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Centre for Defence Leadership & Ethics

Above: Simpson and his donkey, 1915 (Bronze)
Peter Corlett, 1987-88, Melbourne, Victoria
Australian War Memorial Art Collection (ID ART40933)

The Centre for Defence Leadership and Ethics (CDLE) is located at the Australian Defence College (ADC) Campus at Weston Creek, in the Australian Capital Territory. The Centre is a central point of contact for Defence members for information, research and education in the areas of leadership and military ethics.

A main activity of the Centre is to provide support to the command, leadership and ethics elements in the education of personnel across the professional military education continuum, including the Australian Defence Force Academy, the Australian Command and Staff College, the Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies and the three single Services (Navy, Army and Air Force).

With an experienced team of tri-Service and Australian Public Service personnel, the Centre’s contribution to leadership and ethics research and education in Defence continues to grow and evolve.


CDLE's mission is to provide corporate level military leadership and ethics research and doctrine development in order to shape expertise in these areas across Defence.


CDLE's vision is to be the centre of expertise for the development of command, management, leadership and military ethics in Defence.


CDLE's deliverables are:

  • Specialist advice to advance command, leadership, management and military ethics development activities.
  • Research on command, leadership, management and military ethics issues of interest to Defence.
  • Evolving the strategic-level framework to allow Defence individuals and groups involved in command, leadership, management and military ethics development activities to share information and ideas.
  • Advice on more appropriate, effective or efficient skills and strategies to support those command, leadership, management and military ethics development activities referred to the Centre by Defence groups.
  • Professional courses conducted by CDLE or in collaboration with others to Services, ADF Groups and agencies.
  • Management and further development of ADDP 00.6 Leadership Doctrine.
  • A leadership development network with ADF's coalition partners.


An important part of the Centre's work revolves around the provision of education. The Centre is currently working with the following.

Australian Defence College

The Centre has an ongoing commitment to the development of command, leadership management and military ethics education and training at the Australian Defence Force Academy, Australian Command and Staff Course and Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies.

Royal Australian Navy

CDLE has been privileged to work closely with the RAN for the past few years in the development and conduct of the command and leadership module of the RAN CO/XO MFU/MWV Designate course. This course is designed to prepare the RAN's newest Commanding and Executive Officers for their jobs at sea.

The command and leadership module deals with contemporary command, leadership and ethics issues and is delivered in a manner that encourages robust discussion and reflection on these important issues by course participants.

CDLE has a close working relationship with the New Generation Navy (NGN) team to ensure the development and delivery of leadership and ethics programs is consistent with NGN.

Australian Army

CDLE conducts the leadership and military ethics workshop as a module of the Major's course at Canungra. The workshop draws not only on well known and important ethical case studies from the past but also relies heavily on examining ethical issues occurring in current operations and the barracks environment.

The Centre also conducts a 1.5 day workshop on the RSM course.

Royal Australian Air Force

A three day command, leadership and ethics module is presented to the RAAF Squadron Leader Course. The module includes extensive use of relevant case studies and discussions on emotional intelligence and techniques for effective leadership in today's contemporary environment.

CDLE is also engaged with the Senior Maintenance Manager Course (Ground and Air) to develop leadership, followership and ethics in the unit environment.

Director CDLE

Colonel Charles Weller CSC and Bar

Colonel Charles Weller was appointed Director, Centre for Defence Leadership and Ethics in January 2017.

Colonel Weller commissioned in December 1992 and was allocated to the Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery. He served in 1st and 4th Field Regiments along with operational staff and in training positions as a junior officer. As an adjunct, while at RMC, he had the privilege of serving as ADC to the Governor General, Sir William Deane.

Colonel Weller was a Battery Commander in 4th Field Regiment. He was fortunate to return to the Regiment as Commanding Officer in 2010 for three years, which included restructuring and modernising the Regiment.

After Staff College, Colonel Weller served in the Directorate of Officer Management for three years then posted as HQ Forces Command’s inaugural Incident Manager. Post command he was Director Force Development for Army, which included being the Deputy National Director for the ABCA Program – two roles that reinforced the importance of joint and international relationships and centrality of collaboration.

Colonel Weller served with UNTSO for 18 months, commencing in July 2001. From mid 2003, he was part of the planning for and deployment to the Solomon Islands on Operation Anode as the Chief of Staff. In 2007, he was J3 on HQ JTF 633 in Baghdad.

In October 2014, Colonel Weller deployed to South Sudan as a Senior Military Liaison Officer and Commander of the Australian Contingent serving with the UN Mission in South Sudan. His service during South Sudan’s civil war provided insights into and involvement with the ADF’s command of operations and illuminated the leadership challenges faced by the United Nations in Africa. Returning to Strategic Plans, he worked on developing options to consolidate Plan Beersheba, Adaptive Army and Hardened Network Army.

During 2016, Colonel Weller attended the Defence Strategic Studies Course at the Australian Defence College in Canberra. His dissertation was on Australia’s Maritime Strategy and Amphibious Capability.

Colonel Weller has a BEc, and Masters in Business Administration, Management (Defence Studies) and Arts in Strategic Studies. He was awarded the CSC for service during Operation Anode and a Bar to the CSC for service on Operation Aslan in South Sudan.


Front Row (from left): WOFF Darcy Henriksen, Mrs Anne Goyne (Senior Psychologist), COL Charles Weller CSC and Bar, WGCDR Naomi van der Linden (DD CDLE-AF L&E), LTCOL Phil Gibbons.

Middle Row: MAJ Richard Howard, LTCOL Bill Coates (DD CDLE Army L&E), WO1 Kevin Woods CSC, OAM, LTCOL Zac Zaharias CSM, SQNLDR Joanne Hanson.

Back Row: WO1 Dave Ashley AM, WOFF Michael Kearney, LTCOL Jamie Cullens, SQNLDR Glenn Buesnel-May (Absent: LEUT Guy Forsyth).