Climate Change: Implications for the National Security Agenda

National Security College | Professional course


Climate change, extreme weather events and environmental degradation all have clear implications for national security. They are altering the dimensions of national security central to a stable state, in particular human security, environmental security, maritime security and critical infrastructure.

Course date: 
14–15 August 2018
#132 Crawford Building, #132 Crawford Building, 1 Lennox Crossing, ANU

A fee of $2,250 (GST ex) applies to this course for Commonwealth participating agencies and NSC Partners. The open rate is $2,700 (GST ex).

Course overview

Climate change, extreme weather events and environmental degradation all have clear implications for national security. They are altering the dimensions of national security central to a stable state, in particular human security, environmental security, maritime security and critical infrastructure. They are also adding a new dimension to traditional geopolitical concerns. These developments all contribute to a range of risks and challenges around how the public, community and private sectors think, plan and respond - both now and into the future.

Drawing on expertise from the Climate Change Institute (CCI) and the National Security College (NSC), this interdisciplinary and interactive two-day forum will enable participants to:

  • consider the science of climate change
  • understand the correlation, prevalence, patterns and impact of extreme weather events and environmental degradation
  • gain insight into how climate change intersects with Australia’s national security
  • examine the implications for the national security agenda now and into the future
  • engage with presenters and other participants to explore the risks and challenges from a range of perspectives including international and strategic policy development, Defence (preparedness, capability, interoperability and sustainment), and crisis and emergency response.

Scope and Content

Day one enables participant’s to consider the science of climate change and impact. Day Two provides participants with interactive opportunities to examine how climate change intersects with the national security agenda, now and into the future.

Who should attend?

This course is for public, private and community personnel at all levels involved in or requiring an understanding of the intersection between climate change, extreme weather events and environmental degradation, and national security.

Course details

• Two-day non-residential, fully catered program. • An ANU parking permit provided. • Course Timings 8:30am - 5:00pm.


Please contact us at for further information and to obtain the registration form.

Course convenor

Ms Sandra Bourke

Sandra Bourke joined the National Security College in February 2018, on secondment from the Home Affairs portfolio, as a Manager in the Executive and Professional Development team. Her career focus has been on intelligence, criminology and defence, in particular delivering and managing technology as an enabling capability for national security.

Sandra’s career commenced in 1990 as a serving AFP Detective before moving into intelligence management positions at the former National Crime Authority and at the NSW Police. Between 1996 and 1998, Sandra also taught theoretical criminology part time at the University of Western Sydney (undergraduate).

In 2004, Sandra helped establish and manage the first NSW Police Project Management (PM) Office. A highlight project was the establishment of the State Crime Command. This role led to broader PM experience in the private sector with a focus on technology. This included operational management at the Centre for Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism at Macquarie University (under Access MQ). Sandra is accredited as a Portfolio, Programme and Projects Office (P3O) Manager and as an Agile Scrum Master.

In 2011, Sandra took up the position of Director, Air Force Improvement at Headquarters Air Command. In this position, Sandra and her team worked to improve national capability management across the RAAF Force Element Groups. In 2015, after completing the Defence Career Development Assessment Centre, Sandra transferred to Canberra under the Executive Development program. She recently returned to the criminal justice sector, focusing on ICT capabilities for national security. Sandra’s academic qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts (Education and Government) from the University of Sydney and a Masters of Social Science (Criminology) from Charles Sturt University.

Course presenter(s)

Professor Mark Howden

Professor Mark Howden is the Director of the Climate Change Institute at the Australian National University. He is also an Honorary Professor at Melbourne University, School of Land and Food. Mark’s work has focussed on how climate impacts on, and innovative adaptation options for, systems we value: agriculture and food security, the natural resource base, ecosystems and biodiversity, energy, water and urban systems. He has also developed the national (NGGI) and international (IPCC/OECD) greenhouse gas inventories for the agricultural sector and assessed sustainable methods of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture.

Mark has worked on climate variability, climate change, innovation and adoption issues for over 27 years in partnership with farmers, farmer groups, catchment groups, industry bodies, agribusiness, urban utilities and various policy agencies via both research and science-policy roles. Mark has over 390 publications of different types. He has been a major contributor to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth Assessment reports and various IPCC Special Reports, sharing the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with other IPCC participants and Al Gore. Recently Mark sat on the US Federal Advisory Committee for the 3rd National Climate Assessment and he participates in several other international science and policy advisory bodies.

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Updated:  21 June 2017/Responsible Officer:  Head of College, National Security College/Page Contact:  Web administrator