• Class Number 5587
  • Term Code 3160
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • AsPr Garth Pratten
    • AsPr Garth Pratten
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 26/07/2021
  • Class End Date 29/10/2021
  • Census Date 14/09/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/08/2021
    • Geraint Schmidt
    • Dr Peter Lee
    • Sylvia Laksmi
SELT Survey Results

Asia's economic rise has benefited Australian immensely in commercial terms. From a security perspective, however, it presents a raft of potentially significant dilemmas. This course examines the immense promise and potential strategic pitfalls that confront Australia at the dawn of the so-called Asian century. Questions to be examined in this course include: might Australia be forced to make a choice between its leading trading partner China and its closest security ally the United States if and when strategic competition deepens between these two regional heavyweights? What alternative security arrangements might Australia seek as the relative strategic weight of its American ally declines in the face of Asia's rise? How might Australia compensate for the fact that it might no longer be able to maintain a clear military technological edge over many of its increasingly prosperous Southeast Asian neighbours? And will Australia be forced to cede ground in its own South Pacific sphere of influence as Asia's great powers become increasingly interested and engaged in this part of the world?

Learning Outcomes

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

  • To provide course members with a greater empirical understanding of the range of national security challenges confronting Australia at the dawn of the so-called 'Asian century', both through the material delivered in lectures, as well as via the reading material assigned.
  • To provide course members with a series of analytical frameworks for better understanding the complexities of the national security challenges confronting Australia at the dawn of the Asian century.
  • To assist course members with developing the skills required to clearly and confidently articulate their ideas regarding Australia's national security challenges in the Asian century through in-class discussions, a variety of written assessments and tutorial based activities.

Additional Course Costs


Required Resources


There is no essential preliminary reading for this course, but you are encouraged to explore these books before we start:

·        Dean, Fruehling and Taylor [eds.] Australia’s Defence: Towards a new Era? Melbourne: Melbourne University Press 2014

·        Gyngell, Alan. Fear of Abandonment: Australia in the world since 1942, Melbourne: Black Inc 2017.

It would also be a great idea—if you are not doing so already—to read the Lowy Interpreter http://www.lowyinterpreter.org/ and ASPI Strategist http://www.aspistrategist.org.au/ blogs regularly. 

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

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 Australia's security in the Asian Century In addition to addressing important administrative issues, this session will frame the course. How have notions of Australia's security changed over time, and how have these been shaped by its often awkward relationship with Asia. What is understood by this notion of an 'Asian Century' and what are the common interpretations of its implications for Australia.
2 Making Australian Security Policy in the Asian Century When we speak about 'Australia's security' what do we mean? Security for whom? Against what? Achieved by which means? How is security defined in government and how are decisions made about priorities? The session explores the process of making security policy and the government apparatus responsible.
3 Strategic Context: US-China - A new Cold War? Australia's security in the contemporary international environment cannot be viewed without reference to the great power competition between the United States and China. References to Australia being caught between its largest trading partner and its most powerful ally have become cliched, but that does not make them any less true. This session examines the implications of United States-China relations for Australia's security and potential policy avenues to address them.
4 Power: Northeast Asia The economic and military rise of Northeast Asia initially defined Australian thinking about the ‘Asian Century.’ Australia's economic prosperity is intertwined with China, Japan, and South Korea, which account for our three largest export markets. Ensuring peace and stability in Northeast Asia has thus been a key priority of Australian policy makers for decades. This session explores how Australia has responded to the region’s changing security landscape, where North Korea's nuclear program, China’s military build-up, Russia's resurgence, and multiple bilateral flashpoints threaten to spill over into conflict. It also looks at the ongoing value of Australia’s partnerships with Japan and South Korea in a more contested region.
5 Proximity: Southeast Asia In security discourse, Australia has traditionally seen Southeast Asia in geo-strategic terms - simulataneously both a bridge between Australia and the Asian mainland and a barrier between the two to be defended. Its narrow waterways, similarly, join the Indian and Pacific Oceans; they can be used to enable maritime commerce, or to shut it down. Australia thus views a stable, friendly Southeast Asia as vital to its interests and recent policy initiatives aim at fostering states resilient to coercion but open to cooperation. With this aim in mind, this session will explore how well Australia understands the security dynamics of a region embracing ten very diverse countries.
6 Influence: Oceania Australia has long considered the island states of the southern Pacific a sphere of influence. This attitude is seen by some as neo-colonialism, by others as a prudent strategy of denial, and by others as benevolent development. In recent times Australia has perceived itself to be in direct competition with China in the region. This session explores how the Pacific islands have featured in discourses of Australian security and assesses the much-vaunted 'Pacific Step-up' as an act of security policy.
7 "Shape, deter, respond": The role, structure and capability of the Australian Defence Force Historically, the chief instrument of Australian security has been its armed forces. The end of prolonged commitments to Iraq and Afghanistan, the increasing use of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) for non-warlike contingencies, and increasing tensions in Asia have led to debate over the role, structure, capability and even culture of the ADF. This session will examine the context and content of these debates. In the contemporary security environment what should the ADF be equipped to do?
8 "This threat is significant, and it’s not going away": Domestic Security In his 2021 threat assessment the Director General of ASIO noted that the domestic threat to Australian security is 'significant, and it's not going away'. This session will examine the context of this judgement: what groups and phenomena are considered to be internal security threats, what measures has Australia taken to respond, and are these in keeping with notions of Australian democracy?
9 Climate change, pandemics and other disasters The responses to disease, extreme weather and other natural disasters have traditionally been considered part of the human security agenda - conducted in pursuit of human dignity rather than protecting the strength of the state. The dire prognosis of climate change, the increasing destructiveness of natural disasters, the sheer scale of the COVID pandemic, and the associated human and economic consequences have resulted in a confluence of the traditional and non-traditional security agendas. This session will examine the way in which such challenges are being incorporated into the discourse of national security, and with what effect.
10 Geo-economics and resource security A defining feature of the modern world is its economic interdependence. Once seen as providing scope for international cooperation the global economy has become another domain of great power competition. As an open, trade dependent economy, Australia is vulnerable to both economic and security risks associated with such competition. This session examines how Australia is coping with geo-economic competition, the new security challenges this presents, and potential options to address them.
11 Technology and New Frontiers in Security This session examines the current and potential effect of rapidly evolving technology, and new arenas of competition and possibly conflict, on Australia's security. The topics is will embrace include the cyber sphere, artificial intelligence and robotics, the fourth industrial revolution, and the renewed space race.
12 Managing Security Risk into the Future This session will draw together the major themes of the course and challenge students to reflect on how secure Australia is today and whether it will be more or less secure in the thirty years ahead to 2050. With multiple potential threats and potential avenues for mitigating and addressing them, what choices should Australia make?

