• Class Number 2858
  • Term Code 3230
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof Stephan Fruehling
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 21/02/2022
  • Class End Date 27/05/2022
  • Census Date 31/03/2022
  • Last Date to Enrol 28/02/2022
    • Emily Robertson
SELT Survey Results

This course examines the theory and practice of nuclear strategy, with a particular focus on nuclear deterrence in the Indo-Pacific. While the end of the Cold War raised international hopes for the ultimate abolishment of nuclear weapons, the acquisition of nuclear weapons by India and Pakistan from 1998, followed by North Korea demonstrated their continuing attractiveness for at least some countries in the Indo-Pacific. As great power competition has intensified since 2014, the role of nuclear weapons in great power conflict has also experienced a resurgence, where many stratgic questions of the Cold War about deterrence credibility, strategic stability, the role of arms control pose themselves in a new form.

This course reviews the development and current state of nuclear weapons technology, and how nuclear weapons have enabled various deterrence and warfighting strategies during and after the Cold War. The United States, China, North Korea, Pakistan, and India are all discussed with a particular emphasis on the interplay and relationship between the political goals, available technology, and employment strategies, before the course concludes with a session on Australia's nuclear policy in past, present and future.

The course includes three 3-hour long debate sessions where the whole class will form teams to prepare and argue major questions of nuclear strategy.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of nuclear weapons technology as well as theories of deterrence for nuclear strategy;
  2. Place ideas and policies relating to nuclear weapons and nuclear strategy into their historical context
  3. Analyze the factors underlying nuclear strategies of countries in the Asia-Pacific; and
  4. Conduct research and communicate clearly about nuclear weapons related issues to academic and non-academic audiences.

Field Trips

There are no field trips for this course

Additional Course Costs

There are no additional class costs in this course

Examination Material or equipment


Required Resources

Required readings will be uploaded to Wattle site

Recommended readings will be included on the Wattle site

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). 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 Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear Order (pre-recorded lecture) One hour synchronous online introduction, Q&A session and debate brief
2 Nuclear Weapons Technology (pre-recorded lecture) 1 hr synchronous online Q & A and discussion
3 Three hour debate activity: Australia and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons ?Face to face or online depending upon Covid-19 regulations. Debate teams are allocated by email at the start of the course. All students are expected to participate in the debates.
4 ?History of Nuclear Strategy and Deterrence (pre-recorded lecture) 1 hr synchronous online Q & A and discussion
5 Three hour debate activity: 1980s NATO Intermediate Nuclear Forces Modernization Face to face or online depending upon Covid-19 regulations. Debate teams are allocated by email at the start of the course. All students are expected to participate in the debates.
6 China's Nuclear Strategy (pre-recorded lecture) 1 hr synchronous online Q & A and discussion (topic order TBC depending on guest lecturer availablity)
7 India and Pakistan Nuclear Strategy (pre-recorded lecture) 1 hr synchronous online Q & A and discussion (topic order TBC depending on guest lecturer availablity)
8 North Korean Nuclear Strategy (pre-recorded lecture) 1 hr synchronous Q & A and discussion (topic order TBC depending on guest lecturer availablity)
9 US and NATO Nuclear Strategy since the Cold War (pre-recorded lecture) ?1 hr synchronous Q & A and discussion (topic order TBC depending on guest lecturer availablity)
10 Nuclear weapons, conventional capability and strategic stability (pre-recorded lecture) 1 hr synchronous online Q & A and discussion (topic order TBC depending on guest lecturer availablity)
11 3 hour in person debate activity: Limited Nuclear War Face to face or online depending upon Covid-19 regulations. Debate teams are allocated by email at the start of the course. All students are to attend the debates.
12 Australia and Nuclear Weapons (pre-recorded lecture) ?1 hr synchronous online Q & A and discussion
13 1hr synchronous online final review Q&A and exam brief

Tutorial Registration

There are no tutorials for this course. Dr Robertson will assign each student to a debate team for one of the three debates.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Debate Reflection 20 % 16/03/2022 30/03/2022 1,4
Essay 40 % 04/05/2022 18/05/2022 1,3,4
Exam 40 % * * 1,2,3,4

* 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 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 Academic Integrity . 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.


There are no participation marks included in this course. However, the debates are designed to assist students with their assignments.


Three hour, final online exam (as per assessment task #3 above)

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 16/03/2022
Return of Assessment: 30/03/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,4

Debate Reflection

Word count: 1000 Words

(Worth 20%)

Will be returned within a fortnight with individual written feedback

Two debates will be held before the due date of the assignment. The reflection piece should be based on the assigned literature and the learning and disucssion during these two debate.

Please note that while debate participation is not assessed, it is expected that that you attend and actively participate. Your own learning and that of your peers will depend on active and informed engagement of the whole class.

Debate One

Participants will be split into two groups and prepare strategic arguments for (Group one) and against (Group two) the following proposition: 

“Australia should work to support the international adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons”

Debate Two

It is 1986.  Participants will split into groups taking the role of the United States (Group one) and Germany (Group two) and prepare strategic arguments on the following two questions:

What should NATO’s initial use of nuclear weapons against a Warsaw Pact invasion be in terms of (a) timing; (b) size of response; and (c) range / targets? 

Is an INF treaty therefore a good idea?

Written reflection task:

In light of the arguments put forth in the debates (and debate readings), what challenges do nuclear weapons pose for the defence policy of non-nuclear countries like Australia and Germany that rely on nuclear deterrence?

The general essay marking rubric included on the Wattle site applies, with the exception of research as no research is expected beyond the assigned readings.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 04/05/2022
Return of Assessment: 18/05/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,3,4


Word count: 3000 Words

(Worth 40%)

Will be returned within a fortnight with individual written feedback

Please write a 3000 word essay on one of the following questions:

In the lead up to the 2022 US Nuclear Posture Review, the question whether the United States should adopt a ‘No First Use’ posture was widely discussed in Washington and allied capitals. What are the main arguments for and against, and how persuasive are these in your view? 

In 2021, it was discovered that China is constructing extensive silo fields for intercontinental missiles, while in the United States advocates of nuclear disarmament argue that the United States should not replace its silo-based Minuteman missiles and rely on submarine- and bomber-based weapons instead. What are the strategic arguments for silo-basing of intercontinental missiles, and how relevant do you think these are for the US and China today?

What is ‘strategic stability’ between nuclear countries, and what are the main challenges to strategic stability today?

Please add the cover sheet that will be available on Wattle before making your submission via Turnitin. References are to be in the Chicago style (links are provided on Wattle).

The general essay marking rubric included on the Wattle site applies.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 40 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4


(Worth 40%)

Time and Date TBA

The final exam for STST8026 will be a 3 hour online exam – at (time TBA) you will have access to the exam script, and will need to upload your responses BEFORE (Time TBA) (i.e. three hours later).

Please upload a MS word file. You may type into the exam script or into a separate file.

The exam has three questions of equal value, and you need to answer all three (i.e. we recommend you allocate yourself one hour per question).

The questions are fairly broad, and you will not find a ‘right’ answer in the readings, course notes or on the internet. 

What we are looking for is your ability to answer the question drawing on the conceptual and historical knowledge on nuclear weapons and nuclear strategy you gained throughout the course.  

There is no need for footnotes. Write the exam as you would if you had no access to internet, notes or sources. However, the standard rules regarding plagiarism and academic integrity of course apply.

There is no minimum or maximum word limit, but given the time available, we would not expect you to write more than 1000 words on each question. Content in terms of reasoned argument and the ability to make use of historic evidence and concepts is more important than length.

The general essay marking rubric included on the Wattle site applies, with the exception of research as no research is expected beyond general knowledge of the course content.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to 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 be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, 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 Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

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

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission not permitted. If submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.
  • 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

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.

Returning Assignments

Assignments will be returned with individual written feedback two weeks after submission.

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 Stephan Fruehling
02 6125 5987

Research Interests


Prof Stephan Fruehling

By Appointment
Emily Robertson

Research Interests

Emily Robertson

Thursday 14:30 15:30

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