Head, Strategic & Defence Studies Centre.
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By: Dr Andrew Carr, Program Convenor of the Master of Strategic Studies at the ANU Strategic and Defence Studies Centre.
ANU Master of Strategic Studies students have just completed their annual weekend trip to the beautiful ANU Kioloa campus on the South Coast.
Over three days, students deal with real world solutions, ‘war gaming’ as the leaders of key East Asian states. It’s a chance to put into practice what they are learning in the classroom.
“At Kioloa the students get to learn about the real world for policymakers. There are heavy demands on their time, a need to find ways to work together and make judgement calls with difficult consequences” said Dr Andrew Carr, convenor of the Master of Strategic Studies Program.
This year, two scenarios were presented. A breakdown of order in Taiwan triggering an international crisis, and a humanitarian disaster in the Pacific which undermined regional stability. Peace was a close run thing in the first war game, which helping students see just how difficult the current regional environment is.
“To make the scenarios as realistic as possible, the war games are run by former professionals. We are honoured to have a former Chief of the Australian Defence Force, Admiral (rtd.) Chris Barrie, and former Associate Secretary in the Department of Defence, Brendan Sargeant join us for this year’s camp” said Dr Carr.
Not all of the weekend is hard work however. Located along a priceless stretch of beachfront, some of the weekend is devoted to getting to know fellow students and sitting around a camp fire with senior ANU scholars.
“One of the real joys of Kioloa is having a chance to work hard in a war game, then run down to the beach to cool off” said Professor John Blaxland, head of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre.
“We typically end each night sitting around the camp fire, glass of wine in hand and have a few laughs about the day’s war game. Then get up the next morning and do it all again. It’s great fun” Professor Blaxland said.
The Kioloa retreat is available for students in the Master of Strategic Studies at ANU. For more information on this program and the Kioloa war games, please see the ANU Website, or contact the convenor, Dr Andrew Carr.