• 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 Michael Cohen
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2024
    See Future Offerings

This course is available for on-campus & remote (online) learning. All students participate in interactive, real-time classes.

Australia faces twenty-first century national security challenges that combine many of the trade-offs that Canberra has long grappled with with a new spate of risks and threats. Australia’s strategic environment therefore raises a host of new challenges for national security policy-makers. This course provides a whole-of-government focus to address these national security challenges, and offers theoretical grounding with deep policy-maker engagement to enable students to establish theoretically grounded and empirically supported policy proscriptions and prescriptions. The first half of the course focusses on more traditional issues including the balance of power in the Indo-Pacific, the U.S.-Australia alliance and other partnerships and agreements, conventional defence and deterrence and nuclear weapons, deterrence and related threats. The second half of the course focusses on newer threats and how they mesh with older challenges. It includes geoeconomics, critical technologies, cyber and contemporary challenges in Australia’s maritime inner arc and the Pacific. These foci of Australia’s current strategic environment will be taught by an integration of scholarly and contemporary policy-maker perspectives. The course also involves a whole of class interactive and dynamic wargame that models pressing challenges, risks, threats and opportunities in Australia’s strategic environment to further illustrate the myriad of national security challenges that characterise Australia’s strategic environment.

Learning Outcomes

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

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

Indicative Assessment

  1. Short-form analysis (1,000 words) (25) [LO 1,2,4]
  2. Analytical essay (3,000 words) (40) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  3. Scenario lessons learned (1,000 words) (35) [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.


The standard workload for a 6 unit course is 130 hours including class time and independent study.

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.

 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
2024 $4440
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $6360
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
9009 22 Jul 2024 29 Jul 2024 31 Aug 2024 25 Oct 2024 In Person View
9010 22 Jul 2024 29 Jul 2024 31 Aug 2024 25 Oct 2024 Online View

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