2009 News

CISS Director visits key stakeholders in the US

Council Foreign Relations

On 21 October CISS Director, Professor Dupont, spoke on the strategic implications of climate change at the influential Council on Foreign Relations during his visit to New York on 21 October. The select audience included representatives from business, government, academe and the US national security community.

On 26 October, Professor Dupont visited the Centre for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) at Stanford University in California for discussions on national security planning with Professor Bill Reckmeyer and Dr. Stephen Stedman. Professor Reckmeyer is a former chief systems scientist for the US Department of Defence and Dr. Stedman is a former assistant secretary general and special adviser to the Secretary General of the United Nations.

Professor Dupont and Professor Reckmeyer will work together in early 2010 on a joint study that will develop an efficacious set of metrics for assessing strategic risk in an era of multiple security challenges.

CISS Lecturer, Sarah Phillips conducts fieldwork in Pakistan

In August Sarah Phillips conducted field research in Pakistan for three weeks, where she collected material for her ongoing research on the relationship between tribes, militant jihadis and the state in fragile countries. This, combined with firsthand observations of the obstacles to international aid delivery in these environments, will provide her Master’s unit “Fragile States and State-Building” with useful insights from the field for students interested in pursuing a career overseas. During her time in Pakistan, Sarah also presented a guest lecture on “Tribes and Militants in the Arab World” at the Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) in Islamabad.

CISS congratulates our first graduate in the Master of International Security

Jennifer Hunt and Dr Leanne Piggott

Congratulations to Jennifer Hunt who became the first graduate of the Master of International Security (MIntSec) at a ceremony on Friday 9th October. The ceremony was also attended by Program Director, Dr Leanne Piggott (pictured here with Jennifer Hunt).

Jennifer is an international student from the United States of America, attracted to the MIntSec by the mix of both traditional and non-traditional security topics on offer. She says she enjoyed working so closely with world-class academics and appreciated the small-class setting that encouraged lively debate. While completing her degree she also worked as a research assistant and tutor, which she viewed as apart of her professional training.

Hooked on international security, Jennifer is now enrolled in a postgraduate research degree with CISS. In July this year, Jen had the opportunity to give a paper at conference held at The University of Sydney. Her paper, entitled ‘Great Expectations: Prospect Theory and Oil Price Volatility,’ has been accepted for publication in an edited book, The Economics of Peace and War, which is due for publication in 2010.

Without doubt, Jennifer views the MIntSec playing a direct role in her future career as an academic and government consultant. Congratulations Jennifer!

Inaugural Executive Education course a success

Bill Patterson

CISS successfully ran the first ever executive education course in Australia on national security (at the ‘Q’ Station, Manly) for middle level officers of the Public Service, military and police from 28 Sept to 2 October. The departments/agencies represented included Prime Minister and Cabinet, Defence, Foreign Affairs and Trade, Attorney Generals, AusAID, the Australian Federal Police and the NSW Police.

The success of the week demonstrated that there is a boutique market for this kind of course in government if run professionally and tailored towards the real needs of the national security community. Our student evaluations were very positive and virtually all remarked on the quality and breadth of the presenters, who included former Defence Minister the Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon MP, former Deputy Premier of NSW the Hon. John Watkins, former Prime Ministerial Chief of Staff Arthur Sinodinos AO, and the current Deputy National Security Advisor Angus Campbell and Ambassador for Counter Terrorism, Mr William Paterson PSM (pictured right).

This course was the culmination of almost two year’s investment of the Centre’s time and money from inception through to concept development, market testing, refinement, sales and implementation. A review will now be undertaken to assess the viability of running the course again in 2010. Anyone interested in participating can email for more information.

CISS Academic secures International Project Development Fund Grant

Congratulations to Dr Leanne Piggott who was successful in receiving a University International Project Development Fund (IDPF) grant in the 2010 Round.

