The first United Service Institution (USI) was founded in London in 1831 on the initiative of Field Marshal Lord Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. In the decades after the battle of Waterloo in 1815, Wellington and his fellow Napoleonic War veterans realised that as they retired their experience was being lost to the British Army and the Royal Navy. To pool and preserve that experience and pass it on to the next generation of officers, they formed the USI, [now Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI)] in London. Similar institutions were later formed in several British colonies and ex-colonies in India, Australia and Canada. They have a rich heritage over the last two centuries. In Australia, in 1888, Major-General John Soame Richardson (1836-1896), commander of the New South Wales Military Forces and a veteran of the Crimean, Maori and Soudan wars created Australia's first USI in the colony of New South Wales. Institutes in the other colonies followed [Victoria 1890, Queensland 1892, Western Australia 1902, South Australia 1904 and Tasmania 1924].
In 1973, the separate state-based United Service Institutions federated to form The United Services Institute of Australia. The state bodies became constituent bodies of the new federal body, but remained self-governing and independent.
The United Services Institute of Australia was granted permission to use the prefix "Royal" in 1979 and thereafter was known as the Royal United Services Institute of Australia. The United Service Institution of New South Wales was granted permission to use the prefix "Royal" in 1990. The other state bodies received similar permission soon thereafter.
The federal body was incorporated as a company and a registered charity in 2016 and its name became the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, Australia, Limited, a name chosen to better reflect its purpose. The New South Wales Institute since has adopted the new name.
The Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies - Australia (RUSIDSS-A) promotes informed debate on, and seeks to improve public awareness and understanding of, defence and national security. To this end the National Body publishes a highly-respected professional journal.
Membership is open to anyone who has an interest in defence and national security. Prospective members join one of the constituent bodies, and may do so directly or via the MEMBERSHIP page of this website.
The constituent bodies in the states and the Australian Capital Territory undertake research and deliver educational services. Their work includes:
This website provides information on forthcoming lectures, seminars, visits and other functions; and provides the selected contents of past and current publications. Members are also able to read on-line recently published papers and policy submissions; and browse lists, of books recently acquired by the libraries.