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Brigadier H. R. (Hugh) McAslan, DSD

Born in Rangiora, Brigadier McAslan completed his secondary education at Palmerston North Boy’s High School before enlisting in New Zealand Army in January 1988. Brigadier McAslan graduated in December 1989 from the Officer Cadet School into the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (RNZIR) as a Second Lieutenant. In April 1990 Brigadier McAslan was posted to 2nd 1st Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (RNZIR), in Burnham Military Camp as a Rifle Platoon Commander. He completed three subsequent postings to 2nd 1st Battalion over the course of his career, including Company Second in Command, Company Commander, and Battalion Commander.

Brigadier McAslan has held staff and instructor appointments including Army Public Relations, Chief Instructor at the Army’s Tactical School, Deputy Director Land Capability, and Chief of Staff at Headquarters Deployable Joint Task Force (Land). He also completed an exchange with 5 Airborne Brigade in the United Kingdom in 1993.

In 2012-2013 Brigadier McAslan attended the United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. On return to New Zealand in June 2013 he assumed the appointment of Director Policy, Army General Staff. In September 2013, on promotion to Colonel, Brigadier McAslan was posted to Strategic Commitments and Intelligence Branch as Director Strategic Engagements.

In June 2015 Brigadier McAslan was appointed Commander 1st (NZ) Brigade. He then deployed to Iraq on Operation Inherent Resolve as the Deputy Commanding General of the Coalition Joint Force land Component Command (CJFLCC) in the rank of Brigadier in November 2016. On his return to New Zealand in July 2017, Brigadier McAslan was assigned to Headquarters New Zealand Defence Force in Wellington.

Brigadier McAslan has completed a number of operational deployments including; Bosnia 1995, Lebanon and Israel 1998-2000, East Timor 2001-2002, Afghanistan 2011, and Iraq 2016-2017.

Brigadier McAslan is a graduate of the United States Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and the United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He holds a Master’s of Military Art and Science (Strategy) from the US Command and General Staff College, and a Master’s of Strategic Studies from the US Army War College.

Brigadier McAslan was awarded the Distinguished Service Decoration for his service in Afghanistan in the 2012 Queen’s Birthday Honours List. He was also awarded a Chief of Army’s Commendation in April 2008 for his role as Deputy Director Land Capability.

Brigadier McAslan is married with two children. His interests include family, fly fishing, and the outdoors.

Dr Evelyn Pleydell

Dr. Eve Pleydell is the manager of MPI’s Biosecurity Intelligence team (BSI). Eve is a trained veterinarian from the UK whose career has focussed on understanding and controlling infectious diseases. Highlights of her career include working on rabies control projects in Ethiopia, diagnosing horse diseases in the racing hub of Newmarket in the UK, studying meerkats with tuberculosis in the Kalahari, and completing a Ph.D. focussed on bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics on chicken farms in England and NZ. Eve’s particular interest is the cross-over between animal, human, and environmental health. This led her to work on a One Health programme with Massey University that trained both veterinary and human doctors in South Asia to develop a broader understanding of the drivers of infectious disease so that they could work together to improve disease control in their own countries. Eve then joined MPI in 2014 and spent four busy years managing biosecurity responses. In 2018, an opportunity arose to create a new multidisciplinary team of scientists, data scientists, and intelligence professionals tasked with improving MPI’s ability to forecast future biosecurity threats. It’s fair to say that the past two years have been a steep learning curve for Eve and all her team members, but due to everyone’s efforts an indicators and warnings system for biosecurity is taking shape with regular reporting now being distributed across the ministry. As many have experienced across government, the emergence of COVID-19 onto the global stage has increased BSI’s workload, but it’s also enabled the team to demonstrate the benefits of taking a multidisciplinary approach in order to produce high-quality intelligence outputs that are digestible by senior decision-makers without a science background.

