• Offered by Crawford School of Public Policy
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject National Security Policy
  • Areas of interest Security Studies
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Benjamin Herscovitch
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2022
    See Future Offerings

The core focus of this course is the ‘threat board’ facing Australia’s national security policy planners in the context of a changing regional and global strategic environment. The course draws on established scholarship on ‘traditional’ security challenges, as well as new and emerging ‘black swan’ events that will require swift action from the national security community to protect Australian interests. Students taking this course will gain an understanding of both conceptual and applied knowledge, as well as key debates on how to situate Australian national security policy in an uncertain order. As a result they will develop the ability to make informed policy-focused evaluations of the subject matter.


To achieve this the course begins with a focus on concepts and methods in evaluating current and potential future security challenges. We move to consider ‘traditional’ challenges associated with changing power dynamics. The course then turns to evaluate ‘intermestic’ threats that operate transnationally, between and within states. Finally, we evaluate how Australia might respond to future black swan events such as natural disasters, mass migration, public health emergencies and interstate conflict. The course involves analysis of some of the most pressing and controversial concerns facing Australian national security thinking, and will integrate perspectives from experienced Australian policy practitioners. This will assist students to develop their learning through scenario exercises around plausible future crises.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Understand concepts related to Australia’s strategic environment, with the ability to critically analyse them in a national security context
  2. Evaluate contemporary local, regional, and global challenges relating to current and future security challenges facing Australian policymakers
  3. Critically analyse the responsiveness of security agencies to the security challenges Australia faces today, as a potential guide to its future security resilience
  4. Conduct independent research that demonstrates scholarly and practitioner-focused engagement with the subject matter, developing ideas and analysis for both audiences.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Critical review of a key event in Australian national security policy (1500 words) (20) [LO 1,2,4]
  2. Research essay (3000 words) (40) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  3. Future crisis scenario: advice report (1500 words) (40) [LO 1,2,3,4]

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.


One 2-hour seminar weekly, plus one tutorial fortnightly. In addition the expectation of a further independent study combining to a total of approx 130 over the duration of the semester.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Prescribed Texts

A list of readings will be provided in lieu of a prescribed text

Preliminary Reading

Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Foreign Policy White Paper: Opportunity, Security, Strength. November 2017. https://www.fpwhitepaper.gov.au/foreign-policy-white-paper


Katherine Mansted, Sarah Logan, Susan Harris Rimmer, Sara E. Davies, Claire Higgins, Danielle Chubb, ‘Fresh Perspectives in Security’, Centre of Gravity Paper 52, SDSC ANU, 2020.


National Intelligence Council (2017). Global Trends: Paradox of Progress, Office of the Director of National Intelligence.


UK Ministry of Defence, Global Strategic Trends out to 2045, Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre, 2018.


Matthew Sussex, Michael Clarke and Rory Medcalf, ‘National Security Between Theory and Practice’, Australian Journal of International Affairs, vol. 71, no. 5, 2017, pp. 474-478.


Hugh White. ‘Without America: Australia in the New Asia’, Quarterly Essay, December 2017.


Amrita Narlikar (2013). ‘Negotiating the rise of new powers’, International Affairs, vol. 89, no. 3, pp. 561-576


Vipin Narang, ‘Strategies of Nuclear Proliferation: How States Pursue the Bomb’, International Security Winter 2017, Vol. 41, No. 3: 110–150.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2022 $4200
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2022 $6000
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
On Campus
7120 25 Jul 2022 01 Aug 2022 31 Aug 2022 28 Oct 2022 In Person View
7121 25 Jul 2022 01 Aug 2022 31 Aug 2022 28 Oct 2022 Online View

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