Pete Connolly is completing a PhD on Chinese interests in Melanesia, drawing on extensive research in China, PNG, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and Timor-Leste 2014-2020.This has involved research in areas of economics, politics and security at both the national and the grassroots levels in Melanesia, enabling a dynamic comparison of China’s interests and influence across Melanesia as they have increased under Xi Jinping’s leadership, including the arrival of the Belt and Road Initiative in 2018.
Pete has previously conducted academic research on International Relations, National Interests, Strategy, and Security including the Australia-Indonesia Relationship (1991) and Australia’s Whole of Government Response to Terrorism (2002). In 2011 he published Counterinsurgency in Uruzgan 2009 to articulate the new counterinsurgency techniques used by his battle group in Afghanistan.
During a 33 year career as an infantry officer in the Australian Army, Pete commanded troops on active service in Somalia, Timor-Leste and Afghanistan from platoon through to battalion level. He led inter-disciplinary teams in planning, analysis, contestability and international engagement in Defence, the US Joint Staff and on coalition operations. He has worked in Parliament House, Sandhurst and the Pentagon, completing his service as Director International Engagement – Army, and Director Australian Army Research Centre.
Pete is completing his Doctorate with the Department of Pacific Affairs in the College of Asia and the Pacific at ANU. He provides advice to the Australian Department of Defence on the Pacific and is an Adjunct Fellow with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC.
Counterinsurgency in Uruzgan 2009, Study Paper no. 321 (Land Warfare Studies Centre (Australia)) August 2011, DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.13333.52961,
“Engaging China’s new foreign policy in the South Pacific”, Australian Journal of International Affairs, 29 Jun 2016, DOI: 10.1080/10357718.2016.1194805,
“Accidental Friction on the Belt and Road” The Strategist, ASPI, Canberra 5 June 2017,
“Chinese evacuation operations and power projection (Part 1): Overseas Citizen Protection” The Strategist, ASPI, Canberra 12 December 2018,
“The Belt and Road Comes to Papua New Guinea: Chinese Geoeconomics with Melanesian Characteristics?” Security Challenges 16, no. 4 (2020): 41-64.