• Class Number 3026
  • Term Code 3030
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • AsPr Michael Clarke
    • AsPr Michael Clarke
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/02/2020
  • Class End Date 05/06/2020
  • Census Date 08/05/2020
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/03/2020
SELT Survey Results

How should government respond to security crises? The modern era is frequently punctuated by crises emanating from the natural and social worlds that threaten local, national and even international security. Just in the past decade, the world has witnessed the catastrophic damage caused by natural disasters: Hurricane Katrina, the South-East Asia tsunami, the Queensland flooding, the Pakistan Earthquake, and the Japan tsunami and nuclear disaster. A host of transnational threats are also emerging: the rise of international terrorism and the fears provoked by Australians fighting for Jihadist groups in the Middle East; the spectre of cyber-attacks by belligerent states and politically-motivated groups; climate change and the prospect of resource shortages.  These extreme events and growing threats make up a global landscape of complexity and uncertainty and, against this unedifying backdrop, it is the responsibility of the government to develop strategies to anticipate, mitigate and respond to the next crisis facing Australia, whatever that may be. 

This course considers this backdrop of threats alongside changing notions of ‘threat’, ‘risk’ and ‘crisis’ in the context of Australian national security planning. It challenges participants to determine how policymaking can reconcile the competing imperatives of national security and the public interest in the midst of crisis. Participants are expected to critically evaluate the prevailing logics of national security and develop their own perspective on the possibility of effective strategy planning in crises. 

Learning Outcomes

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

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

1. Understand the key theoretical concepts of crisis management and the landscape of Australian political institutions, laws and policies that deliver national security outcomes
2. Critically evaluate the prevailing rationales that underpin crisis management strategies in Australia’s state and federal governments
3. Develop new perspectives on (i) conceptualising risks and threats to national security and (ii) operationalising government’s strategic responses
4. A developed capacity to employ effective writing, communication, and analytical skills in the assessment of the theories and practices of National Security Crises Management

Research-Led Teaching

Crises are endemic to national security policy-making. The modern era is frequently punctuated by crises emanating from the natural and social worlds that threaten local, national and international security. This course considers this backdrop of threats alongside changing notions of ‘threat’, ‘risk’ and ‘crisis’ and challenges participants to determine how policymaking can reconcile the competing imperatives of national security and the public interest in the midst of crisis. This course introduces students to this important and challenging field through: (1) exploration of definitions and theories of national security and approaches to risk assessment/mitigation and crisis management; and (2) the application of this conceptual material to empirical cases of domestic, international and transnational crises.

Indicative reading list (weekly reading list and PDFs of required readings will be posted to the course Wattle site)

Arjen Boin, The politics of crisis management: Public leadership under pressure. Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Drennan, Lynn T., Allan McConnell, and Alastair Stark. Risk and crisis management in the public sector. Routledge, 2014.

Ulrick Beck, Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity, SAGE Publications, 1986.

T. A Birkland, T.A. After Disaster: Agenda Setting, Public Policy, and Focussing Events, Georgetown University Press, 1997.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 25 Feb Introduction
2 2 March National Security, Crisis and the State
3 10 March Terrorism and Counterterrorism: Approaches and Cases
4 17 March Critical Infrastructure: Crisis Prevention in an Uncertain World
5 24 March Australian Bushfires: Disaster, Emergency or Crisis? Assessment 1: Policy Brief Due
6 31 March The Crisis of 'Liberal International Order'
7 21 April Grey Zone Crises: Russia and Ukraine; China and the South China Sea
8 28 April Reading week and essay preparation/consultation
9 5 May Pandemics and (Trans)national security
10 12 May Humanitarian Interventions and Crises Assessment 2: Major Essay Due
11 19 May Cyber Crises and National Security
12 26 May Conclusion and Examination Preparation
13 Exam period Assessment 3: Take Home Exams submitted and Due

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Policy Brief 20 % 24/03/2020 05/04/2020 1, 2, 3
Major Essay 45 % 12/05/2020 01/06/2020 1, 2, 3, 4
Take Home Exam 35 % * 02/07/2020 1, 2, 4

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 24/03/2020
Return of Assessment: 05/04/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3

Policy Brief

Write a policy brief of 1,000 words (inclusive of citations). Policy briefs should discuss one of the issues covered in the course, but focus on a specific sub-issue, event, policy, or debate. Explain the central problem and why the topic matters for national security. Describe and evaluate current policies and make policy recommendations

Assessment Task 2

Value: 45 %
Due Date: 12/05/2020
Return of Assessment: 01/06/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4

Major Essay

Students will write a 3,000 word essay on a domestic, international or transnational crisis of their choosing (in consultation with the convenor). In doing so students should identify: (i) what vulnerabilities, emergent disturbances or policy failures were responsible for the crisis they have chosen to focus on?; (ii) what actions could have been implemented to either prevent or mitigate the effects of the crisis; and (iii) provide arguments to support your assertions with respect to (i) and (ii).

Assessment Task 3

Value: 35 %
Return of Assessment: 02/07/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 4

Take Home Exam

Students must complete a take home exam. This will most likely involve answers that students must select from a group of questions. Questions will be published on Wattle in the end of semester exam period (date TBC)

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

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.

Hardcopy Submission


Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information. In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service — including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy. If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes. Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
AsPr Michael Clarke
6197 0084

Research Interests

Chinese history, politics and foreign policy; Uyghur nationalism and separatism; Belt and Road Initiative; American grand strategy and national security policy; geopolitics; nuclear strategy, proliferation/nonproliferation

AsPr Michael Clarke

By Appointment
By Appointment
AsPr Michael Clarke
6197 0084

Research Interests

AsPr Michael Clarke

By Appointment
By Appointment

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