- Code NSPO8035
- Unit Value 6 units
- Offered by Crawford School of Public Policy
- ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
- Course subject National Security Policy
- Areas of interest Security Studies
- Academic career PGRD
- Dr Michael Cohen
- Mode of delivery In Person
Second Semester 2021
See Future Offerings
This course is available for in-person and remote (online) learning.
The core focus of this course is the ‘threat board’ facing Australia’s national security policy planners in the context of a changing regional and global strategic environment. The course draws on established scholarship on ‘traditional’ security challenges, as well as new and emerging ‘black swan’ events that will require swift action from the national security community to protect Australian interests. Students taking this course will gain an understanding of both conceptual and applied knowledge, as well as key debates on how to situate Australian national security policy in an uncertain order. As a result they will develop the ability to make informed policy-focused evaluations of the subject matter.
To achieve this the course begins with a focus on concepts and methods in evaluating current and potential future security challenges. We move to consider ‘traditional’ challenges associated with changing power dynamics. The course then turns to evaluate ‘intermestic’ threats that operate transnationally, between and within states. Finally, we evaluate how Australia might respond to future black swan events such as natural disasters, mass migration, public health emergencies and interstate conflict. The course involves analysis of some of the most pressing and controversial concerns facing Australian national security thinking, and will integrate perspectives from experienced Australian policy practitioners. This will assist students to develop their learning through scenario exercises around plausible future crises.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Understand concepts related to Australia’s strategic environment, with the ability to critically analyse them in a national security context
- Evaluate contemporary local, regional, and global challenges relating to current and future security challenges facing Australian policymakers
- Critically analyse the responsiveness of security agencies to the security challenges Australia faces today, as a potential guide to its future security resilience
- Conduct independent research that demonstrates scholarly and practitioner-focused engagement with the subject matter, developing ideas and analysis for both audiences.
- Critical review of a key event in Australian national security policy (1500 words) (20) [LO 1,2,4]
- Research essay (3000 words) (40) [LO 1,2,3,4]
- Future crisis scenario: advice report (1500 words) (40) [LO 1,2,3,4]
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One 2-hour seminar weekly, plus one tutorial fortnightly. In addition the expectation of a further independent study combining to a total of approx 130 over the duration of the semester.
A list of readings will be provided in lieu of a prescribed text
Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Foreign Policy White Paper: Opportunity, Security, Strength. November 2017. https://www.fpwhitepaper.gov.au/foreign-policy-white-paper
Katherine Mansted, Sarah Logan, Susan Harris Rimmer, Sara E. Davies, Claire Higgins, Danielle Chubb, ‘Fresh Perspectives in Security’, Centre of Gravity Paper 52, SDSC ANU, 2020.
National Intelligence Council (2017). Global Trends: Paradox of Progress, Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
UK Ministry of Defence, Global Strategic Trends out to 2045, Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre, 2018.
Matthew Sussex, Michael Clarke and Rory Medcalf, ‘National Security Between Theory and Practice’, Australian Journal of International Affairs, vol. 71, no. 5, 2017, pp. 474-478.
Hugh White. ‘Without America: Australia in the New Asia’, Quarterly Essay, December 2017.
Amrita Narlikar (2013). ‘Negotiating the rise of new powers’, International Affairs, vol. 89, no. 3, pp. 561-576
Vipin Narang, ‘Strategies of Nuclear Proliferation: How States Pursue the Bomb’, International Security Winter 2017, Vol. 41, No. 3: 110–150.
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