Tutorial Registration

Via Wattle site. Tutorial registrations will close at the end of the first week of semester, and commence in the second week of semester.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Contribution to Peer Learning 10 % 29/10/2021 02/12/2021 1,2,3
Historical Document Assessment 30 % 16/08/2021 01/09/2021 1,2,3
Research Essay 30 % 27/09/2021 18/10/2021 1,2,3
Security Threat Assessment Exercise 30 % 08/11/2021 02/12/2021 1,2,3

* 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: 10 %
Due Date: 29/10/2021
Return of Assessment: 02/12/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Contribution to Peer Learning

This is assessment is more than a simple attendance mark. It does, however, contain an attendance component. The first 50% of the mark is for attendance. Attendance at one tutorial will earn 4.54% up to 50% for all eleven. Legitimate (beyond a student's control), documented absences, communicated in writing to the tutor will be counted for this component of the mark. Except in exceptional circumstances, work-related absences will not count - there is sufficient choice in tutorial times for students to manage work requirements.

The second 50% of the mark will be determined by students' participation in class, in effect their contribution to each other's learning, and the manner in which they conduct themselves; tutorials for this course will encourage curiosity, inclusivity, and respect.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 16/08/2021
Return of Assessment: 01/09/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Historical Document Assessment

In this assessment students will be provided a selection of historical Australian security policy documents, which they will be required to compare in order to identify changes in Australia's security discourse across time.

Word Limit: 2,000 words

Assessment Task 3

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 27/09/2021
Return of Assessment: 18/10/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Research Essay

Students will complete a fully-referenced research essay on their choice of topic from a list of five provided by the convenor.

Word Limit: 2,000 words

Assessment Task 4

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 08/11/2021
Return of Assessment: 02/12/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Security Threat Assessment Exercise

Students will be required to complete a security threat assessment using knowledge gained from the course to weigh up the liklihood, consequences and policy implications of several potential threats to Australian security. They will be provided a format for this task.

Length: 1,500 words

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

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 of assessment tasks without an extension is 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).
AsPr Garth Pratten
6125 6503

Research Interests

Associate Professor Pratten's profile and research interests can be found here: https://researchprofiles.anu.edu.au/en/persons/garth-pratten

AsPr Garth Pratten

Thursday 16:00 17:00
By Appointment
AsPr Garth Pratten
6125 6503

Research Interests

AsPr Garth Pratten

Thursday 16:00 17:00
By Appointment
Geraint Schmidt
6125 6503

Research Interests

Geraint Schmidt

By Appointment
6125 6503

Research Interests


By Appointment
Dr Peter Lee

Research Interests

Dr Peter Lee

By Appointment
Sylvia Laksmi
6125 6503

Research Interests

Sylvia Laksmi

By Appointment

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