- Class Number 3525
- Term Code 3240
- Class Info
- Unit Value 3 units
- Topic Online
- Mode of Delivery Online
- Prof Rory Medcalf
- Prof Rory Medcalf
- Dr William Stoltz
- Class Dates
- Class Start Date 07/04/2022
- Class End Date 29/05/2022
- Census Date 29/04/2022
- Last Date to Enrol 14/04/2022
How is security policy in Australia really made? This is a primer on the institutions, actors and their interaction – sometimes outside formal structures – that shape decision-making in Canberra on key issues related to national security. Policy practitioners will guide students through the intersection of politics, bureaucracy, intelligence and external influences, tying together this foundational knowledge in a policy simulation exercise in which students will formulate, and afterwards critique, a government response to a hypothetical national security problem.
This course takes advantage of the National Security College’s privileged access to the policy community, to share with students contemporary insights that are difficult to obtain from purely academic sources. In line with the NSC signature pedagogy, this course will be co-delivered by an academic and a policy practitioner. It will rely heavily on practitioner perspectives, including guest sessions with serving and former policymakers, parliamentarians and journalists. The academic course convener will ensure academic standards in assessment and maintaining conceptual linkages to more scholarly and research-oriented NSC courses.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Understand the roles of the different institutions and actors in Australian national security policy
- Demonstrate a working understanding of the context, processes and challenges for national security policy development and implementation
- Begin critically analysing the practice of national security policymaking
- Develop and communicate ideas, analysis, and argument related to Australian national security policymaking in a range of forms for professional audiences.
No field trips.
Additional Course Costs
No set text
Recommend readings include:
Allan Behm, No Minister: So You Want to be a Chief of Staff? Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2015.
Catherine Althaus, Peter Bridgman and Glyn Davis, The Australian Policy Handbook: A Practical Guide to the Policy-making Process, Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 2018.
Julia Gillard, My Story, Sydney: Penguin, 2019. Chapters 9, 11 and 12.
Allan Gyngell, Fear of Abandonment: Australia in the World since 1942, Chapters 8 ad 9
Malcolm Turnbull, A Bigger Picture, Melbourne: Hardie Grant, 2020. Chapters 29, 34 and 35.
Kevin Rudd: The PM Years, Sydney: Pan Macmillan, 2018 chapters 5, 12, 34 and 35.
Russell Trood and Anthony Bergin, ‘Creative Tension: Parliament and National Security’, ASPI report, 2015.
At least one recent policy white paper or parliamentary committee report (examples to be provided on Wattle)
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
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). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.
|Week/Session||Summary of Activities||Assessment|
|1||Preparatory reading and viewing of pre-recorded materials|
|2||Seminars and discussions on 13 April, repeated as morning session in-person, afternoon session for remote students||This will work through the first three topics of the course: a power map of Canberra: introducing key institutions and actors; politics and policy: the view from the Hill; what do government officials really do? Bureaucracy: its powers and constraints.This session will involve participation by senior former policy leaders.|
|3||Seminars and discussions on 14 April, repeated as morning session in-person, afternoon session for remote students||This will work through the final topics of the course: intelligence unmasked: does it matter?; vectors of influence: business, embassies, media, civil society. The latter part of this session will involve initial preparations for assessment item 1. This session will involve participation by senior former policy leaders.|
|4||Preparation and submission of assessment item 1||This will take place between 15 April and the due date for assignment submission on 19 April|
|5||Preparation for final asessment||Additional materials will be provided on Wattle, between 15 and 29 April. Session on 29 April will outline instructions for final assessment. Submission will be 6 May.|
|Assessment task||Value||Due Date||Return of assessment||Learning Outcomes|
|Short essay||60 %||19/04/2022||28/04/2022||1, 2, 3, 4|
|Stakeholder Engagement Plan||40 %||06/05/2022||30/06/2022||1, 2, 3, 4|
* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details
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- Academic Integrity Policy and Procedure
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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.
There is no formal grade for participation, however students are encouraged to participate in all sessions. Moreover, participation in the policy simulation session on 29 April will be essential in order to undertake the second assessment item. Students who for whatever reason are absolutely unable to participate on 29 April should contact the course convener to explore alternative arrangements.
