Pete Connolly is an expert in security, strategy, and international relations with 36 years of experience in the Australian Defence Force and a PhD in international, political, and strategic studies. His dissertation analyzed change in China’s statecraft in the Pacific Islands from 2017 and local responses to it. His analysis connects extensive on-the-ground research in Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Fiji with China’s strategic interests. As a military officer he led multidisciplinary teams in planning, analysis, engagement, and research in Defence, the Pentagon, and coalition operations. These roles included serving as engagements chief in the Pakistan-Afghanistan Coordination Cell, J5, U.S. Joint Staff; director of international engagement in the Australian Army; and director of the Australian Army Research Centre. He is now adviser on the Pacific to Australia’s chief of joint operations. As an infantry officer, Pete saw operational service as a platoon commander in Somalia (1993), company commander in the Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste (2000), chief of operations and plans for Regional Command South Afghanistan in Kandahar (2006), and the commanding officer of the Australian task force in Uruzgan (2009). He instructed at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, served as the aide to a minister in the Australian Parliament, and commanded the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment. Colonel Connolly was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for command and leadership in action, the Conspicuous Service Cross for enhancing international engagement, the Canadian Chief of Defence Staff Commendation for planning Operation Medusa, and the U.S. Defense Meritorious Service Medal for achievement on the Joint Staff.