Dr Piggott’s Project is entitled: Energy Security: Challenges and Opportunities in Europe and the Asia-Pacific Regionand will be conducted with The European Institute of the University of Geneva, Switzerland

IDPF Grants provide funding to support initiatives in internationalisation. Applicants are encouraged to submit funding applications for innovative and sustainable programs built around collaborative research and/or learning and teaching initiatives linking the University with the world’s leading academic institutions. Grants of up to $20,000 may be awarded. Further information about the fund can be found at http://www.usyd.edu.au/international/ipdf.shtml

Biosecurity Grants

The University of Sydney Biosecurity Program (USBP), managed by CISS, recently awarded internal grants to support two research projects:

1. Securitisation and Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis: Global and Australian Perspectives

Investigators: Dr James Gillespie (Principal), School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine; and Mr Joel Negin, School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine.
Amount: $46,990

The aims of this project are: to analyse the different tuberculosis (TB) response strategies contemplated by Australia, the principal regional power and major aid donor; to interrogate the use of the concept of ‘securitisation’ to explain and provide remedies for emerging crises around new and emerging diseases; and to assess international debates around new forms of regulatory intervention within the framework of the International Health Regulations and policy responses to the TB epidemic.

2. Assessment of the Health Risks of a West Nile Virus Outbreak in Australia and the Optimal Surveillance for Mitigating these Risks

Investigators: Dr Marta Hernandez-Jover (Principal), Department of Farm Animal and Veterinary Public Health, Faculty of Veterinary Science; Professor Michael Ward, Department of Farm Animal and Veterinary Public Health, Faculty of Veterinary Science; and Professor Tom Kompas, Australian Centre for Biosecurity and Environmental Economics, Australian National University.
Amount: $39,750

The aims of this project are: to conduct a semi-quantitative risk assessment of the introduction and establishment of West Nile virus (WNV) in Australia; to estimate the possible size and duration of the resulting outbreak; and to determine the most cost-effective surveillance system for preventing a WNV outbreak by early detection of an incursion.

Congratulations to Dr Gillespie, Dr Hernandez-Jover,and their colleagues.

The USBP intends to issue another Call for Biosecurity Project Proposals early next year.

The National Centre for Biosecurity 3rd annual Biosecurity Symposium

The National Centre for Biosecurity (NCB), a collaboration of the Australian National University (ANU) and the University of Sydney, is pleased to issue a Call for Abstracts for its 3rd annual Biosecurity Symposium. This event, focusing on the theme ‘Global Health Security’, is to be hosted by ANU in Canberra on 1-2 February 2010.

The organisers are particularly interested in presentations addressing one or more of the following areas:

  • Responding to infectious disease crises in Australia and the Asia-Pacific
  • The epidemiology of public health and animal health emergencies
  • The development and use of biological weapons by state and non-state actors
  • Ethical dilemmas and security risks of research on pathogenic micro-organisms
  • International law and domestic regulation
  • Relevance and applications of new technologies to biosecurity challenges
  • Ethical, social and cultural dimensions of biosecurity

New RAND-CISS Report: The Evolving Terrorist Threat to Southeast Asia: A Net Assessment

RAND - CISS Report

Teaming up with the RAND Corporation, one of the world’s premier think tanks, CISS’ Dr Leanne Piggott co-authored the recently released monograph, The Evolving Terrorist Threat to Southeast Asia: A Net Assessment. The study examines the historical roots of militancy in Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia, assesses the extent of links between local groups and broader ideological agendas, and examines government responses to terrorist threats in the region. The authors conclude that the threats posed by militant groups in these countries are serious but manageable, and offer recommendations to national and international governments to help them manage terrorist threats and mitigate risks.

The full report is available for download.

Biosecurity Project Grants

The University of Sydney Biosecurity Program, hosted by CISS, invites project proposals for grants of up to $50,000 over 12 months.

The USBP is a multidisciplinary program encompassing such issues as: biological weapons, naturally occurring infectious disease outbreaks, the ethics and security of laboratory research on pathogenic micro-organisms, the links between human and animal health, and the relationship between infectious disease patterns, public health capacity, societal functioning and violent conflict.

Academics from all relevant disciplines within the University of Sydney are encouraged to apply, particularly early-career staff.

The deadline for proposals is Monday 3 August 2009.

Third Annual Michael Hintze Lecture in International Security: India's Search for Energy Security

CISS-Hintze Invitation

CISS held it's Third Annual Michael Hintze Lecture in International Security on 27 May. Titled "India's Search for Energy Security", the lecture was delivered by Dr Ligia Noronha of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in New Delhi. About 150 guests joined CISS and the Alumni Relations Office to hear Dr Noronha discuss how India's growing energy needs are reshaping its domestic politics, foreign and trade policies.

