Changing America

National Security College | Professional course
Changing America


The US role in the world is changing in response to internal disruption and external pressures.

Course date: 
9am–5pm 15 October 2019
Canberry Springbank Room - Level 1 - 132 Crawford Building, 1 Lennox Crossing, ANU

A fee of $1,300 (GST ex) applies to this course for Commonwealth participating agencies and NSC Partners. The open rate is $1,600 (GST ex).

Course overview

Join experts for a deep dive into the relationship between the US national security community and the political administration, including the national security implications of the change in the balance of power in the US Congress.

The US role in the world is changing in response to internal disruption and external pressures. The region of the Indo-Pacific has been a particular area of focus as pundits have interpreted any shift in US posture or language as a response to China. But how much of this is perception and how much is a genuine strategic shift?

Discussion points will include: - President Trump’s approach to national security and the implications for Australia’s national security and the wider region - The changing contours of US governance and society that are shifting policy priorities - Elements of continuity and change in US ‘grand strategy’ - The role of the US in underpinning the global economy - American approaches in alliance management in the Indo-Pacific, including burden-sharing - The impact of US domestic political and resource constraints - The role of the US in the Indo-Pacific, particularly its relations with China and its alliance partners.

Course convenor

Mr Jon Brewer, Director Professional Studies

Jon Brewer is Director of Professional Studies at the National Security College, ANU. He is a seasoned national security professional with extensive experience within the national security community, including the Australian Defence Force.

Jon has led teams to contribute to operational and policy responses on a range of issues, including counter terrorism, foreign interference and cyber security. He has also been instrumental in building multi-agency capability in the pursuit of national security goals. He has considerable experience in facilitating an environment that promotes the sharing and use of expertise within national security contexts, and has done so with Australian and international partners.

Jon holds an Executive Master of Public Administration (ANU) and a Bachelor of Science (UNSW). Jon is a Graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and has experience as a non-executive Director within the not-for-profit sector.

Course presenter(s)

Dr. Jennifer S. Hunt , Lecturer National Security College

Dr. Jennifer S. Hunt is a lecturer in the National Security College and a research associate at the US Studies Centre. Publishing on comparative national security policy in the US, Australia, and the Arab Gulf, her research portfolio examines the intersection between defense, energy, and economic security issues. Dr. Hunt holds a PhD and Master’s Degree in International Security from the University of Sydney. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (USA) where she was captain of the Women’s Sabre Fencing team. From 2011-2012, she was a visiting researcher at Sultan Qaboos University in Muscat, Oman. As part of her research and consulting practice, Dr. Hunt also attended the World Economic Forum in Abu Dhabi, and studied Arabic at the Qasid Institute in Jordan. Prior to joining the NSC, Dr. Hunt was based at the University of Sydney US Studies Centre, the Centre for International Security Studies, and Sydney Business School. She has been student-nominated for teaching awards across security studies, business and politics departments. Along with her academic areas of specialisation, Dr. Hunt also publishes on applied research methods. Together with Dr. Zina O’Leary, Workplace Research: Conducting small scale applied research, was published by Sage in 2016. Research interests • International Security • Energy Security • US politics • Gulf political economy • Research methods

Professor Rory Medcalf, Head of College

Professor Rory Medcalf has been Head of the National Security College at the Australian National University since January 2015. He has led the expansion of the College into policy engagement as well as education, executive development and research. His professional background involves more than two decades of experience across diplomacy, intelligence analysis, think tanks and journalism, including a formative role as Director of the International Security Program at the Lowy Institute.

In government, Professor Medcalf worked as a senior strategic analyst with the Office of National Assessments, Canberra’s peak intelligence analysis agency. He was also an Australian diplomat, with wide experience including a posting to New Delhi, a secondment to the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, truce monitoring after the civil conflict in Bougainville and policy development on Asian security institutions. He has contributed to three landmark reports on nuclear arms control: the 1996 Canberra Commission, 1999 Tokyo Forum and 2009 International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament. His earlier work in journalism was commended in Australia’s leading media awards, the Walkleys.

Professor Medcalf has been prominent in developing Australia’s relations with India. He has been Associate Director of the Australia-India Institute and Senior Research Fellow in Indian Strategic Affairs at the University of New South Wales. He is the founding convener and co-chair of the Australia-India Policy Forum, an influential informal dialogue between the two countries. He has been recognised as a thought leader internationally for his work on the Indo-Pacific concept of the Asian maritime strategic environment.

Professor Medcalf was a member of the expert panel providing independent advice on the Australian Government’s 2016 Defence White Paper. His research areas include Australia’s security challenges, the further development of an Indo-Pacific concept of the Asian strategic environment, China-India relations, and prospects for maritime and nuclear stability in Indo-Pacific Asia, on which he has led projects funded by the MacArthur Foundation. He is currently chief investigator in a major two-year research project funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, examining the risks to nuclear stability from new submarine-detection technologies.

Professor Medcalf is a member of the editorial boards of Asia Policy and the Australian Journal of International Affairs. He is a Non-resident Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy with the Brookings Institution in Washington DC and retains affiliations as a Non-resident Fellow with the Lowy Institute for International Policy and the Seapower Centre of the Royal Australian Navy.

Professor Medcalf also teaches the NSC’s National Security in the Indo-Pacific and National Security Policymaking courses. Visit his researcher profile.

Ms Katherine Mansted, Senior Adviser for Public Policy

Katherine Mansted is the Senior Adviser for Public Policy at the National Security College, and works across the public policy engagement and executive education functions of the College.

She is also a non-resident fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science & International Affairs, lectures in cyber-security and international relations at Bond University, and co-hosts the National Security Podcast on

Katherine’s professional background includes work in both law and government. She has practiced as a commercial solicitor with Chinese-Australian law firm King & Wood Mallesons, served a judge’s associate in the High Court of Australia, and worked as a ministerial adviser in the Australian Government.

Katherine’s research focus is the impact of cyber technologies on democracy, national security and international relations, and she regularly writes and presents on cyber-enabled foreign interference, network defence and information warfare.

Katherine holds a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, where she studied as a General Sir John Monash Scholar. She also holds Bachelors of Laws / International Relations (Business) from Bond University, where she studied as a Vice-Chancellor’s Scholar and graduated with the University Medal in Law.

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