- Code NSPO8008
- Unit Value 6 units
- Offered by ANU National Security College
- ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
- Course subject National Security Policy
- Areas of interest Philosophy, Ethics, Security Studies
- Academic career PGRD
- Dr James Mortensen
- Mode of delivery In Person
First Semester 2023
See Future Offerings
This course is available for on-campus & remote (online) learning. All students participate in interactive, real-time classes.
As Australia faces security challenges ranging from terrorism to cybersecurity to interstate rivalries and climate change, discussions around national security will continue to play across our community, in the media and in policymaking. This course examines the ethical norms that both underpin and limit national security. It has a particular focus on the way that the relationships between those ethical norms pose challenges for national security policy and practice. It explores how, and the extent to which, ethical considerations can and should influence decisions about national security. This course brings together expert and practitioner perspectives to facilitate analysis of some of the most pressing and controversial concerns regarding the ethics of national security choices in the 21st century.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Understand concepts related to ethical issues arising in the context of national security
- Evaluate contemporary ethical challenges relating to current and future security challenges facing Australian policymakers
- Critically analyse, from an ethical lens, the responsiveness of security agencies to the security challenges Australia faces today, as a potential guide to its future national security responses
- Conduct independent research that demonstrates both scholarly and policy-focused engagement with the subject matter
- Critical review of a key article outlining ethical challenges in national security policy (1,000 words) (20) [LO 1,2,4]
- Major research essay (3,000 words) (50) [LO 1,2,3,4]
- Limited Time Exercise (Scenario and Case examples) (1,500 words) (30) [LO 1,2,3,4]
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One 2-hour seminar weekly, plus one tutorial fortnightly. In addition the expectation of a further independent study to total 130 over the duration of the semester.
A list of readings will be provided in lieu of a prescribed text
Chris Michaelsen, (2010) ‘Australia and the Threat of Terrorism in the Decade after 9/11' Asian Journal of Political Science, 18:3, 248-268, DOI: 10.1080/02185377.2010.527212
Richard Shapcott, (2014) 'International Ethics', in Baylis, Smith and Owens (eds), The Globalization Of World Politics, Oxford: Oxford.
Hugh Lafollette, (2014) 'Theorizing About Ethics', in Lafollette (ed), Ethics In Practice: An Anthology 4th Edn, Wiley, 4-10.
Steven Heyman, (1991) 'The First Duty Of Government: Protection, Liberty And The Fourteenth Amendment' Duke Law Journal, Vol. 41, No. 3, pp 507-571.
Jonathan Haidt, "Where Does Morality Come From?" and "The Moral Foundations Of Politics", Chapters 1 and 7 in The Righteous Mind, 2010
James Rachels "The Challenge Of Cultural Relativism", Chapter 2 in The Elements Of Moral Philosophy, 1986, (McGraw Hill)
Daniel Beck, (2015) 'Between Relativism and Imperialism: Navigating Moral Diversity in Cross-Cultural Bioethics' Developing World Bioethics 15 (3):162-171.
Burchill, Scott, "Origins and Antecedents" in The National Interest in International Relations Theory. Springer, 2005, pp. 9 - 30.
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- 6 units
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