Rethinking America: The USA's changing relationship with itself and the world

National Security College | Professional course
Rethinking the US Role in the World


This one day course separates the substance of shifting power relations from the hyperbole of the news cycle. Exmaine the fallout from the recent mid-term elections Hear from Mr Nick Rasmussen, former US Director of National Counter-terrorism and 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.

Course date: 
8.30am–5pm 28 November 2018
National Security College, Level 3, Crawford Building #132 , 1 Lennox Crossing, ANU

One day program The fee for this course is $1,300 (GST ex) for Commonwealth participating agencies and NSC Partners. The open rate is $1,600 (GST ex).

Course overview

The US role in the world appears under threat from 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 a rising China. But how much of this is perception and how much is a genuine strategic shift?

This one day course will examine the economic, geopolitical and societal trends in the US and their intersection with vital Australian interests and national security priorities. The course also considers the characteristics of the alliance relationship between Australia and the US.

Scope and content

The course introduces participants to the US place in the world and the relationship with Australia. Participants will gain an understanding of the issues that face the US, and the pending midterm election results.

Participants at this course will discuss the following issues:

  • 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.

    Who should attend?

This course is designed for officers from all departments and agencies, as well as professionals, analysts, leaders from other organisations, who would benefit from a deeper understanding of the dynamics of change shaping US international policy-making and its alliance relationships, especially with Australia.

Course details

  • One day non-residential, fully-catered course.
  • An ANU parking permit will be supplied.
  • Course time: 8-30am - 5-00pm
    28 November 2018
    Places on this course are limited. To secure your place, or to obtain further information, please contact us at

“Absolutely superb course. Excellent presenters and mentors. I found it fascinating and it will be of great benefit to me in my work. I enjoyed the dive into the US mindset and what it means for Australia’s national security development.”

Course convenor

Mr Brad Fallen

Brad Fallen joined the National Security College as Manager, Executive and Professional Development in March 2018, on secondment from the Department of Home Affairs. Brad’s professional national security experience includes international relations, intelligence, Cabinet and ministerial decision-making, and policy development and delivery.

As Senior Adviser International Cyber Policy in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) from 2014, Brad was part of the small team who delivered Australia’s 2016 Cyber Security Review and Strategy. He then implemented the Strategy for 18 months from the Office of the Cyber Security Special Adviser.

Brad led PM&C’s National Security Committee Secretariat between 2011 and 2014, supporting Prime Ministers Gillard, Rudd and Abbott, and before this the Department of Defence’s Cabinet and Freedom of Information teams from 2008 to 11. He was Defence Adviser to the Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence, the Hon Bruce Scott MP, in 2000-01.

Brad studied South Pacific history at the University of Queensland before joining the Department of Defence’s Graduate program in 1988. Brad’s career in Defence focused on Australia’s regional relationships, and included three years as First Secretary (Defence) at the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby, and two years seconded to the New Zealand Government in Wellington.

Course presenter(s)

Dr. Jennifer S. Hunt

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

Mr Nicholas “Nick” Rasmussen

Nicholas “Nick” Rasmussen currently serves as Senior Director for Counterterrorism Programs at the McCain Institute for International Leadership in Washington, D.C. and as Distinguished Professor of Practice at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University (ASU). Rasmussen joined the McCain Institute and ASU on May 21, 2018 after having stepped down as Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) on December 23, 2017. He is also currently serving as an intelligence and national security analyst/contributor with NBC news and MSNBC. Rasmussen is a senior national security professional with over twenty-seven years in U.S. government service, including in senior counterterrorism posts at the White House and in the U.S. Intelligence Community from 2001 to 2017. With a unique blend of experience as a senior policy executive and intelligence official, Rasmussen capped his federal government career as Director of NCTC, where he led more than 1,000 professionals from across the Intelligence Community, federal government, and federal contractor workforce. Rasmussen served in senior posts across three White House administrations, serving on the National Security Council (NSC) staff under Presidents Bush and Obama before being appointed Director of NCTC by President Obama and continuing his tenure at the request of President Trump’s administration in 2017. Rasmussen was one of only a handful of presidentially appointed officials held over from the Obama Administration to serve in the Trump Administration. In 2014, Rasmussen was nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as the fifth Director of NCTC. NCTC was created by Congress in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks to serve as the primary organization in the U.S. government for analysis and integration of all terrorism intelligence. As Director of NCTC, Rasmussen provided independent assessments on counterterrorism issues to the President and National Security Council, led and integrated the counterterrorism community on behalf of the Director of National Intelligence, and conducted strategic operational planning of U.S. counterterrorism activities in support of the President. He regularly testified before committees of the United States Congress in both open and closed session.
During his tenure, Rasmussen prioritized deepening the Center’s intelligence analysis to support the U.S. government’s campaign against ISIS and expanding NCTC’s reach with federal, state, and local partners as well as the private sector and foreign allies. Prior to becoming Director, Rasmussen served as NCTC’s Deputy Director from 2012 to 2014. Rasmussen joined the counterterrorism community six days after the 9/11 attacks, serving as the Director of Regional Affairs in the Office of Combating Terrorism on President George W. Bush’s NSC staff from 2001 to 2004. Rasmussen rejoined the Bush Administration NSC in 2007 and continued his NSC service into President Obama’s administration to serve as the Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Counterterrorism. In this role, Rasmussen was charged with leading the development of U.S. counterterrorism policy and strategy, including supporting policy deliberations leading up to the U.S. military raid against Usama bin Laden.
During his nearly eight years of service across two administrations at the White House and his nearly six years as both the Deputy Director and Director of NCTC, Rasmussen was a key participant in national security decision making on a wide range of issues, to include policy on Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Middle East, North and East Africa, Southeast Asia, as well as on issues impacting our Homeland Security capabilities. Rasmussen began his career at the Department of State in 1991 as a Presidential Management Intern and served at State for more than a decade in a variety of key positions. As Special Assistant to the State Department’s Middle East Coordinator, Ambassador Dennis Ross, from 1996-2001, Rasmussen was intimately involved in the Department’s work on the Arab-Israeli peace process. Prior to that, he served as Special Assistant to Ambassador-at-Large Robert Gallucci supporting the negotiation and implementation of the U.S.-North Korea Agreed Framework. A recipient of a bachelor’s degree with High Honors from Wesleyan University and a Master’s degree in Public and International Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, Rasmussen is also the recipient of the highest honors the U.S. Government awards to intelligence professionals and career civil servants, including the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal in 2017, the Director of National Intelligence’s Distinguished Service Award and the Distinguished Presidential Rank Award in 2016. In 2017, he was presented with a Distinguished Alumni Award by Wesleyan University during commencement weekend. Rasmussen has regularly provided expert analysis on terrorism and national security issues for major media outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time Magazine, CNN, Fox News, PBS and National Public Radio. He previously served as a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and as an adjunct faculty member at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, where he taught a course on U.S. counterterrorism policy. He and his wife Maria reside in Alexandria, Virginia.

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