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On 20 February 2018, the ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt and the Secretary of the Department of Defence, Greg Moriarty welcomed new students to the Master of Strategic Studies at ANU. This was the first night in a three night program which helps students learn about the unique history of the Strategic & Defence Studies Centre (SDSC), get to know their student cohort, and discuss the career and professional ambitions they have for their study.
Welcoming the students, Professor Schmidt said ‘The 1946 Australian National University Act which created this great institution instructed the ANU to ‘encourage and provide facilities for post-graduate research and study… in relation to subjects of national importance to Australia’. The Master of Strategic Studies course which you have now entered into fulfils that mission.’
‘Since 1966 SDSC has been at the forefront of the national and global defence policy debate. Its luminaries such as T.B. Millar, Robert O’Neill, Desmond Ball and Paul Dibb helped define and recast how Australia thought about itself and contributed to security in Asia and the Pacific. Today the challenges to Australia, and the maintenance of peace and stability in this region remain just as profound and just as urgent as they were in 1946 and 1966.’
In his address to students Secretary Moriarty told students ‘how lucky are you to be doing this course’, stating that as an alumni of the program, the course had played a large role in his own professional development.
Mr Moriarty said students should already consider themselves part of the Australian national security community. He spoke about the need to begin engaging in the public debate while studying. The foundation of having an impact, the Secretary said was to think deeply, and read widely in history, politics and culture. Character also matters, he warned, ‘be thoughtful and respectful. Don’t succumb to the temptation for sneering’.
Urging students to consider a job at the Department of Defence, Secretary Moriarty said ‘My first priority as Secretary is to ensure Defence is well positioned over the next two decades, to face the challenges of a more contested and less secure world’. These include ‘shifts in strategic power regionally and globally – and increasing speed and pace of change; challenges to the rules based global order, and the potentially multi-generational threat of Islamic terrorism’.
‘In a dynamic and interconnected world, Defence policy is increasingly linked and enmeshed with other Government policy objectives’ Mr Moriarty said. ‘When I first joined the Australian government there was a clear spectrum of what was and was not defence policy issues. That is no longer the case’.
Details of the Master of Strategic Studies program at ANU can be found online - http://sdsc.bellschool.anu.edu.au/our-students/sdsc-graduate-coursework