• Class Number 3252
  • Term Code 3030
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Emily Robertson
    • Prof Stephan Fruehling
    • Prof Stephan Fruehling
  • 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

This masters level course examines the use of nuclear weapons for political objectives.  It reviews the development and current state of nuclear weapons technology, and how nuclear weapons have enabled various deterrence and warfighting strategies during and after the Cold War. Non-proliferation and arms control are examined as ways to limit the spread of nuclear technology. The course then on nuclear weapons proliferation and strategy in specific countries and situations in Asia, and demonstrates how various states in the region seek to attain their political goals through procuring, deploying, and, if necessary, using nuclear weapons. North Korea, Pakistan, India, China and the United States are all discussed with a particular emphasis on the interplay and relationship between the political goals, available technology, and employment strategies. The course concludes with a session on Australia's nuclear policy in past, present and future.

Learning Outcomes

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

On satisfying the requirements for this course, students will develop a sound understanding of nuclear technology and nuclear strategy; an understanding of the key issues in nuclear weapons programmes of established and new nuclear powers in the Asia-Pacific; strong analytical skills in understanding and evaluating these issues and debates; and the capacity to write clearly and effectively on these matters for a variety of audiences.

As you work your way through the ten main topics of this course, you are probably going to find that the main problem is that there is too much literature rather than too little. This raises the question of being able to separate the best material from the not quite so good. Many of the essential readings listed above for each session seek to identify some of the strongest work in the field, but you will certainly want to read widely and consistently. 

In general, you could do much worse than to have a look at the following excellent books:

Muthiah Alagappa (ed.), The Long Shadow: Nuclear Weapons and Security in 21st Century Asia (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008).

Jeffrey Larsen and Kerry Kartchner (eds.), On Limited Nuclear War in the 21st Century (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2014).

Lawrence Freedman, The Evolution of Nuclear Strategy, Houndsmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.

Vipin Narang, Nuclear Strategy in the Modern Era, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014.

I would also recommend that you monitor a number of the following journals, many of which are available in electronic form via the ANU Library website.

·        Science and Global Security

·        Nonproliferation Review

·        Comparative Strategy

·        Survival

·        International Security

·        Journal of Strategic Studies

·        Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

·        The Washington Quarterly

·        Defense & Security Analysis

In addition, a number of institutes provide good working papers and shorter publications.

·        Institute for Science and International Security (www.isis-online.org/)

·        Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (www.carnegieendowment.org/)

·        Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey Institute (http://cns.miis.edu/)

·        Center for Strategic and International Studies (www.csis.org)

·        International Institute of Strategic Studies (www.iiss.org)

·        National Institute for Public Policy (www.nipp.org)

·        RAND Corporation (www.rand.org)

·        Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis (www.ifpa.org)

·        US Army War College Inst. for Strat. Studies (http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/)

·        National Defense University (www.ndu.edu)

Finally, three websites in particular provide excellent background information on nuclear weapons:

·        http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/nukevault/index.htm

·        http://www.nuclearweaponarchive.org/

·        http://www.armscontrolwonk.com/

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • Written comments
  • Feedback to the whole class on literature review and essay

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 Nuclear weapons and nuclear order
2 Nuclear weapons and fissile material technology Followed by a screening of 'Dr Strangelove'
3 Nuclear strategy during the Cold War Followed by a screening of 'The Day After'
4 Deterrence, arms control and non-proliferation
5 China's nuclear strategy
6 Indian and Pakistani nuclear strategy
7 North Korean nuclear strategy
8 US nuclear strategy after the Cold War
9 Nuclear weapons, conventional capabilities and strategic stability
10 Australia and nuclear weapons
11 Exam review and Q&A session

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Literature Review 25 % 25/03/2020 08/04/2020 1,2,3,4
Essay 50 % 29/04/2020 13/05/2020 1,2,3,4
Final examination 25 % * * 1,2,3,4

* 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: 25 %
Due Date: 25/03/2020
Return of Assessment: 08/04/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Literature Review

Due 11:55pm, 25 March 2020 via Turnitin

Will be returned by 8 April with individual written feedback.

Length: 2100 words

Choose any three of the 10 sessions, and for each of these write a combined 700 word review of the essential readings, and one additional relevant piece, for that session.

The reviews should be written for an audience with a similar level of knowledge as your peers, and provide them with a good understanding of the literature on the particular topic of each session.

Hence, it will be necessary to provide a summary of the main points of the content of each piece.

Their main purpose however is to give the reader an indication of the main themes and controversies that appear in the literature, and strengths and weaknesses of pieces where relevant.

Your reader needs to get a sense of how the readings compare with one another - for example they may appear on opposing sides of a central debate or they may take different approaches to make the same point, so that the literature review is neither a mere summary, nor an essay on the topic of the session, than an analysis of the literature itself.

Footnoting is not required except for any direct quotes you may use.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 29/04/2020
Return of Assessment: 13/05/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4


Due 11:55pm, 29 April 2020 via Turnitin

Will be returned by 13 May with individual written feedback.

3000 words.

Choose one of the following questions:

  • What are the similarities and differences in the nuclear postures of India and China, and what does this mean for the prospect of strategic stability between the two?

  • In the ongoing US election, Elizabeth Warren has supported the concept of ‘no-first-use’ of nuclear weapons. What might be the consequences if the United States adopted such a posture?

  • Thomas Schelling referred to deterrence as ‘the threat that leaves something to chance’. What did he mean by this and what does this mean for the practice of nuclear deterrence?

Assessment Task 3

Value: 25 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Final examination

3 hour online exam via Turnitin.

Date and time to be confirmed.

Individual feedback on request.

Detail on the structure of the exam will be provided at the end of the last session in the course.

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).
Emily Robertson

Research Interests

Emily Robertson

Monday 15:00 16:00
Prof Stephan Fruehling
02 6125 5987

Research Interests

Prof Stephan Fruehling

By Appointment
Prof Stephan Fruehling
6125 5987

Research Interests

Prof Stephan Fruehling

By Appointment

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