Assessment Task 1
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4
Assessment 1 (40%). You are asked to write a short essay on one of the following topics. The word limit is 1,500 words (within 10% on either side is acceptable). This will be a short and argument-based essay, rather than a comprehensive research essay. You will be expected to deploy some evidence to support your arguments and demonstrate your understanding of the subject, but this is not expected to be a major piece of research. Please write clearly, succinctly and in essay style: i.e. prose and paragraphs, not dot points. Consistent use of an accepted academic referencing style is required. The word length does not include notes or bibliography, but please ensure all substantive points are made in the body of the essay. The quality and clarity of your argument will be a major factor in your grade. This includes your demonstrated ability to identify and address counter-arguments.
1. Is the concept of a policy cycle useful in understanding national security policymaking in Australia? Why or why not? What adjustments or alternatives to a conventional policy cycle would you propose for the national security context?
2. Of all the actors and institutions shaping Australia's national security policies, explain which is the most powerful and which is the least powerful and why?
3. To what extent can those outside the public service and government influence Australia's national security policies? Provide examples to support your response.
4. Identify an actor or institution with influence on Australia's national security policymaking and explain the basis of their power(s) such as relevant legislation and conventions. What are the strengths and limitations of their role and how might their influence change over time, if at all?
5. In recent decades the personal staff of politicians, particularly ministerial advisers, have acquired a high degree of influence over Australia's national security policymaking, despite not having a codified role. To what extent has this improved or hampered the creation of national security policy and has it affected the influence of other actors and institutions, if so how?
6. In a contemporary threat environment where Australia's leaders make quick, politically-minded decisions, can an impartial bureaucracy have influence on what decisions are made or does it exist solely to carry out the decisions of politicians?
7. Should intelligence influence Australian national security policy or merely inform it?
8. Australia has a long-standing tradition of bipartisanship on national security policy between the two major parties of government. Explain the strengths and weaknesses of this tradition.
Assessment Task 2
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4
Stakeholder Engagement Plan
Assessment 2 (60%). You are asked to prepare a stakeholder engagement plan for a major (hypothetical) national security policy initiative. Select from one of the hypothetical initiatives listed and prepare a 2,000 word document which:
o Identifies all major stakeholders you think are relevant, including inside and outside of government, and explain what influence they may have over the initiative;
o Explain what roles different government agencies should take in pursing the initiative;
o Identify whether or not legislative change is required and therefore what Parliament’s role might be;
o How various stakeholders should be engaged, formally and informally, over the course of the initiative. Consider
In all the following scenarios you are a political staffer employed as the Senior Adviser for National Security Policy by the Prime Minister. You are the first person the PM has spoken to after deciding on the initiative and the PM wants a comprehensive plan of how to engage any and all stakeholders required to make this initiative a success. Remember: you’re not advising on whether or not you personally think the initiative is a good idea, you’re advising on who needs to be involved to make it happen.
There will be 10% grace under or over for the word limit. You can be creative with the format and presentation of the plan but must stay within the word limit. While the focus of this exercise is to show your comprehension of how different stakeholders interact, where you do mention external sources please reference using a consistent referencing style.
1. National Service Scheme and Creation of a Civil Defence Force. To respond to more frequent and harmful natural disasters, the PM wants to create a civil defence force for national humanitarian and disaster response. It will be supported by a national service scheme to enlist young Australians in a year’s mandatory training and service to the civil defence force, with reasonable exemptions for some Australians.
2. AUKUS Expanded. The PM has decided that they want Australia to have a domestic nuclear industry to support the AUKUS project. Additionally, the PM has been told by the US President that Australia will be responsible for storing all the nuclear waste produced by our new submarines. Given Australia will need a new nuclear waste facility anyway, the PM has decided establish an International Nuclear Waste Disposal Facility so other countries can pay Australia to store their waste here.
3. Ransomware Legislation. The PM has decided businesses operating in Australia should be made to publicly report ransomware attacks and face fines for paying ransoms.
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Australian security, defence and foreign policy, foreign interference, Indo-Pacific strategy, China, India, China-India relations, maritime security, nuclear issues.
Prof Rory Medcalf
Prof Rory Medcalf