• Offered by ANU National Security College
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject National Security Policy
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Rory Medcalf
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2018
    See Future Offerings

This course aims to familiarise students with the challenges and choices facing national security policy-makers in an era of increased connectivity between the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions. The concept of the Indo-Pacific as a coherent strategic and economic system will be introduced, along with its implications for the security interests of key regional powers, notably China, India, Japan, Indonesia, the United States and Australia.  The interstate and transnational dimensions of the Indo-Pacific set of security challenges will be considered, including how they intersect – for instance, ways in which counter-piracy, maritime surveillance and other efforts to protect the regional commons may have strategic implications. The contested nature of the Indo-Pacific concept will also be explore, including the emerging debate about whether countries such as Australia need to focus their security capabilities and interests on wide or narrow definitions of the region. The course will conclude by assessing how a re-imagined view of Asia as the Indo-Pacific will affect prospects for security competition or cooperation.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

1.     Demonstrate understanding of the changes in Australia’s Indo-Pacific regional security environment 
2.     Demonstrate understanding of the interactions and interests of great powers, particularly the United States, China, India and Japan, across the Indo-Pacific environment
3.     Analyse how these strategic factors intersect with one another and with economic factors in shaping a complex regional security dynamic involving cross-cutting interstate and transnational security issues
4.     Evaluate the risks and advantages of various security policy options, including degrees of cooperation or competition, in responding to complex regional security challenges
5.     Generate ideas for credible policy options in managing complex regional security challenges in the Indo-Pacific

Indicative Assessment

1.     Seminar presentation 10%
2.     Analysis of reading (official policy statements) (800 words) 10%
3.     Policy briefing paper (1500 words) 30% 
4.     Final essay (4000 words) 50% 

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


One two-hour seminar per week (over 12 weeks) with the expectation of a further eight hours per week of independent study 

Preliminary Reading

Rory Medcalf, “In Defence of the Indo-Pacific: Australia’s New Strategic Map,” Australian Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 68. No. 4. August 2014

Nick Bisley and Andrew Phillips, “A Rebalance to Where?: US Strategic Geography in Asia,” Survival, Vol. 55. No. 5, Oct 2013.

Barry Buzan, “Security Architecture in Asia: The Interplay of Regional and Global Levels.” The Pacific Review Vol. 16. No. 2, 2003. 

Rory Medcalf, “In Defence of the Indo-Pacific: Australia’s New Strategic Map,” Australian Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 68. No. 4. August 2014.

David Scott, "India and the Allure of the 'Indo-Pacific' ", International Studies, 49 (3&4), 2012.

Brendan Taylor, “The Defence White Paper 2013 and Australia’s Strategic Environment,” Security Challenges, Vol. 9. No. 2, 2013.

Assumed Knowledge

Students enrolled in this course are assumed to have some knowledge of international politics and current affairs 

Required skills: Analytical skills and written and oral communication skills of a high order.  

Recommended courses: National Security Policy-making (NSPO8006) and National Security Concepts and Challenges (NSPO8007)


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2018 $3660
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2018 $5160
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
3857 19 Feb 2018 27 Feb 2018 31 Mar 2018 25 May 2018 In Person N/A

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