Australian member committee of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (Aus-CSCAP)


AusCSCAP News & Events

Reviewing the Rules-Based Order

The term 'Rules-Based Order' (RBO) has been used frequently in recent years – in government documents as well as in media and academic analysis. It is difficult to separate this from the deep geostrategic transformation underway over the last decade or so – with an economic and political power shift from the North Atlantic to Asia and the Pacific. Although there seems to be widespread support for some form of rules system in the international sphere, there is no consensus about which rules matter or about the term 'Rules-Based Order' itself.

Aus-CSCAP recently sought regional views on the RBO to elicit different perspectives on the current RBO and how it might be updated. Read more

A shorter version of the overview analysis provided by Aus-CSCAP (written by Ric Smith and Tony Milner 3 May 2021) was also published in the Australian Financial Review.

The Virus and Regional Order: Perspectives from Asia and beyond

What are the consequences of COVID-19 for this region’s strategic and foreign policy environment? What will be the impact of the crisis on United States-China rivalry? What is the future of globalisation and regional institutions? Utilising the CSCAP network, AusCSCAP has constructed a virtual seminar canvassing regional perspectives on the foreign policy and security impact of COVID-19. Read what the region is saying here

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CSCAP News & Events

CSCAP Regional Outlook 2021 released

The new issue examines the impact of COVID 19 on the rules-based international order. COVID-19 struck a world in which significant changes in the relative strategic weight of the world’s major states was well advanced, both motivating and allowing behaviour that challenged the prevailing international order, inevitably, the very order that had supported and encouraged these changes. Read the Regional Outlook 2021

3rd Australia-India Dialogue

The 3rd Australia-India Dialogue took place virtually on 1 December 2020. The Australian side was led by AusCSCAP and the Indian side by the Delhi Policy Group. Discussion took place against a turbulent backdrop - the ongoing impact medically and politically of the COVID-19 pandemic; the increasingly assertive behaviour of China and its ramifications regionally and more widely; and leadership change - most notably in the US and Japan - and the impact of that regionally and globally. The Agenda and Key Points can be accessed here 3rd Australia-India Dialogue

Aus-CSCAP Project Co-Chairs

The Australian Member Committee of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (Aus-CSCAP) was established by Strategic and Defence Studies Centre (SDSC) at the Australian National University, as one of the founding members of CSCAP.

Aus-CSCAP has some 150 members, including former and current officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the Department of Defence, individuals from a dozen University and other research centres throughout Australia, Members of Parliament, journalists, and senior executives from Australian industry.

The Committee meets twice a year, to consider the major security issues facing Australia in the region. Aus-CSCAP members are also active in the various CSCAP Study Groups. Australian Ministers of Defence have addressed AusCSCAP meetings on numerous occasions. Mr Andrews address the May 2015 meeting at a luncheon (held jointly with Asialink) in Melbourne.

The biennial CSCAP General Conference has been an opportunity for Australia to influence the agenda of regional discussions and has been used in the past by the Australian Foreign Minister to make important keynote addresses in the region.

The network of officials, media, military and academic representatives that make up the membership of CSCAP provides Australia with an opportunity to influence attitudes and debate in the region on a range of foreign policy issues. We believe it also assists more broadly to build Australia into Asian regional processes.

The CSCAP network has assisted the development, for instance, of the ‘Asialink Conversations’ and also helped in inaugurating the Australia/New Zealand Dialogue with ASEAN-ISIS, the influential ASEAN network that had not in the past been open to such a formal relationship with Australia.

CSCAP is a non-governmental (second track) organisation to encourage discussion and dialogue on security issues in the Asia Pacific. Membership in CSCAP is on an institutional basis and consists of Member Committees. Current membership comprises Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Canada, China, the European Union, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and the USA.

The functions of CSCAP are as follows:

  1. to provide an informal mechanism by which political and security issues can be discussed by scholars, officials, and others in their private capacities;
  2. to encourage the participation of such individuals from countries and territories in the Asia Pacific on the basis of the principle of inclusiveness;
  3. to organize various study groups to address security issues and challenges facing the region;
  4. to provide policy recommendations to various intergovernmental bodies on political-security issues;
  5. to convene regional and international meetings and other cooperative activities for the purpose of discussing political-security issues;
  6. to establish linkages with institutions and organizations in other parts of the world to exchange information, insights and experiences in the area of regional political-security cooperation; and
  7. to produce and disseminate publications relevant to the other purposes of the organization.

Study groups are the primary mechanism for CSCAP activity. At the beginning of 2013, there were several on-going CSCAP Study Groups. These are concerned with: (i) Countering the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Asia Pacific; (ii) Expert Group on Export Control of Nuclear Material; and (iii) Multilateral Security Governance in the North-east Asia/North Pacific. Other Study Groups such as (i) Cyber security; (ii) Security of Submarine Cables; (iii) Regional Security Architecture; and (iv) Humanitarian and Disaster Relief, are envisaged or recently concluded. Some 22 Study Groups have had their recommendations considered at Track One (ie.,inter-governmental) level since inauguration of CSCAP.

