Australia's Defence Strategy Update

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In this episode of the National Security Podcast, we are joined by former Shadow Assistant Minister for Cyber Security and Defence Gai Brodtmann, Head of the ANU Strategic and Defence Studies Centre Brendan Sargeant, and Rory Medcalf, Head of the National Security College, to examine the details and meaning of Australia's recently unveiled 2020 Defence Strategy Update and Force Structure Plan.

On 1 July, Australia officially updated its defence strategy with the 2020 Defence Strategy Update and Force Structure Plan. Citing the deterioration of its regional security environment and enhanced offensive capabilities among its potential adversaries, it calls for an upgrading of Australia's defence hardware. So, is offensive deterrence a new strategy for Australia, and could increased war-fighting capabilities drive an arms race in the region? The panel also ask which states may be the intended audience for this strategy update, and how likely the countries of the region may be to see increased Australian defence spending as a signal of intent.

Gai Brodtmann is convenor of the National Security College’s Women In National Security conference, a member of Sapien Cyber’s advisory board, and a contributor to The Strategist. Gai is the former Member for Canberra and Shadow Assistant Minister for Cyber Security and Defence Personnel.

Professor Brendan Sargeant is Head of the ANU Strategic and Defence Studies Centre and Professor of Practice in Defence and Strategic Studies. He is also a former Senior Executive with the Department of Defence, serving in roles such as Assistant Secretary, Deputy Secretary for Strategy, and Head of the Strategic Policy Division.

Professor Rory Medcalf is Head of the National Security College at The Australian National University. His professional background involves more than two decades of experience across diplomacy, intelligence analysis, think tanks, and journalism.

Katherine Mansted is a senior adviser at the National Security College and non-resident fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Previously, she was a commercial solicitor with King & Wood Mallesons, a ministerial adviser to the federal government, and served as an Associate in the High Court of Australia.

Chris Farnham is the presenter of the National Security Podcast. He joined the National Security College in June 2015 and is currently Senior Outreach and Policy Officer. His career focus has been on geopolitics with experience working in and out of China for a number of years as well as operating in Australia and Southeast Asia.

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