- Class Number 3569
- Term Code 3140
- Class Info
- Unit Value 3 units
- Topic On Campus
- Mode of Delivery In Person
- Prof Rory Medcalf
- Prof Rory Medcalf
- Class Dates
- Class Start Date 07/04/2021
- Class End Date 30/05/2021
- Census Date 30/04/2021
- Last Date to Enrol 15/04/2021
How is security policy in Australia really made? This is a primer on the institutions, actors and their interaction – sometimes outside formal structures – that shape decision-making in Canberra on key issues related to national security. Policy practitioners will guide students through the intersection of politics, bureaucracy, intelligence and external influences, tying together this foundational knowledge in a policy simulation exercise in which students will formulate, and afterwards critique, a government response to a hypothetical national security problem.
This course takes advantage of the National Security College’s privileged access to the policy community, to share with students contemporary insights that are difficult to obtain from purely academic sources. In line with the NSC signature pedagogy, this course will be co-delivered by an academic and a policy practitioner. It will rely heavily on practitioner perspectives, including guest sessions with serving and former policymakers, parliamentarians and journalists. The academic course convener will ensure academic standards in assessment and maintaining conceptual linkages to more scholarly and research-oriented NSC courses.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Understand the roles of the different institutions and actors in Australian national security policy
- Demonstrate a working understanding of the context, processes and challenges for national security policy development and implementation
- Begin critically analysing the practice of national security policymaking
- Develop and communicate ideas, analysis, and argument related to Australian national security policymaking in a range of forms for professional audiences.
No field trips, but course will culminate in a policy scenario exercise, and will involve engagement with former and serving policy practitioners.
Additional Course Costs
No set text
Recommend readings include:
Allan Behm, No Minister: So You Want to be a Chief of Staff? Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2015.
Catherine Althaus, Peter Bridgman and Glyn Davis, The Australian Policy Handbook: A Practical Guide to the Policy-making Process, Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 2018.
Julia Gillard, My Story, Sydney: Penguin, 2019. Chapters 9, 11 and 12.
Allan Gyngell, Fear of Abandonment: Australia in the World since 1942, Chapters 8 ad 9
Malcolm Turnbull, A Bigger Picture, Melbourne: Hardie Grant, 2020. Chapters 29, 34 and 35.
Kevin Rudd: The PM Years, Sydney: Pan Macmillan, 2018 chapters 5, 12, 34 and 35.
Russell Trood and Anthony Bergin, ‘Creative Tension: Parliament and National Security’, ASPI report, 2015.
At least one recent policy white paper or parliamentary committee report (examples to be provided on Wattle)
Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
- written comments
- verbal comments
- feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc
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.
|Week/Session||Summary of Activities||Assessment|
|1||Preparatory reading and viewing of pre-recorded materials|
|2||Seminars and discussions on 15 April, repeated as morning session in-person, afternoon session for remote students||This will work through the first three topics of the course: a power map of Canberra: introducing key institutions and actors; politics and policy: the view from the Hill; what do government officials really do? Bureaucracy: its powers and constraints.This session will involve participation by senior former policy leaders.|
|3||Seminars and discussions on 16 April, repeated as morning session in-person, afternoon session for remote students||This will work through the final topics of the course: intelligence unmasked: does it matter?; vectors of influence: business, embassies, media, civil society. The latter part of this session will involve initial preparations for assessment item 1. This session will involve participation by senior former policy leaders.|
|4||Preparation and submission of assessment item 1||This will take place between 17 April and the due date for assignment submission on 28 April|
|5||Preparation for final session: policy simulation||Materials will be provided on Wattle, between 17 and 29 April, to prepare students for the policy simulation exercise on 30 April.|
|6||Policy simulation on 30 April, held remotely for all students, afternoon of 30 April|
|7||Preparation and submission of assessment item 2|
|Assessment task||Value||Due Date||Return of assessment||Learning Outcomes|
|Short essay||60 %||28/04/2021||03/05/2021||1, 2, 3, 4|
|Debrief on policy activitity||40 %||10/05/2021||17/05/2021||1, 2, 3, 4|
* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details
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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 Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.
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.
There is no formal grade for participation, however students are encouraged to participate in all sessions. Moreover, participation in the policy simulation session on 30 April will be essential in order to undertake the second assessment item. Students who for whatever reason are absolutely unable to participate on 30 April should contact the course convener to explore alternative arrangements.
Assessment Task 1
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4
You are asked to write a short essay on one of the following topics. The word limit is 2000 words (within 10% on either side is acceptable). This will be a short and argument-based essay, rather than a comprehensive research essay. You will be expected to deploy some evidence to support your arguments and demonstrate your understanding of the subject, but this is not expected to be a major piece of research. Please write clearly, succinctly and in essay style: i.e. prose and paragraphs, not dot points. Use any accepted academic referencing system. The word length does not include notes or bibliography, but please ensure all substantive points are made in the body of the essay. The quality and clarity of your argument will be a major factor in your grade. This includes your demonstrated ability to identify and address counter-arguments.
1. Is the concept of a policy cycle useful in understanding national security policymaking in Australia? Why or why not? What adjustments or alternatives to a conventional policy cycle would you propose for the national security context?
2. Of all the actors and institutions shaping Australia's national security policies, explain which is the most powerful and which is the least powerful and why?
3. To what extent can those outside the public service and government influence Australia's national security policies? Provide examples to support your response.
4. Identify an actor or institution with influence on Australia's national security policymaking and explain the basis of their power(s) such as relevant legislation and conventions. What are the strengths and limitations of their role and how might their influence change over time, if at all?
5. In recent decades the personal staff of politicians, particularly ministerial advisers, have acquired a high degree of influence over Australia's national security policymaking, despite not having a codified role. To what extent has this improved or hampered the creation of national security policy and has it affected the influence of other actors and institutions, if so how?
6. In a contemporary threat environment where Australia's leaders make quick, politically-minded decisions, can an impartial bureaucracy have influence on what decisions are made or does it exist solely to carry out the decisions of politicians?
Assessment Task 2
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4
Debrief on policy activitity
The second assessment item will follow the policy simulation exercise that is intended as a capstone experience for the course. It will require students to demonstrably synthesise what they have learned from all elements of the course, to produce a briefing document for a hypothetical senior government decisionmaker. This will identify the contributing factors to policy success – or failure – in the simulation exercise, and nominate acceptable alternative approaches that could have achieved more effective outcomes. This item will also involve an emphasis on clear expression of policy subject matter for non-academic audiences.
Final details will be available on Wattle.
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The Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.
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For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.
Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:
- Late submission not permitted. If submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.
- Late submission permitted. 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.
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Australian security, defence and foreign policy, foreign interference, Indo-Pacific strategy, China, India, China-India relations, maritime security, nuclear issues.
Prof Rory Medcalf