The people involved in this project are listed below.

Dr Ron Huisken

Editor, CSCAP Regional Security Outlook (CRSO)

Dr. Ron Huisken is Adjunct Associate Professor in the Strategic & Defence Studies Centre. He has had a distinguished career in foreign...

Anthony Milner

Emeritus Prof Anthony Milner

Co-Chair, AusCSCAP

Tony Milner is an historian specializing on Southeast Asia, particularly Malaysia and Indonesia, and on regional relations. After having been a member of the Department...

Peter Rayner

Mr Rayner was an officer of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for 35 years, having retired at the end of 2019. He was Australian Ambassador to Portugal from 2016-2019 and was...

ric smith

Ric Smith AO PSM

Co-Chair, AusCSCAP

Richard Campbell (Ric) Smith AO PSM was born in Perth and educated at State Schools and the University of Western Australia, from which he graduated BA, B Ed. He taught...


Related events

CSCAP 12th General Conference - Hanoi, 5-6 December 2019

Australia joined other member of CSCAP at the 12 General Conference held in Hanoi 5-6 December 2019. Hosted by the incoming ASEAN chair, Vietnam, the conference theme was: ‘Sustaining Peace in Time of Uncertainties: toward greater regional resilience and responsiveness’.

CSCAP 12th general conference 2019 group photo

52nd meeting - Rydges on Swanston, Melbourne, 13 November 2019

The 52nd meeting of the Australian Member Committee of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (AusCSCAP) was held at Rydges on Swanston, in Carlton, Melbourne on 13 November 2019.

52nd meeting - Rydges on Swanston, Melbourne, 13 November 2019

51st meeting - The Australian National University, Canberra, 12 June 2019

The 51st meeting of the Australian Member Committee of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (AusCSCAP) was held at The Australian National University, in Canberra on 12 June 2019.

50th meeting - University of Western Australia, Perth, 29 - 30 November 2018

The 50th meeting of the Australian Member Committee of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (AusCSCAP) was held in association with the US Asia Centre at the University of Western Australia, in Perth on 29 and 30 November 2018.

From left: Ambassador Lyn Khun Maung (Myanmar), The Hon. Julie Bishop, MP Mr Richard Smith – Co-chair, AusCSCAP and Ambassador Wiryono Sastrohandayo (Indonesia)

49th meeting - ANU, Canberra, 15 June 2018

The theme was ‘India’s Act East Policy - Implications for Australia.

48th meeting - Sydney - 14 March 2018

The 48th meeting of AusCSCAP was held in Sydney on 14 March 2018 in association with the Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA). The theme was ‘the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) at 25’.

The meeting followed the ASEAN-Australia Dialogue held in Sydney on the previous day, one of several major events surrounding the Australian Government’s first ASEAN-Australia Special Summit (17-18 March 2018). The Dialogue involved nine universities and institutes from across Australia - including AusCSCAP - and attracted senior analysts and specialists from ASEAN.

AusCSCAP took advantage of their presence in Sydney in holding our meeting the day after the Dialogue. The ASEAN participants included - Ambassador Ong Keng Yong of Singapore; Ambassador Astanah Abdul Aziz of Malaysia; Dr Philipps Vermonte from Indonesia; Dr Dang Cam Tu from Vietnam, and Mr Kavi Chongkittavorn, editor of the Myanmar Times.

Regional Architecture Panel – ASEAN-Australia Dialogue 13 Mar 2018. Prof Nick Bisley, La Trobe University, Dr Dang Cam Tu, Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, Prof Anthony Milner, Aus-CSCAP, Amb Astanah Abdul Aziz, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Malaysia, Dr Sheryn Lee, Macquarie University

Security Panel at the ASEAN-Australia Dialogue 14 Mar 2018 Dr Sue Thompson, Australian National University, Mr Ric Smith, Aus-CSCAP, Dr Marty Natalegawa, Former Indonesian Foreign Minister

47th meeting - ANU, Canberra - 3 October 2017

The theme was ‘Rules-based Order’.

46th meeting - ANU, Canberra - 28 June 2017

The theme was ‘How can Australia build further on our strategic relations in Asia’.

45th meeting - ANU, Canberra - 21 February 2017

The theme was ‘Australia’s Foreign Policy White Paper’.

44th meeting - ANU, Canberra - 24 August 2016

The theme was ‘Indonesia’s Maritime Concept: Intent, Implications, and Scope’.

43rd meeting - ANU, Canberra - 16 October 2015

The 43rd meeting of AusCSCAP was held at ANU in Canberra on 16 October 2015. The theme was ‘Regional Security Architecture and the Role of Track 2’.

42nd meeting - Melbourne - 22 May 2015

The 42nd meeting of AusCSCAP was held at the Sofitel Hotel in Melbourne in association with Asialink of Melbourne University, on 22 May 2015. The theme- ‘Agreeing a xRule-based Order in the Asia Pacific- The South China Sea and Other Issues’.

