• Class Number 4649
  • Term Code 3250
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 3 units
  • Topic Online
  • Mode of Delivery Online
    • Prof Rory Medcalf
    • Peter Ford
    • Prof Rory Medcalf
    • Dr William Stoltz
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 01/09/2022
  • Class End Date 22/10/2022
  • Census Date 16/09/2022
  • Last Date to Enrol 07/09/2022
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

There is no one set text. All book extracts will be provided on Wattle.

Mark Lowenthal, The Future of Intelligence, Boston: Polity Press, 2017 (extracts will be provided)

      Michael L'Estrange and Stephen Merchant, Independent Intelligence Review, 2017

·       Amy Zegart, Spies, Lies and Algorithms, Chapter 1, Intelligence challenges in the digital age, pages 1-15

·       Mark Lowenthal, Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy, extract (Chapter 1)

Richardson Review, Executive Summary and Recommendations

·       William Stoltz, A 2020 Vision for Five Eyes: New Structures for New Challenges, December 2020


·       Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Declassified National Intelligence Estimate on foreign interference in the 2020 US Presidential election

·       US ODNI, Declassified report Assessing the Saudi Government's Role in the Killing of Jamal Khashoggi

·       US ODNI, Declassified Intelligence Community assessment on COVID-19 origin

·       CSIS, 2019, Making Solid Tracks: North Korea’s Railway Connections with China and Russia

·       Amy Zegart, Spies, Lies and Algorithms, Chapter 4, pages 77-9, Summary of Bin Laden analysis.

·       Pat Walsh, 2022, Intelligence and National Security Journal, Australian intelligence oversight and accountability: efficacy and contemporary challenges

·       Pat Walsh, 2020, Intelligence and National Security Journal, Transforming the Australian intelligence community: mapping change,  impact, and challenges  

·       Philip Flood, 2004, Report of the Inquiry into Australian Intelligence Agencies.

·       David Omand and Mark Phythian, Principled Spying: The Ethics of Secret Intelligence, Extract: Conclusions: Toward Principled Spying

·       Ross Bellaby, 2012, Intelligence and National Security, What's the Harm? The Ethics of Intelligence Collection

·       Daniel Baldino and Rhys Crawley, Intelligence and the Function of Government, Chapter 2, A history of the Australia Intelligence community, pages 37-58

·       Mike Burgess, Director General's Annual Threat Assessment, Australian Security Intelligence Organisation 2022

·       Avril Haines, Director of National Intelligence, Annual Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community, Opening Statement to Senate Armed Services Committee, Tuesday, May 10, 2022

·       Rory Cormac, Secret Intelligence and Economic Security: The Exploitation of a Critical Asset in an Increasingly Prominent Sphere, Intelligence and National Security, 2014, Vol. 29, No. 1, 99–121, Wattle

·       Maria A. Robson Morrow, 2022, intelligence and National Security, Private sector intelligence: on the long path of professionalization

·       Human Intelligence in the Digital Age - Speech by Richard Moore, Chief of the UK's Secret Intelligence Service, 2021

·       John Hemmings and Peter Varnish, Evolving The Five Eyes: Opportunities And Challenges In A New Strategic Landscape, September 2021 

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). 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.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Preparatory reading and viewing: students are encouraged, before 7 September, 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 7 September. Four hours total: 10am-12noon and 1pm-3pm AEST, all in hybrid mode (dual delivery in-person and virtual) This is part-preparation for assessment item 1 and 2
3 Participation in seminar on 8 September. Four hours total: 10am-12 noon and 1pm-3pm AEST, all in hybrid mode (dual delivery in person and virtual) This completes in-class preparation for assessment item 1 and 2
4 Undertake assessment item 1 Delivery of assessment item 1, due 12 September
5 Undertake assessment item 2 Delivery of assessment item 2, due 26 September
6 Participation in seminar on 29 September. Two hours total, 10am to 12 noon AEST, in hybrid mode (dual delivery in person and virtual) This is preparation for assessment item 3
7 Undertake assessment item 3 Delivery of assessment item 3, due 12 October

Tutorial Registration

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Introdcutory test on key themes 10 % 12/09/2022 14/09/2022 1.2
Analytical essay 50 % 26/09/2022 06/10/2022 1 2 3 4
Report on redesigning the Australian intelligence community 40 % 12/10/2022 30/11/2022 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 Integrity 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 Skills website. 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 all seminars is strongly encouraged to ensure maximum learning opportunity from the course. Participation is not graded as such but will be useful in preparing for assessment items. Participation also provides opportunity to ask questions directly of senior former intelligence practitioners, providing a practical and interactive dimension to learning.



Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 12/09/2022
Return of Assessment: 14/09/2022
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 September 8 and will be due on the night of September 12. You will answer four questions, 400 words in total.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 26/09/2022
Return of Assessment: 06/10/2022
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: 12/10/2022
Return of Assessment: 30/11/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1 2 4

Report on redesigning the Australian intelligence community

You are required to write a brief report (word limit 1000 words) setting out your considered views on the balance of capabilities and corresponding allocation of resources in a future Australian intelligence community. This draws on what you have learned in the course and requires you to make and substantiate policy judgements about how the intelligence community should be redesigned (and resourcing reallocated) to align with future risks and opportunities in a changing intelligence and security environment. More details will be provided on Wattle.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

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

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

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
By Appointment
Peter Ford
6125 9978

Research Interests

Peter Ford

By Appointment
Prof Rory Medcalf
02 6125 7507-Ex2

Research Interests

Prof Rory Medcalf

By Appointment
By Appointment
Dr William Stoltz
6125 9978

Research Interests

Dr William Stoltz

By Appointment

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