• Class Number 4728
  • Term Code 3150
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 3 units
  • Topic Online
  • Mode of Delivery Online
    • Prof Rory Medcalf
    • Prof Rory Medcalf
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 18/06/2021
  • Class End Date 03/08/2021
  • Census Date 02/07/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 24/06/2021
SELT Survey Results

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. 

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the factors changing the character of intelligence in national security affairs
  2. Assess contemporary and historical cases to explain the role and limitations of intelligence
  3. Critically analyse and contribute to policy debates on intelligence issues
  4. Develop and communicate ideas, analysis, and argument related to 21st century intelligence issues in a range of forms for professional and scholarly audiences.

Research-Led Teaching


Field Trips


Additional Course Costs


Examination Material or equipment


Required Resources

Mark Lowenthal, The Future of Intelligence, Boston: Polity Press, 2017 [EXTRACTS WILL BE PROVIDED]

Michael L’Estrange and Stephen Merchant, Independent Intelligence Review, Commonwealth of Australia, 2017 https://pmc.gov.au/national-security/2017-independent-intelligence-review

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

Staff Feedback

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

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 Preparatory reading and viewing: students are encouraged, before 24 June, to have commenced preparatory reading and viewing of a series of pre-recorded discussions and lectures with experts/practitioners, to be uploaded to Wattle.
2 Participation in seminar on 24 June: two hour session (morning, in person; afternoon, virtual), covering topics 1-3. This is part-preparation for assessment item 1
3 Participation in seminar on 25 June: two hour session (morning, in person; afternoon, virtual), covering topics 4-6 This completes in-class preparation for assessment item 1
4 Reading and drafting to undertake assessment item 1 Delivery of assessment item 1, due 8 July
5 Participation in intelligence scenario activity conducted in class on 2 July Participation is essential to prepare for assessment item 2
6 Drafting of assessment item 2 Delivery of assessment item 2, due 19 July

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Introdcutory test on key themes 10 % 29/06/2021 01/07/2021 1.2
Analytical essay 50 % 08/07/2021 17/07/2021 1 2 3 4
Scenario debrief: hypothetical intelligence assessment 40 % 19/07/2021 31/07/2021 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 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.


Participation in seminars on 24-25 June is strongly encouraged to ensure maximum learning opportunity from the course. Participation is not graded as such, but participation in the scenario activity on 2 July is essential to prepare for assessment item 2. If a student cannot join the 2 July activity, they will need to make separate arrangements with the course convener to consider whether an alternative assessment may be possible.



Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 29/06/2021
Return of Assessment: 01/07/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1.2

Introdcutory test on key themes

This is an introductory test on the key themes of the courses . Questions will be provided on June 25 and will be due on the night of June 29. You will answer four questions, 400 words in total.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 08/07/2021
Return of Assessment: 17/07/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1 2 3 4

Analytical essay

In the first assessment item, students will be asked to write a short analytical essay applying change factors identified in the course (such as new technologies, public expectations etc.) to a case study. Basic research sources will be provided, with an expectation that students augment this with some additional material. This will be an exercise in analysis and structured argument rather than extensive research. More details will be provided on Wattle.  Word limit 2000 words.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 19/07/2021
Return of Assessment: 31/07/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1 2 4

Scenario debrief: hypothetical intelligence assessment

The second assessment item will be based on the scenario exercise that will be held on the third and final teaching/delivery day of the course. Students will be asked to provide a hypothetical ‘intelligence assessment’ analytical report based on inputs provided during the exercise, evaluating the reliability or otherwise of those inputs and proposing ways to address their limitations. Template options for this report will be provided on Wattle.  Word limit 1000 words.


Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to 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 be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, 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 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.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

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.

Late Submission

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.

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. Extensions may be granted 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).

Prof Rory Medcalf
02 6125 7507-Ex2

Research Interests

Australian national security, intelligence, foreign and defence policy; Indo-Pacific strategy; geoeconomics; disinformation; strategic implications of the rise of China and India; maritime security; nuclear issues.

Prof Rory Medcalf

By Appointment
Prof Rory Medcalf
02 6125 7507-Ex2

Research Interests

Prof Rory Medcalf

By Appointment

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