• Offered by Strategic and Defence Studies Centre
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject Strategic Studies
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

Indicative Assessment

  1. Short assignment: ministerial brief (20) [LO 1,3,5]
  2. Long Essay (40) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  3. Exam (40) [LO 1,2,4,5]

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120 hours total over semester

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Prescribed Texts

Thomson, Mark. "The Cost of Defence: ASPI Defence Budget Brief 2017-2018", Australian Strategic Policy Institute, May 2017.


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
2023 $4320
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2023 $6180
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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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.

Winter Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
6341 01 Jul 2025 18 Jul 2025 18 Jul 2025 30 Sep 2025 In Person N/A

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