• Class Number 4344
  • Term Code 3330
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Topic Online
  • Mode of Delivery Online
    • Dr James Mortensen
    • Dr James Mortensen
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 20/02/2023
  • Class End Date 26/05/2023
  • Census Date 31/03/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 27/02/2023
SELT Survey Results

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.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Understand concepts related to ethical issues arising in the context of national security
  2. Evaluate contemporary ethical challenges relating to current and future security challenges facing Australian policymakers
  3. 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
  4. Conduct independent research that demonstrates both scholarly and policy-focused engagement with the subject matter

The below are simply recommended texts that may assist students - weekly readings will be supplied separately

Arendt, Hannah. “Authority in the Twentieth Century.” The Review of Politics 18, no. 4 (October 1956): 403–17. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0034670500009773.

Morgenthau, Hans J. “The Evil of Politics and the Ethics of Evil.” Ethics 56, no. 1 (1945): 1–18.

Richard Shapcott, (2014) 'International Ethics', in Baylis, Smith and Owens (eds), The Globalization Of World Politics, Oxford: Oxford.

Foucault, Michel, François Ewald, and Alessandro Fontana. Security, Territory, Population: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1977-1978. Edited by Michel Senellart. Translated by Graham Burchell. 1. Picador ed. Lectures at the Collège de France. New York, NY: Picador, 2009.

Weber, Max, Peter Baehr, and Gordon C. Wells. The Protestant Ethic and the “Spirit” of Capitalism and Other Writings. Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics. New York: Penguin Books, 2002.

Hugh Lafollette, (2014) 'Theorizing About Ethics', in Lafollette (ed), Ethics In Practice: An Anthology 4th Edn, Wiley, 4-10.

David Rodin, (2014) 'The Myth Of National Self-Defence', in Fabre and Lazar (eds), Oxford, Oxford, 69-89

Schmitt, Carl. Political Theology: Four Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty. University of Chicago Press ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.

Skinner, Quentin. "A genealogy of the modern state." Proceedings of the British Academy. Vol. 162. 2009.

Vincent, Andrew. "The Nature Of The State", from Theories of the State. Basil Blackwell, 1987, pp. 1-44.

McSweeney, Bill., 'The Meaning of Security' and 'Identity Versus The State', in Security, Identity And Interests, Cambridge, 1999, pp 13 - 22, 68-78.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

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 What's good? Values and utility
2 What's right? The law and ideals
3 What's reasonable? Context and the exception
4 Security and the good
5 Authority and the law First assessment due
6 Alterity and the enemy
7 Ideas, ideals and ideologies
8 Information, knowledge and choice
9 Individual responsibility
10 National responsibility Second assessment due
11 International responsibility
12 Future systems and the necessities of ethics

Tutorial Registration

Tutorials are not compulsory

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Short Essay 20 % 24/03/2023 10/04/2023 1,2
Research Essay 50 % 14/05/2023 30/05/2023 1,2,4
Practical Recommendation 30 % 09/06/2023 30/06/2023 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 ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

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.


No participation is mandatory, and no participation mark is given.



Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 24/03/2023
Return of Assessment: 10/04/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Short Essay

Due: Week 5

Length: 1,000 - 1,500

Weighting: 20%

You will choose one question from a list distributed in week one. This assessment is focusing on definitions and methodology- how a problem is understood and analyzed - rather than specific events or policies. As such, you should be demonstrating your understanding of how emerging technology can be understood, rather your understanding of a specific problem.

Students may request permission to do a question of their own choosing, however it will be subject to approval. In the case of questions referencing Australia, any other country may be substituted.




Is constructed in a way that enhances the argument made, methodology is thoughtful, clear and followed by the text

Clearly and persuasively makes a novel and insightful argument

Judiciously referenced, uses a wide variety of reputable sources, critically analyses evidence to support wider claims

Lucid, easily readable and well-presented text, clearly worded and articulate, free from obvious typos or formatting errors


Is constructed in a way that makes the argument clear, methodology is suitable and followed by the text

Clearly and persuasively makes an argument

Well referenced, uses a variety of reputable sources, some good analysis of evidence

Well written text presented clearly, few typos or formatting errors


Is constructed in a way that attempts to make the argument clear, methodology is suitable and is largely followed by the text

Attempts to make a clear argument

Adequately referenced, uses a variety of sources, displays some awareness of suitability of sources chosen

Understandable text, basic presentation, a handful of textual or format errors


Is constructed in a way that attempts to make the argument, methodology attempts to be coherent but is not always followed by the text

Attempts to make an appreciable argument

Minimal referencing, few sources chosen beyond course material, little critical engagement with sources

Sometimes confusing textual style, inconsistent formatting, somewhat regular textual or formatting errors


Claims to have a structure but is largely incoherent, methodology consistently ill-applied or absent

Claims to make an argument that is not appreciably attempted, or makes no argument at all

Barely referenced, heavily reliant on a small number of sources, no critical engagement with sources used

Confusing textual style, poor formatting, regular errors in text

Assessment Task 2

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 14/05/2023
Return of Assessment: 30/05/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4

Research Essay

Due: Week 10

Length: 3,000

Weighting: 50%

You will choose a single question of a list distributed in week one, or approved by the convenor. Essays should be clear in their aims; they should have a concise statement of the intent of the piece, have clear and consistent relevance to the question, and make concrete claims as to the importance of the answer to the question addressed. Essays do not have to follow specific methodologies presented earlier in the class, however analytical rigour will be assessed in line with the rubric and students are encouraged to both think deeply on their approach, and to express that approach clearly in the text.

Students may request permission to write on a question of their own design, however permission will be granted on the basis of; 1) the question relating to a concept relevant to the course, and 2) on the basis of the question being clear and concise.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 09/06/2023
Return of Assessment: 30/06/2023
Learning Outcomes: 2,3,4

Practical Recommendation

Due: Exam period

Length: 800 words

Weighting: 30%

Students will be tasked with recommending/arguing for a particular course of action, or to draw attention to a particular issue, discrepancy or problem. This may be something taken from the course material, or an issue found elsewhere. Students will be assessed on the quality of their analysis and their clarity and relevance of their justifications, more so than form or content. The written portion itself does not need to conform to a specific essay or report format, and can instead be framed as a short opinion piece or policy paper if students choose. The goal of this assessment is to give students the opportunity to consolidate analytical methods relevant to ethics in national security.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community 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 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 University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

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.

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 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 James Mortensen

Research Interests

Dr James Mortensen

Monday 10:00 20:00
Tuesday 10:00 17:00
Wednesday 10:00 20:00
Thursday 10:00 17:00
Dr James Mortensen
02 6125 9978

Research Interests

Dr James Mortensen

Monday 10:00 20:00
Tuesday 10:00 17:00
Wednesday 10:00 20:00
Thursday 10:00 17:00

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