Knowledge is integral to security, but the value of intelligence – access to scarce and protected information – is under challenge. In an era of disruption, complexity and information saturation, the changing role of intelligence is a central concern for national security policy-makers and analysts. This course provides students with sufficient foundational awareness of intelligence issues (such as secrecy, the collection-assessment and domestic-foreign distinctions, the relative value of human and signals intelligence, and the policy-intelligence nexus) to enable them to critically evaluate the utility of 21st century espionage and thus anticipate its evolution. The course will focus heavily on future-oriented intelligence issues, notably the rise of open source intelligence and big data analytics, the ubiquity of cyber, the collapsing distinction between domestic and foreign intelligence, growing public transparency expectations, and the challenge to 20th century intelligence-sharing alignments, especially the Five Eyes. In line with the NSC signature pedagogy, and drawing on the NSC’s network of senior former intelligence officials, practitioner perspectives will be integrated throughout possible, with the academic convener connecting their insights to the growing scholarly literature on 21st century spying.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Demonstrate an understanding of the factors changing the character of intelligence in national security affairs
- Assess contemporary and historical cases to explain the role and limitations of intelligence
- Critically analyse and contribute to policy debates on intelligence issues
- Develop and communicate ideas, analysis, and argument related to 21st century intelligence issues in a range of forms for professional and scholarly audiences.
- 2000 word analytical essay (60) [LO 1,2,3,4]
- 1000 word intelligence brief based on scenario exercise (40) [LO 1,2,4]
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Three full days, delivered as 2 consecutive days, plus one day two weeks later.
Day 1: Three two-hour sessions with course convener and practitioner lecturers.
Day 2: Three two-hour sessions with course convener and practitioner lecturers (including briefings with former US and Australian officials).
Two week break for preparation, submission and marking of first assessment item.
Day 3: Debrief on first assessment item (half day) followed by scenario activity: ‘Judgements under pressure: analytical exercise using simulated intelligence inputs’.
Second assessment item: written ‘intelligence assessment’ (analytical brief) based on scenario activity.
Mark Lowenthal, The Future of Intelligence, Boston: Polity Press, 2017.
Michael L’Estrange and Stephen Merchant, Independent Intelligence Review, Commonwealth of Australia, 2017.
Christopher Andrew, The Secret World: A History of Intelligence, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2018. Conclusion: ‘Twenty-First-Century Intelligence in Long-Term Perspective’.
Daniel Baldino and Caroline Milligan, ‘Optimising open-source intelligence in the information age’, in Intelligence and the Function of Government, ed. Daniel Baldino and Rhys Crawley, Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2018.
James Clapper, Facts and Fears: Hard Truths From a Life in Intelligence. (New York: Viking Press, 2018), Chapter 8-- “Snowden” pp. 214-249
Mark Lowenthal, Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy, (8thth edition). Washington, DC: CQ Press.
Siobhan Martin, ‘Spying in a transparent world: ethics and intelligence in the 21st century’, GCSP Geneva Paper, November 2019.
Jennifer Sims, ‘Foreign Intelligence Liaison: Devils, Deals, and Details,’ International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, Vol. 19, No. 2 (2006), pp. 195-217
Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.
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- Unit value:
- 3 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.
Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.
|Class number||Class start date||Last day to enrol||Census date||Class end date||Mode Of Delivery||Class Summary|
|4668||01 Jul 2021||TBA||TBA||30 Sep 2021||In-Person and Online||N/A|