Mr James Brown
James Brown is the President of the Returned and Services League NSW, a volunteer position elected by the league’s 35,000 members. Founded in 1916, the RSL is Australia’s largest veterans’ charity and is dedicated to ensuring veterans and their families are respected, supported, and remembered.
In addition to serving as a director of the Invictus Games Sydney 2018, James serves as the chairman of the Anzac House Trust, deputy chair of the Anzac Memorial Trust, chairman and trustee of the RSL Welfare and Benevolent Institute, and is a director of RSL Lifecare Ltd.
A former Australian Army officer, James commanded a cavalry troop in southern Iraq, served on the Australian taskforce headquarters in Baghdad, managed operations and contingency planning for Australia’s Solomon Islands mission (for which he was awarded a commendation), and served with coalition Special Forces in Afghanistan. He also instructed at the Army’s Combined Arms Training Centre.
After leaving the Australian Defence Force James worked as a research fellow at the Lowy Institute for International Policy, a foreign policy think tank based in Sydney. His research focused on defence operations, policy, and strategy. Between 2015 and 2018 he worked at the United States Studies Centre, directing programs focused on the Australia-United States alliance. He remains a Non-Resident Fellow at the centre and an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Sydney.
James’s first book was the acclaimed Anzac’s Long Shadow: The Cost of Our National Obsession (Black Inc, 2014), which examined Australian thinking on the military and veterans. It was shortlisted for the John Button Prize for writing on public policy. In 2016 James wrote the Quarterly Essay Firing Line: Australia’s path to war. He is a regular contributor on defence and veterans’ issues to Australian and international media and appears weekly on Sky News Australia.
James studied economics at the University of Sydney and completed graduate studies in strategy at the University of New South Wales. He is a graduate of the Royal Military College, Duntroon. He lives in Sydney with his wife and two young children, and is an active member of the North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club.