
20/06/2024 11:45 AM

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