Dr Sarah Rosanowski

Dr. Rosanowski has a Ph.D. in veterinary epidemiology, a PGDip (Distinction) VCS, a PGCert Vet Ed, and a Bachelor of Science. She has had a varied research career to date, having worked in university and contract research environments in New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Hong Kong. Her career started in biomedical research, moving to livestock parasites, then exotic disease preparedness and biosecurity, with a bit of racehorse welfare and injury prevention along the way. She started in the Biosecurity Intelligence team at MPI during the lockdown, and have hit the ground running.

Dr Sarah Rosanowski is a Biosecurity Intelligence Analyst at MPI, and will be speaking alongside Dr Pleydell.

Ruby Meagher

Ruby Meagher joined the Department of the Prime Minister of Cabinet in early 2019. She is a Senior Advisor in the National Intelligence and Risk Coordination Directorate. The directorate coordinates across the national security sector to ensure those that provide intelligence, assessment and other relevant reporting are working together and focused on the Government’s priority national security issues. Ruby is the oversight lead for the National Security Intelligence Priorities (NSIPs), helping to make sure that all 16 NSIPs are implemented smoothly, and routinely engaging with a wide variety of stakeholders from across the wider national security sector. Prior to joining DPMC, Ruby worked for the British High Commission in Wellington, first in a policy role, and then managing a UK-NZ trade fund.

Philip Griffiths

Philip is a born and bred Aucklander who has lived in Wellington now for almost 8 years.  Philip is the Director – National Security Workforce in the National Security Group at DPMC.  New to the security and intelligence sector, Philip previously worked at Crown Law for 9 years – initially as a consultant and subsequently employed as the Director – Government Legal Network (GLN) reporting to the Solicitor-General.  Philip led the establishment of the GLN, which is a whole of Government collaborative initiative to realise the collective potential of Government lawyers in the delivery of quality legal advice and services.  Prior to the GLN Philip ran his own consulting and management business working across the wider public sector including local and central Government.  Philip started his career as a lawyer in private practice and was the managing partner of a law firm in Auckland before deciding on a change in direction, which has led to his career in public service.

Andy Grieve

Andy Grieve joined the Department of Internal Affairs in January 2013 as Charities Registration Analyst. After moving through the Department in a number of roles, he started his role as a Senior Intelligence Analyst in the Department’s Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Group (AML Group) in July 2018. The AML Group is responsible for supervising financial and non-financial businesses to ensure they have appropriate policies, procedures and controls in place to protect themselves from money launderers and terrorism financiers. Andy and his colleagues are responsible for building a risk-based approach to the AML Group’s operational work and leading relationship building across the wider intelligence sector. Andy has also previously been the Chair of the CLAG Open Source Working Group managing the review and publication of CLAG’s Use of Publicly Available Information Guidelines.


Sean Poff

Born in Australia, Sean grew up in Christchurch. He joined the Army from school in 2005 through the military university scheme, before commissioning as an officer in the Intelligence Corps in December 2007. He has held a range of tactical, operational, and strategic intelligence appointments, with employment as an analyst, collection specialist, and manager. Sean has deployed and led an all-source intelligence cell on three occasions, including twice to the Middle East. He was posted to the United Kingdom FVEYs Joint Intelligence Operations Centre for 3 years as a collection embed, where he was responsible for regional operations for the UK. Sean is currently working on a Masters part-time, and enjoys rugby, cricket and surfing.

Sam Leske

Sam joined the Ministry for Primary Industries in 2015 after a career in the Royal New Zealand Air Force as a pilot and intelligence officer. His academic qualifications include a Diploma in Management from Massey University, a Bachelor of Science in Geography from the University of New South Wales and a Master of Philosophy in Defence and Strategic Studies from Massey University.

His current role is the Director of Intelligence and Biosecurity Support Services within Biosecurity New Zealand. The role provides intelligence advice across the Ministry for Primary Industries. He is also the President of the New Zealand Institute for Intelligence Professionals.