Institute for Future


09 May 2018

Major General Jeff Sengelman (retired) and Professor Ron Arkin will discuss high performance special forces, as well as the many factors of conflict and warfare which relate to autonomous and semi-autonomous systems.


Unfortunately, warfare and conflict in their many forms seem destined to blight our world for the foreseeable future. While war continues to be fundamentally a human endeavour whose character remains largely unchanged, the nature of contemporary and future conflict is undergoing significant changes.

Speaking from direct and extensive experience, Major General Jeff Sengelman (retired), as a former commander of Special Operations Australia, will reflect on high performance special forces teams and the attributes that have made them so globally successful under the most extreme conditions and circumstances. From this, he will more widely discuss how autonomous and semi-autonomous systems, and the technologies that underpin them, are likely to impact fundamentally on current cultural, military, societal, ethical and legal approaches to conflict and warfare.


Major General Jeff Sengelman retired from the Australian Army in 2017 after 37 years of service, most recently as Special Operations Commander Australia. Prior to this final appointment in 2014, Jeff served in a variety of senior roles, including as Commander Forces Command, responsible for the training and preparation of more than 28,000 men and women, and also as Deputy Chief of Army and Head of Modernisation and Strategic Planning – Army.

During a military career that began at the Officer Cadet School Portsea in 1980, Jeff served extensively with the Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) as a Freefall and Counter Terrorist Troop Commander and unit Adjutant. He later returned to SASR as Sabre Squadron Commander for war roles and counter terrorist duties, and unit Operations Officer following an appointment as staff officer (Operations) to Headquarters Special Operations.

A graduate of the Australian Army Command and Staff College, and the United States Army War College, Jeff fulfilled several Army leadership appointments, including command of 4th Battalion (Commando) Royal Australian Regiment, Staff Officer (Policy) to the Chief of the Defence Force, Director Military Art at the Royal Military College of Australia, and Commander 6th Brigade.

Jeff has seen combat operations in many theatres across the world including Iraq, Afghanistan and South-East Asia, and received numerous awards including the Distinguished Service Cross, the US Legion of Merit and a Member of the Order of Australia. He has a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts (International Relations), as well as a Master of Arts (Strategic Studies) and is a Harvard International Fellow of the Kennedy School of Government.

Ronald C. Arkin is Regents' Professor and Director of the Mobile Robot Laboratory in the College of Computing at Georgia Tech and is the Director of the Mobile Robot Laboratory. He served as STINT visiting Professor at KTH in Stockholm, Sabbatical Chair at the Sony IDL in Tokyo, member of the Robotics and AI Group at LAAS/CNRS in Toulouse, and recently completed a year’s leave at QUT and CSIRO.

Professor Arkin's research interests include behaviour-based control and action-oriented perception for mobile robots and UAVs, deliberative/reactive architectures, robot survivability, multi-agent robotics, biorobotics, human-robot interaction, machine deception, robot ethics, and learning in autonomous systems. His books include Behavior-Based Robotics, Robot Colonies, and Governing Lethal Behavior in Autonomous Robots.

He has provided expert testimony to the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Pentagon and others on Autonomous Systems Technology. Professor Arkin served on the Board of Governors of the IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology, the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (RAS) AdCom, and is a founding co-chair of IEEE RAS Technical Committee on Robot Ethics. He is a Distinguished Lecturer for the IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology and a Fellow of the IEEE.

09 May 2018 - 09 May 2018
3:00pm – 5:00pm
QUT Gardens Point
The Forum, P-419 , Level 4, P Block
QUT Institute for Future Environments
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Major General Jeff Sengelman (retired) (Former Special Operations Commander Australia)

Professor Ron Arkin (Mobile Robot Laboratory, Georgia Institute of Technology)


Institute for Future Environments

  • Phone: 3138 9500
  • Int. phone: +61 7 3138 9500
  • Fax: +61 7 3138 4438
  • Level 6, P Block
    Gardens Point
    2 George St
    Brisbane QLD 4000
  • Postal address:
    Institute for Future Environments
    GPO Box 2434
    Brisbane QLD 4001