• Class Number 5447
  • Term Code 3260
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Topic On Campus
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof Rory Medcalf
    • Carolyn Bull
    • Prof Rory Medcalf
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 25/07/2022
  • Class End Date 28/10/2022
  • Census Date 31/08/2022
  • Last Date to Enrol 01/08/2022
    • Finn Coverdale
SELT Survey Results

This is a core course in the Master of National Security Policy degree. It is also available as an elective to other students seeking a broad introduction to national security policy that bridges the practical and the conceptual. This course examines the structures, processes, actors and norms of national security policymaking, with reference to the Australian experience. The subject matter includes: the challenge of translating national security concepts into addressing practical policy problems; the nature, purpose and limitations of national security policymaking; actors, interests and structures in national security; practical aspects of national security policymaking including strategy, risk management and the impact of technology; the role of the private sector, interest groups, the media and academia/think tanks; national security policymaking in comparative perspective; and prospects for reform.

In line with the NSC’s signature pedagogy, this course is delivered as a collaboration between an academic convener and a policy practitioner. Guest presentations are included, both from other national security academics and from current and former senior policymakers, with the course convener and practitioner acting as discussants to sustain engagement with the content combining concepts and practice. Several of the seminars in the course provide a preview of other national security (elective) courses, improving students’ ability to structure their study experience. A highlight of the course is a fully-fledged exercise simulating whole-of-government national security policymaking in a crisis scenario.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Apply concepts of national security to critically analyse practical national security policymaking
  2. Demonstrate a working understanding of the context, processes, challenges and options for national security policy development and implementation
  3. Understand the workings of the Australian national security policy community, including as a model to assess the national security architecture in other countries
  4. Conduct independent research on national security policy issues
  5. Develop and communicate ideas, analysis, and argument in a range of written and oral forms for professional and scholarly audiences.

Research-Led Teaching


Field Trips


Additional Course Costs


Examination Material or equipment


Required Resources

A wide range of relevant texts to be provided to students via Wattle site. There is no one prescribed textbook.

It is important that students read widely on current issues in Australian national security and international affairs, eg. media, blogs, journals, National Security College policy publications, parliamentary Hansard, White Papers, speeches, political biographies etc.

A good primer is:

Catherine Althaus, Peter Bridgman and Glyn Davis, The Australian Policy Handbook: A Practical Guide to the Policy-making Process, Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 2018A

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 Lecture - Week 1: From concepts to policy: translating national interests, values and identity into national security policymaking
2 Lecture - Week 2: Politics and parliament
3 Lecture - Week 3: Law and national security policy
4 Lecture - Week 4: The policy cycle and policy architecture (departments and agencies)
5 First assessment item due: recorded spoken policy presentation: framing a policy problem Recorded policy presentation due, Monday 22 August 2022
6 Lecture - Week 5: The policy-intelligence nexus
7 Lecture - Week 6: 'External' influences: media, civil society, think tanks, academia, industry
8 Mid Semester Break
9 Lecture - Week 7: Strategy
10 Second assessment item due: research essay Research essay due, Friday 23 September 2022
11 Lecture - Week 8: Leadership, crisis and risk
12 Lecture - Week 9: Exercise - whole-of-government decision making
13 Lecture - Week 10: Technology and national security policy
14 Third assessment item: policy brief Policy brief due, Monday 17 October 2022
15 Lecture - Week 11: national security policy in comparative perspective (US, UK, India, Finland)
16 Lecture - Week 12: emerging challenges in national security policymaking (eg. federalism, geoeconomics) and prospects for reform

Tutorial Registration


Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Spoken presentation on framing a policy problem 20 % 22/08/2022 30/08/2022 1, 2, 3, 5
Research Essay 50 % 23/09/2022 07/10/2022 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Policy brief 30 % 21/10/2022 01/12/2022 1, 2, 3, 5

* 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.


Students are encourage to participate in seminars and tutorials. Participation will be especially beneficial in preparing for the first and third assessment items.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 22/08/2022
Return of Assessment: 30/08/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 5

Spoken presentation on framing a policy problem

Due 22 August 2022 at 11.55pm

Length: 5 minutes maximum

Students will be asked to record a video presentation of 5 minutes framing a national security policy problem. Full details including rubric will be provided in week 1.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 23/09/2022
Return of Assessment: 07/10/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Research Essay

Due 23 September at 11.55pm

Length: 3,000 words




Is constructed in a way that enhances the argument made, methodology is thoughtful, clear and followed by the text

Clearly and persuasively makes a novel and insightful argument

Lucid, easily readable and well presented text, clearly worded and articulate, free from obvious typos or formatting errors

Judiciously referenced, uses a wide variety of reputable sources, critically analyses evidence to support wider claims


Is constructed in a way that makes the argument clear, methodology is suitable and followed by the text

Clearly and persuasively makes an argument

Well written text presented clearly, few typos or formatting errors

Well referenced, uses a variety of reputable sources, some good analysis of evidence


Is constructed in a way that attempts to make the argument clear, methodology is suitable and is largely followed by the text

Attempts to make a clear argument

Understandable text, basic presentation, a handful of textual or format errors

Adequately referenced, uses a variety of sources, displays some awareness of suitability of sources chosen


Is constructed in a way that attempts to make the argument, methodology attempts to be coherent but is not always followed by the text

Attempts to make an appreciable argument

Sometimes confusing textual style, inconsistent formatting, somewhat regular textual or formatting errors

Minimal referencing, few sources chosen beyond course material, little critical engagement with sources


Claims to have a structure but is largely incoherent, methodology consistently ill-applied or absent

Claims to make an argument that is not appreciably attempted, or makes no argument at all

Confusing textual style, poor formating, regular errors in text

Barely referenced, heavily reliant on a small number of sources, no critical engagement with sources used

Assessment Task 3

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 21/10/2022
Return of Assessment: 01/12/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 5

Policy brief

Due 21 October at 11:55pm

Students will be asked to provide a policy brief providing recommendations for a government to address a national security problem. Full details, examples of previous high-scoring work, and a rubric will be provided by week 6. Word length 1500.

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 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 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).
Prof Rory Medcalf
02 6125 7507

Research Interests

Australian national security, foreign policy, defence, China, India, Indo-Pacific, maritime security, nuclear issues, foreign interference, futures analysis.

Prof Rory Medcalf

By Appointment
By Appointment
Carolyn Bull

Research Interests

Carolyn Bull

By Appointment
Prof Rory Medcalf
02 6125 7507

Research Interests

Prof Rory Medcalf

By Appointment
By Appointment
Finn Coverdale

Research Interests

Finn Coverdale

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions