• Class Number 7605
  • Term Code 3260
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In-Person and Online
    • Dr Andrew Davies
    • Dr Andrew Davies
  • 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
SELT Survey Results

Building a defence force: Defence force structure planning and acquisition (STST8054)

This graduate course explores how nation states build, plan and acquire their defence forces and how the force structures reflect national strategy. The course explores issues such as the responsibilities of government for defence, how to measure defence capability, the evolution of defence technology, debates over self-sufficiency and the relationship between national strategy and defence industry. It examines the difficulties inherent in defence force structure planning and acquisition, from the matching of hardware to strategy through to project management challenges. The course is primarily focused on countries in the Asia-Pacific, with a particular emphasis on Australian policy choices. There will be many case studies to illustrate the overarching themes being explored.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Develop an understanding of public policy decisions regarding defence planning and capital investment
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of the major theoretical debates over defence capability and force planning
  3. Critically analyse the interplay of defence industry activity, national defence and the broader economy
  4. Possess a range of basic methodological tools for interpreting and analysing defence budgets and defence budget decisions, including some simple quantitative tools and techniques
  5. Develop capacity for original, independent analysis of defence policy decisions

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 Governance and organisation of defence departments 25 July 2022
2 Defining and measuring defence capability and the ‘fundamental inputs’ 1 August 2022
3 Regional approaches to force structures 8 August 2022
4 Defence technologies and revolutions in military affairs 15 August 2022
5 Force multipliers and the role of information in warfare Cyber warfare: capabilities and force structures 22 August 2022
6 The capability development process Guest speaker: Dr Marcus Hellyer, Senior Analyst, Australian Strategic Policy Institute 29 August 2022
7 Defence economics and Australian self-reliance 19 September 2022
8 Managing defence acquisition and sustainment projects 26 September 2022
9 Case study: Australia’s future submarine Guest speaker: Rear Admiral (retd) Rowan Moffit, former Project Manager Future Submarines, Department of Defence (TBC) 3 October 2022
10 Building and costing force structures Course summary and conclusions 10 October 2022
11 Workshop/class exercise: drafting the next defence white paper 17 October

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Learning Outcomes
Short assignment 20 % 11/08/2022 1, 3, 5
Long essay 40 % 27/09/2022 1 ,2, 3 ,4, 5
Final examination 40 % * 1, 2, 4, 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. 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.


The exam will be a four hour take home exercise at a time to be negotiated with the class, most likely in the week beginning 31 October 2019.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 11/08/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1, 3, 5

Short assignment

The assignment will be a strategy and budgeting exercise based on material provided in week one. Students will be given the ADF’s current and planned force structure and two defence budget figures—one higher than current guidance and one lower—and are required to summarise the strategic choices they make in order to fit the force structure to the budget. The aim is to produce a force structure that best meets Australia's strategic challenges within the budget guidance. The quantitative aspect of this assignment does not extend beyond some simple addition and subtraction from the baseline budget.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 27/09/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1 ,2, 3 ,4, 5

Long essay

Write a 3,000 word essay on one of the topics below. The course convenor will expand on the requirement in class.

1.   Choose one of the following major acquisition activities and critique the strategic rationale for the choice, the possible alternatives that were (or might have been) considered, and the way in which the chosen capability addresses/addressed the identified strategic issue. (Students from countries other than Australia may select a project from their own country - but must obtain the approval of the course convenor before commencing work.)

·       Australia’s plans to acquire a nuclear powered submarine

·       Australia's planned acquisition of multiple types of armoured vehicles (including self-propelled artillery) for its land forces

·       Australia's future Hunter class frigate program

. Australia's plan to develop a sovereign guided weapons and explosive ordnance enterprise


2.   What has the war in Ukraine demonstrated about the value of emerging and existing military capabilities, and what lessons might Australia draw from it for its own force structure decisions? (You may also explain why significant aspects of that conflict do not have implications for Australia if you judge that to be the case.)


3.   For one of the following technologies, explain how it might chance the future of armed conflict: 

·        Artificial intelligence

·        Autonomous systems

·        Biotechnology

·        Nanotechnology

Assessment Task 3

Value: 40 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 4, 5

Final examination

The final exam will be a three hour examination that will be available to be downloaded and submitted online. There will be a range of questions that cover the range of course material, and short answers will be required. Students will be able to choose their own time within examination week to sit the exam.

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.

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).

Dr Andrew Davies

Research Interests

Defence force structuring, acquisition and industrial issues. Operations research.

Dr Andrew Davies

By Appointment
By Appointment
Dr Andrew Davies

Research Interests

Dr Andrew Davies

By Appointment
By Appointment

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