National security and foreign interference

Crawford School of Public Policy | National Security College
National security and foreign interference

Event details


Date & time

Tuesday 12 September 2017


Room 2, Level 2, Hilton Sydney, 488 George St, Sydney, NSW


Professor Rory Medcalf, and Associate Professor Matthew Sussex, National Security College, ANU.


Chris Farnham

The rapid pace of technological change is allowing states and non-state actors to perform information operations, launch propaganda campaigns and conduct cyber attacks more efficiently and effectively than ever before. The political turmoil in the United States concerning allegations of Russian interference in the election of Donald Trump is an example of what other Western nations can expect in future.

Indeed, there are already signs of foreign interference in Australia’s political process, in our critical infrastructure and our information systems. In this public seminar, Professors Rory Medcalf and Matthew Sussex will focus on the strategies of China and Russia respectively, exploring how the sophisticated toolkits developed by these countries have helped them to spread their influence abroad.

The seminar will be followed by a light lunch and hypothetical scenario exercise.


Information war: foreign power launches ‘attack’ on Australia

Time: 2–2:45pm

Register: Participation in this workshop requires registration as numbers are limited. Please RSVP to to secure a place.

Responding to the threats and challenges of foreign interference is the responsibility of Australia’s national security practitioners.

Are you up to that challenge? Join two of Australia’s leading national security experts to experience the world of the security policy planner. Using a hypothetical scenario derived from known plausible and actual threats, this exercise puts participants in the heart of the dilemmas of risk assessment and decision-making for national security officials. Playing the roles of advisers and responders, participants in this simulation will be guided by Professors Medcalf and Sussex as they work in small groups to develop arguments, strategies and tactics to respond to the security ‘crisis’.

Are you interested in a career in national security? During this event we will also introduce you to the National Security College at the Australian National University – Australia’s premier training ground for the next generation of security policy professionals. Our staff will be on hand to provide tailored advice on our range of executive and professional development courses as well as our flagship academic offering, the Master of National Security Policy.

Professor Rory Medcalf has been Head of the National Security College (NSC) at ANU since January 2015. He has almost three decades of experience across diplomacy, intelligence analysis, think tanks and journalism. He was the Director of the International Security Program at the Lowy Institute from 2007 to 2015. Prior to that, Professor Medcalf was a senior strategic analyst with the Office of National Assessments. His experience as an Australian diplomat included 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. His earlier work in journalism was commended in Australia’s leading media awards, the Walkleys. He was on the expert panel providing advice on the recently released 2016 Defence White Paper. Professor Medcalf has played a significant role in relations with India, and is founder and co-chair of the Australia India Policy Forum, an informal bilateral dialogue.

Associate Professor Matthew Sussex is the Academic Director at the National Security College. His main research specialisation is on Russian foreign and security policy, but his interests also cover government and politics in Eurasia, strategic studies, terrorism and counter terrorism, energy security and Australian foreign policy. He is particularly interested in contemporary trends in violent conflict, especially in ‘hybrid’ warfare and in the evolution of propaganda. Prior to joining NSC, Associate Professor Sussex was Director of Politics and International Relations at the University of Tasmania.

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