Whether its abseiling down the side of one of Navy’s biggest ships in the middle of the Pacific, or providing support during the bushfire crisis, Alex Lee’s career in STEM with Defence has offered a variety of experiences this year.
Being able to get in amongst the action is what he enjoys most about his job as Science Adviser to the Chief of Joint Operations.
“The most exciting aspect of my role is being able to get involved in a whole range of new and different science and technology disciplines that DST are investigating, and then play a role in how they are used by the ADF on current operations,” Mr Lee said.
“It’s also exciting when I am participating on exercises or on deployments and I get to see all the Defence equipment up close.”
He described his role at Joint Operations Command (JOC) as that of a translator between scientists and the military.
“With my scientific background I can understand what the scientists are doing, and help them interact with the military to ensure their research is directed to the highest priority issues,” Mr Lee said.
“In a similar way, by being based at JOC and having daily interaction with the military, I am able to offer a scientific perspective to their emerging problems and ensure they can be put in contact with the best DST scientists who have expertise they can draw on.”
Earlier this year, he used his skills in STEM as part of Operation Bushfire Assist to coordinate the DST support to design improved communications for ADF personnel deployed in active fire areas when there was no mobile coverage.
“I also assisted with enhanced logistical support that helped with evacuating and supporting bushfire victims, and for facilitating DST staff and aircraft that are normally used to undertake experiments," Mr Lee said.
He also helped to spot fires and blocked roads, and passed the information to crews on the ground.
More recently, he was on board HMAS Canberra as part of the Regional Presence Deployment.
“During the course of our mission, I was able to provide support across a diverse range of STEM topics,” he said.
“This included providing advice on intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance using my background in geospatial intelligence.
“I also facilitated information transfer from JOC, DST, other areas in Defence and our international allies about the latest research and development of COVID-19 monitoring that could be used by the health professionals on board to ensure we remained safe.”
Mr Lee said people who had a passion for science should consider a role in STEM with the Department of Defence.
“There are always many varied and interesting opportunities available, particularly as Defence becomes more high tech,” he said.