Projects per year
I am an anthropologist by training. I have held academic positions in Australia and overseas, and have worked in the Australian Public service in various analytic, managerial and policy roles. I joined the Department of Security Studies and Criminology in 2018 as a lecturer in Intelligence Studies and Cyber Security.
I approach intelligence as a group effort to make sense of an uncertain reality in a way that can inform possible action. This may sound like the usual work of applied science. However, what sets intelligence apart is the adversarial context in which it is often embedded, and the immediate timeframe within which it operates. This makes it a fascinating domain to explore the dynamics of learning and understanding as a collective effort.
I am interested in distributed cognition, cognitive ecology, organisational learning and intelligence practices both inside and outside the formal intelligence enterprise. What this means in practice is that I strive to situate intelligence processes within their social and organisational contexts. Through research on deception, self-deception, counter-deception and strategic surprise I seek to better understand what constitutes situational awareness and situational understanding, how these two can be achieved in different conditions of uncertainty, and how they can be manipulated or defended. This would translated into interest in various areas that those in “the business” might call information warfare, decision advantage, intelligence evaluation, intelligence architecture and the like.
In my research I am particularly concerned with instances of asymmetric conflict where radicals and underdogs leverage superior insight and foresight to outsmart and outmanoeuvre their more powerful adversaries.I currently work on three ongoing projects: One focuses on cyber deception. Another revisits some Middle Eastern case studies to explore deception, self-deception and strategic surprise. The last one draws some general lessons from the Russian interference in the 2016 US election campaign and its aftermath.
My current research builds on my earlier research experience, which includes the investigation of such diverse topics as kinship and family in Australia and the securitisation of Arabic instruction in Israel. The common theme that runs through my work is my general interest in cognition and the way it is embedded in the lived world and how it is distributed across physical and social environments.
I currently teach in the Master of Intelligence Studies and Master of Cyber Security Analysis streams, where my courses have focused on cyber intelligence; intelligence theory and practice; counterintelligence; denial, deception and strategic surprise; The Australian Intelligence community; and OSINT.
In the earlier years of my academic career I taught courses on diverse themes including culture and cognition; qualitative and quantitative research methods; and anthropology of the Middle East.
Anthropology, PhD, Australian National University
Award Date: 22 Apr 2002
Anthropology, MA, Australian National University
Award Date: 2 Dec 1992
Education (Secondary), Graduate Diploma, University of Canberra
Award Date: 6 Nov 1992
History of the Middle East in the Modern Period (SM), BA (Magna cum Laude), Tel Aviv University
Award Date: 10 Mar 1986
Uhlmann, A. J., McCombie, S. & Watters, P., 2021, (Accepted/In press) Springer, Springer Nature. 200 p.
Research output: Book/Report › Book › peer-review
Turner, A. B., McCombie, S. & Uhlmann, A. J., 5 Jan 2021, Proceedings of the 54th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences | 2021. Honolulu: University of Hawaii at Manoa, p. 1560-1572 13 p.
Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding › Conference proceeding contribution › peer-reviewOpen AccessFile33 Downloads (Pure)
Turner, A. B., McCombie, S. & Uhlmann, A. J., 30 Nov 2020, In: Frontiers in Computer Science. 2, p. 1-12 12 p., 600596.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-reviewOpen AccessFile43 Downloads (Pure)
Turner, A. B., McCombie, S. & Uhlmann, A. J., 2020, In: Journal of Money Laundering Control. 23, 3, p. 545-589 45 p.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-review
McCombie, S. & Uhlmann, A. J., 7 Dec 2020, Australian Outlook.
Research output: Contribution to Newspaper/Magazine/Website › Website contributionOpen AccessFile13 Downloads (Pure)
Prize: Other distinction