Dr Noronha is Senior Fellow and Director the Resources and Global Security Division of TERI. She is a visiting scholar at CISS, serving as the inaugural Michael Hintze Fellow in Energy Security. Her expertise includes energy security, minerals and metals security, risk and governance issues relating to emerging technologies, and global agreements on trade and environment. She will also be giving a seminar at CISS on 2 June, entitled Energy Resources: Geopolitics, Access and Diplomacy.

Listen to Dr Noronha’s comments:

CISS launches lunchtime seminar series

CISS is launching its first formal seminar series this year. We've already got a number of speakers lined up for Semester 1 and are busy booking more, so come join us for a light bite and great discussion. See Program for Semester 1.

The Second Annual Biosecurity Symposium 'Integrating Knowledge, Implementing Change'

Biosecurity Symposium 2009

The Second Annual Biosecurity Symposium took place at the University of Sydney on 9 and 10 February 2009. An initiative of the National Centre for Biosecurity (a joint endeavour of Sydney Uni and ANU), the theme of this year's symposium was 'Integrating Knowledge, Implementing Change'. Academics and health practitioners from the UK, the Netherlands, the US, Singapore, and Hong Kong presented on a variety of topics, including: regional health security, HIV/AIDS and security, technology and disease surveillance, biological weapons, risk analysis, law, governance and ethics, and more.

Download the conference booklet

CISS welcomes new staff members Sarah Phillips and Maher Itani

CISS is pleased to welcome two new staff members for 2009. Dr Sarah Phillips focuses on the politics of the Middle East, particularly Yemen, where she has worked as a political risk analyst and a political development consultant. Sarah received her PhD from ANU in 2007, where her thesis was titled 'The Resilience of Pluralised Authoritarianism in the Middle East. A Case Study of Yemen'. At CISS, Sarah will teach CISS6013 Middle East Conflict and Security and will conduct research on patronage politics and Islamist oppositions in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

Maher Itani will assist with the administration and teaching of CISS2001 Business in the Global Environment. Maher's academic background is in law, international relations and the politics of the Middle East and he has considerable experience in lecturing and tutoring. He has also worked as an intelligence analyst and linguist for the NSW Crime Commission.

CISS heads to Singapore

The new year has barely begun, but CISS staff members Dr Christian Enemark and Jon Herington are already busy. They are headed to Singapore in January along with colleagues from the Faculty of Medicine and Veterinary Science to deliver a seminar at the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University. All four scholars will speak at the seminar, addressing different topics within the field of biosecurity.

This visit represents further link in the growing partnership between CISS and both RSIS and the NTS Centre. CISS Director Alan Dupont delivered the inaugural lecture at the launch of the NTS Centre in 2008, while Dr Mely Caballero-Anthony will visit Sydney in February to participate in the upcoming Biosecurity Symposium.

MIntSec student awarded scholarship to attend Young Strategic Leaders' Congress

CISS student Audrey Maag with Professor Harry Harding and Mr Frank Lewincamp

CISS student Audrey Maag with Professor Harry Harding and Mr Frank Lewincamp

CISS awarded MIntSec student Audrey Maag a scholarship to attend the Kokoda Foundation's biannual Young Strategic Leaders' Congress from 5-7 December. Focussed on 'Future Security Strategy for the Western Pacific', the event gathered together more than 80 young professionals and students to learn, strategise, network and socialise with top academics, strategists, civil servants and diplomats from Australia and overseas. A number of senior national security strategists and academics presented to the group, including Dr Doug Kean of the Office of National Assessments, Professor Harry Harding of George Washington University, Mr Frank Lewincamp, former Deputy Secretary, Department of Defence, and Ms Celia Perkins of the Australian Embassy in Washington, DC. Participants had the opportunity to ask questions, network and delve deeper into the issues during informal social gatherings throughout the weekend. The program culminated with participants breaking into teams to develop their own recommendations for Australian strategy in the Western Pacific, drawing on the knowledge and tools they'd gained over the course of the weekend.

Speaking about her experience at the Congress, Audrey noted that it was a great opportunity for networking. "It provided a great opportunity to meet like-minded young professionals and students with interests in the security field and it was really interesting to hear so many different perspectives on key issues that Australia will face in the future", she said. In short, "it was an extremely worthwhile and enjoyable weekend."