Air Commodore Lax joined the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Academy in January 1974 and graduated dux of his class. After navigator training he had operational, flight test and instructional tours before completing a number of staff positions.
During his career, he was Base Commander of RAAF Base, East Sale in Victoria, and later in 1997, RAAF Base Richmond in NSW. In the following years, Air Commodore Lax held appointments at Glenbrook as Director in charge of plans and future development. He went on to hold a number of posts in Canberra developing higher level policy and defence strategy. These included Director General Policy and Plans, Director General Military Strategy, and in 2006 – Director General Strategic Policy in Strategy Division – responsible for strategic assessments, the strategic plans function and a wide range of high level strategy and long term planning documents. It was in this post that he developed Force 2020, the blueprint for the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) future.
Air Commodore Lax retired from the RAAF in January 2007 and for two years was managing editor of the ADF Journal. In 2008 he was appointed to the Defence Honours and Awards Tribunal where he acts as RAAF specialist advisor for reviews into veteran medal claims. Air Commodore Lax also facilitates planning and exercise activities for Customs and Border Protection Command. In 2011 he completed his PhD and was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in the General Division for his work on military history and support for various veterans’ organisations.
Air Commodore Lax is a graduate of the RAAF Academy, RAAF School of Air Navigation, Royal Air Force Cranwell, RAAF Staff College, USAF Air War College, and the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
He enjoys cricket, reading, writing and publishing on military aviation history. He is also Vice-President of Canberra Legacy.