Dr Timothy Naylor, a veterinarian and scientist, is pursuing his lifelong passion for politics and history, and developing his policy analysis skills, with a Master of National Security Policy.
“I chose science because there is always a definite answer: you’re either correct or you’re not,” Tim says. “But the world is not that simple. So I decided to broaden my skills base, and this degree offered the right mix of strategic studies, political history and policy analysis.”
Even before he took the plunge, Tim was no ordinary veterinarian. Becoming accredited to inspect livestock being shipped to markets around the world, he became a shipboard vet. On his first voyage, Tim sailed for seven weeks overseeing the health of 2000 cattle through storms, heat waves and pirate-infested waters. “When we arrived at our destination, the Russians refused me entry,” Tim laughs.
Over three years, Tim completed 19 such voyages, principally to the Middle East, at one point having to sail under armed escort when the crew believed they were going to be attacked. “You get an appreciation of what impact piracy has on the world’s trading networks and the upward pressure it puts on the shipping costs,” he says.
Biosecurity was also important for many importing countries. “Depending on the animals, where they were going, and for what purpose, they would have to undergo various tests, treatments and inspections before boarding the boat,” says Tim.
Moving to the Department of Agriculture in Canberra, in various positions he has been involved in regulating the operations of the very exporters for whom he worked, the governing policy framework, international liaison and domestic biosecurity.
“Many countries see Australia as a strategic, safe, affordable and reliable food resource,” Tim points out. “Maintaining and expanding these export markets is in our national interest. Our biosecurity status gives us a competitive edge and that’s why we protect it.
“A major disease outbreak in Australia (e.g. foot and mouth disease, sheep pox,) could not only lead to the deaths of thousands of animals, it would potentially close many export markets, costing billions of dollars.”
Tim completed the ‘Selected Topic in National Security Policy’ course, which allowed him to do an in-depth research project on the use of biological weapons against animals, including an economic analysis of the potential implications for Australia’s national security. He was asked to present his research to his department and has since had interest from other security-related agencies.
“I have really enjoyed the quality of the lecturing from top experts in their field including the guest presenters,” Tim says.
“Another reason for doing this degree was to broaden the opportunities for jobs within my own and other agencies. It’s given me a far broader understanding of the way states behave and the way they negotiate. It’s the ability to critically analyse policy that they don’t teach you at vet school.”
Find out more about studying a Master of National Security Policy at ANU.
Register to attend the ANU Postgraduate Information Evening on 24 May.