Prime Minister Julia Gillard recently released the first Australian National Security Strategy.
Here are three valuable academic papers, published last year, about conceptualising security threats to Australia and devising a national security strategy. All three are open access and in PDF format.
Conceptualising future threats to Australia’s security
Much of the recent Australian security studies literature has focused on contemporary challenges to Australia’s role in Asia, the evolving trajectory of defence strategy, and the various factors that have shaped the nation’s ‘discourse of threats’. While this body of work is important and valuable, there is a distinct lack of scholarship that discusses the types of future security threats likely to confront Australian policy makers in the twenty-first century. Indeed, there is a tendency among scholars to assume that this sort of ‘futures’ work is best left to those outside the academy. I argue, however, that it is an area which is too important to leave to the authors of defence white papers, think tank reports, and classified strategic assessments. Australia’s future security environment in a complex international system has not been subject to the sort of systematic scholarly analysis that the topic merits. This paper seeks to provide a stepping stone for more substantial work in the area, and outlines a conceptual framework that can aid us in understanding the factors likely to impact on Australia’s security environment in the early part of the twenty-first century.
There is a growing global interest in formulating national security strategies but their form, nature and usefulness depends greatly on the conceptual approach policymakers choose to base them on. The three different national security approaches of grand strategy, opportunism and risk management have different purposes, parameters and implications. The first major issue to be considered when devising an Australian National Security Strategy is which organising construct to adopt.
Australia’s national security priorities: addressing strategic risk in a globalised world
Alan Dupont and William J. Reckmeyer.
This article reviews the seminal influences on Australian national security planning and outlines a methodology for assessing national security risk which provides a workable analytical framework for prioritising Australia’s national security challenges and allocating scarce resources in a systematic and integrated way. The authors argue for a System of Systems approach that addresses the most serious security challenges as a whole rather than treating them as independent, compartmentalised issues. The ability to develop effective analytical tools for assessing national security risk will be a key determinant of strategic success in the twenty-first century. Nations adept at anticipating developments, discerning trends and evaluating risk among the clutter of confusing and contradictory change indicators will be significantly advantaged over those which are not.