41st meeting - ANU, Canberra - 19 December 2014

The 41st meeting of AusCSCAP was held at ANU on 19 December 2014 in conjunction with ASPI. The theme was ‘Strengthening the rules-based order in the Asia Pacific- perspectives from ASEAN, Japan and Australia

40th meeting - ANU, Canberra - 9 May 2014

AusCSCAP’s 40th meeting was held at ANU in Canberra on 9 May 2014 on the theme of ‘The Balance between Traditional and Non-traditional Security Challenges: Regional Perspectives on Implications for Defence Co-operation.

39th meeting - University of Darwin, Darwin - 28 October 2013

AusCSCAP’s 39th meeting was held at the University of Darwin, in Darwin on 28 October 2013 on the theme “US Rebalancing and Southeast Asia- enhanced co-operation with Indonesia.

38th meeting - ANU, Canberra - 22 March 2013

AusCSCAP’s 38th meeting was held at ANU in Canberra on 22 March 2013 on the theme “Australia’s Regional Positioning in the Asian Century: Asia Pacific Perspectives”.

The Hon. Julie Bishop at the CSCAP meeting in Perth in November 2018.

Australian ambitions – regional reactions

As America becomes relatively weaker and more ambivalent about the value of allies, it makes sense for Australia to work hard on its other regional partnerships.

Is the Indo-Pacific just a geographic region, or something more?

The Australian Government’s use of the terms ‘Indo-pacific’ and ‘rules-based-order’ have come under question at the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP) meeting held recentl

25th ASEAN Regional Forum Retreat in August 2018. Singapore (Photo: US Department of State/Flickr)

ASEAN Regional Forum: less might be more


In from the Cold: Reflections on Australia’s Korean War

Open hostilities in the Korean War ended on the 27th of July 1953. The armistice that was signed at that time remains the poignant symbol of an incomplete conclusion – of a war that retains a distinct possibility of...

CSCAP Regional Security Outlook 2017 cover.

CSCAP Regional Security Outlook 2017

Established in 1993, the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP) is the premier Track Two organization in the Asia Pacific region and counterpart to the Track One processes dealing with security...

CSCAP Regional Security Outlook 2016 cover

CSCAP Regional Security Outlook 2016

Established in 1993, the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP) is the premier Track Two organization in the Asia Pacific region and counterpart to the Track One processes dealing with security...

CSCAP Regional Security Outlook 2015

The Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP) is the region’s leading Track Two (non-official) organisation for promoting cooperation and dialogue on regional security issues. CSCAP was established...

CSCAP Publications

The ideas and suggestions expressed by individuals from CSCAP member committees throughout the region at study group meetings are often published and circulated to regional decision and policy makers; particularly in the ARF, to provide a stimulus for further consideration and possible implementation.

The outcomes and recommendations of the various study groups, which are provided for Track 1 consideration, are summarised in the various CSCAP Memoranda.

Aus-CSCAP Publications

  1. Greg Raymond, Prospects for the Rules-Based Global Order, 2017
  2. Tony Milner & Ron Huisken, Smaller, but enmeshed: Why Australia needs to make ASEAN an even stronger priority, 2017
  3. Asia’s Trend and Temperature
  4. ‘Australia in the Asian Century-Strategic Implications’, March 2013, Australian National University
  5. On a track to regional peace WITH CSCAP
  6. From Asia-Pacific to Indo-Pacific: Rising Powers, Emerging Regions and Transformations in Governance’ Sept 2012 Adeilaide University (Meeting Booklet PDF 627KB)
  7. ‘Strategic Regional Architecture’, March 2012 Australian National University Meeting Booklet PDF 337KB; Record PDF 121KB)
  8. ‘Indo-Pacific seen from Western Australia’, Curtin University, Perth, West Australia, Nov 2012 (Meeting Booklet PDF 81KB; Record PDF 116KB)

Study groups

CSCAP’s Study Groups and Experts Groups are the primary mechanism for CSCAP activity. These groups serve as a region-wide multilateral fora for consensus-building and problem solving and often address specific issues and problems that are too sensitive for official dialogue.

Study Groups generally meet twice per year and produce policy oriented reports of each meeting. At the completion of their term the Study Groups produce a Memorandum that outlines practical policy-oriented responses for consideration at the Track One (official) level.

Through these Study Groups CSCAP’s research and analyses support and complement the efforts of regional governments and official multilateral dialogue mechanisms, such as the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), which routinely brings together senior foreign ministry and defense officials from throughout the Asia-Pacific to discuss regional security issues and concerns.

On-going Study Groups and sub-groups, to which AusCSCAP regularly sends representatives:

Concluded study groups](

Mr Peter Rayner
Administrator - AusCSCAP
Strategic and Defence Studies Centre
ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
T 61 2 6125 9979

Aus-CSCAP Co-Chairs

Mr Ric Smith AO, PSM

Professor Anthony Milner
Basham Professor of Asian History
ANU School of Culture, History and Language
ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
The Australian National University

CSCAP Regional Security Outlook (CRSO) Editor

Assoc. Professor Ron Huisken
Strategic and Defence Studies Centre
ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
The Australian National University

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