• Class Number 4675
  • Term Code 3350
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 3 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof Rory Medcalf
    • Ben Scott
    • Peter Ford
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 04/09/2023
  • Class End Date 06/10/2023
  • Census Date 15/09/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 06/09/2023
SELT Survey Results

Knowledge is integral to security, but the value of intelligence – access to scarce and protected information – is under challenge. In an era of disruption, complexity and information saturation, the changing role of intelligence is a central concern for national security policy-makers and analysts. This course provides students with sufficient foundational awareness of intelligence issues (such as secrecy, the collection-assessment and domestic-foreign distinctions, the relative value of human and signals intelligence, and the policy-intelligence nexus) to enable them to critically evaluate the utility of 21st century espionage and thus anticipate its evolution. The course will focus heavily on future-oriented intelligence issues, notably the rise of open source intelligence and big data analytics, the ubiquity of cyber, the collapsing distinction between domestic and foreign intelligence, growing public transparency expectations, and the challenge to 20th century intelligence-sharing alignments, especially the Five Eyes. In line with the NSC signature pedagogy, and drawing on the NSC’s network of senior former intelligence officials, practitioner perspectives will be integrated throughout possible, with the academic convener connecting their insights to the growing scholarly literature on 21st century spying. 

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the factors changing the character of intelligence in national security affairs
  2. Assess contemporary and historical cases to explain the role and limitations of intelligence
  3. Critically analyse and contribute to policy debates on intelligence issues
  4. Develop and communicate ideas, analysis, and argument related to 21st century intelligence issues in a range of forms for professional and scholarly audiences.

Research-Led Teaching


Field Trips


Additional Course Costs


Required Resources


Whether you are on campus or studying online, there are a variety of online platforms you will use to participate in your study program. These could include videos for lectures and other instruction, two-way video conferencing for interactive learning, email and other messaging tools for communication, interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities, print and/or photo/scan for handwritten work and drawings, and home-based assessment.

ANU outlines recommended student system requirements to ensure you are able to participate fully in your learning. Other information is also available about the various Learning Platforms you may use.

There is no one set text. All book extracts and material will be provided on Wattle.

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). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

Other Information


The Crawford School of Public Policy has its own Academic Skills team dedicated to helping students to understand the academic expectations of studying at Crawford and succeed in their chosen program of study. Through individual appointments, course-embedded workshops and online resources, Crawford Academic Skills provides tailored advice to students keen to develop their academic reading, thinking, planning, writing, and presentation skills. 

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introductions, overview, history, guest speaker
This session will outline the competing definitions of intelligence, from traditional to contemporary.Students will unpack the evolution of intelligence in Australia, the methods of intelligence collection and analysis that will be studied in the course, and collection vs analysis dynamics.We will unpack the Intelligence-policy nexus, and the ethics of intelligence collection and social licence of intelligence agencies.This session will include a guest speaker.
2 Open source, data and technology This session will focus on the rise of open-source intelligence. Highlighting the impact of new technologies, the challenges of maintaining secrets, and the overwhelming volume of information.
3 The future of intelligence collection This session will focus on intelligence disciplines and the key challenges they face.
  • Does HUMINT have a future?
  • Can GEOINT be replaced by commercial providers? 
  • Will the democratisation of SIGINT impact national agencies?
  • Is MASINT expanding?
  • Can AI replace all source assessment?
4 The future of intelligence partnerships; Five Eyes and beyond This session will focus intelligence diplomacy and partnerships.It will explore the growing role of the private sector in intelligence, growth beyond the Five Eyes
5 Remaking Australian intelligence This session will focus on attempts to reform the intelligence community. We will discuss the current state of Australia's National Intelligence Community, and current reform initiatives, We will also focus on the role of oversight and the changing pressures to oversight. This session will include a guest speaker.This session will include summary remarks and discussion of assessments tasks.
6 Contemporary intelligence case studies This session will use publicly available intelligence material to explore how intelligence assessments are written.

Tutorial Registration

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.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Short introductory quiz 10 % 10/09/2023 18/09/2023 1, 2, 4
Analytical essay 50 % 28/09/2023 13/10/2023 1, 2,3, 4
Report on designing the future intelligence capability 40 % 19/10/2023 19/11/2023 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 Integrity 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 Skills 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.





Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 10/09/2023
Return of Assessment: 18/09/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 4

Short introductory quiz

This is a short introductory test, to ensure students are developing a clear sense of the course content ahead of their preparation for the major assessment items. It consists of three general questions about the future of intelligence. Each question will involve a written answer of no more than 150 words. The questions are as follows:

(3x150 words)

  1. Choose a form of intelligence collection (eg OSINT, SIGINT, HUMINT, MASINT or GEOINT) and indicate what types of insights it can provide and what some of its limitations are.
  2. Choose a factor that is changing the nature of intelligence and describe its impact on intelligence.
  3. Describe one of the key intelligence priorities for Australian agencies and why it is important.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 28/09/2023
Return of Assessment: 13/10/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2,3, 4

Analytical essay

Write a short analytical essay focusing on factors identified in the course (such as new technologies, public expectations etc.) that are a particular risk to Australia's national security. Please address the following question:

Question: Using your knowledge of security threats facing Australia, identify one or more specific risks. Explain how Australia’s ability to address this risk(s) may be affected by changes to the intelligence landscape. You may choose to refer to one change or a variety of changes. For instance, you may wish to refer to changes in any combination of: intelligence collection, assessment, technologies, organisational arrangements, legislation, international intelligence cooperation, or the wider political, policy, social and strategic context in which intelligence operates. 

This will be an exercise in analysis and structured argument, supported by a reasonable amount of evidence. Evidence of research and wide reading is to be encouraged, but we are not expecting a fully-fledged research essay. Word limit 2000 words.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 19/10/2023
Return of Assessment: 19/11/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4

Report on designing the future intelligence capability

You are required to write a brief report (word limit 1000 words) setting out your considered views on the balance of capabilities and corresponding allocation of resources in a future Australian intelligence community. Be sure to outline not only how you would redesign the Australian intelligence community, but why. And be mindful of resource constraints: simply acquiring more of every kind of capability is not a realistic answer.

You have considerable flexibility in how you go about writing this report. It could be structured as an essay or more as a policy-style or narrative document.

You should draw where possible on the readings and other resources from the course, and demonstrate insights you have gained from the course.

Also, you are welcome to frame your answer around NOT making major changes to the existing Australian intelligence community, but in that case you will need to present clear arguments as to why it the best option for the future.

In grading this paper, consideration will be given to similar factors identified in assessment item 2, notably clarity and conciseness of expression, and demonstrated understanding of and engagement with the subject matter.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

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 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

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

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 Rory Medcalf

Research Interests

Australian security, defence and foreign policy, foreign interference, Indo-Pacific strategy, China, India, China-India relations, maritime security, nuclear issues.

Prof Rory Medcalf

By Appointment
Ben Scott

Research Interests

Australian security, defence and foreign policy, foreign interference, Indo-Pacific strategy, China, India, China-India relations, maritime security, nuclear issues.

Ben Scott

By Appointment
Peter Ford
02 61256484

Research Interests

Peter Ford

By Appointment

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