Guy Boekenstein is an experienced defence and national security professional with a deep knowledge of the Indo-Pacific region and extensive Asia networks who has worked in government and the business sector in senior advisory and executive roles. He was previously senior adviser to Australia’s Minister of Defence and the Secretary of the Department of Home Affairs. More recently, he was responsible for defence strategy and engagement in the Northern Territory government working closely with the Deputy CEO of the Chief Minister’s Department and the Defence and National Security Advocate. In each of these roles he was required to develop and lead high-level policy initiatives, industry cooperation projects, people-to-people linkages and capacity building projects.
Guy has focused on building practical relationships between Australia and a range of Indo-Pacific countries for government including Japan, Indonesia, India, Vietnam, the Republic of Korea, Timor-Leste and other Pacific Island nations. Guy has spent nearly two decades working in the region including on two diplomatic assignments to Japan and Indonesia with the Australian Department of Defence. He was the first Australian Defence civilian to graduate from the Japanese National Institute for Defense Studies and he also served with the United Nations Command (Rear) in Japan.
Guy is passionate about increasing Asia literacy in Australia. His professional networks in the region traverse governments, industry and civil society. Leveraging these people-to-people linkages is central to government and commercial success. As an example, Guy designed and delivered a new platform in Indonesia for the Australian Department of Defence to engage with Indonesian counterparts. This was the only Defence-related initiatives referenced in the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper and a decade on still underpins the relationship. This earned him a Secretary of Defence commendation – the first presented to a Defence civilian having served in Asia.
Guy has spent more than five years working with state and territory governments (NSW, NT) in the trade and investment sector. A large part of this work was helping Australian SMEs with market entry and information, professional network connections and facilitating foreign investment into Australia.
Guy prides himself on his ability to analyse complex issues and problem solve in cross-cultural environments. He is a frequent think tank contributor including to the Asia Society and the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. Having spent 15 years living in Asia and immersing himself in various cultures, Guy is well placed to advise both the public and private sector on engagement. He speaks Japanese and Bahasa Indonesian and has a Master of International Relations degree from Kagoshima University, Japan.