The 2023 Myanmar Update aims to understand, celebrate, and explicate the Myanmar people’s resistance to the 1 February 2021 coup. The military’s violent crackdown on what was initially a peaceful popular uprising provoked a near-countrywide revolutionary movement, which has brought together an array of different political, ethnic, and religious groups fighting for the shared goal of ending military rule. While differences exist in objectives and strategies, the establishment of organisations like the National Unity Government (NUG) and the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC), as well as the numerous other formal and informal alliances, has arguably created an unprecedented sense of unity among Myanmar’s diverse peoples and raised widespread hope that this time the struggle may succeed.    

The conference seeks to explore the complexities of the revolutionary struggle; the effects of the coup on the state and economy; and, the myriad ways in which the people in Myanmar are coping with deepening violence and poverty.

  • How has the coup and the popular response to it reshaped Myanmar politics?
  • How are new armed groups forming, and how are they sustained?
  • What has happened to the civil disobedience movement?
  • What are the social, economic, and psychological implications of continued violence?
  • How is the diaspora contributing to the revolution?
  • How can foreign governments and the international aid community best support resistance to dictatorship?

We aim to address these kinds of questions, among others, in this conference.

The conference will take place at The Australian National University on Friday 21 July – Saturday 22 July 2023.

The two-day conference will feature scholars and experts from Australia, Myanmar, UK, North America and around the regions.

There are also pre-conference events on Thursday 20 July that we will list on our conference program with more information:

Convening Committee

  • Cecile Medail - Visiting Fellow, Department of Political and Social Change, ANU, cecile.medail@anu.edu.au
  • Morten Pedersen - Board member, Myanmar Research Centre, ANU, Morten.Pedersen@adfa.edu.au
  • Yuri Takahashi - Lecturer and Convenor of the Burmese Program, ANU, Yuri.Takahashi@anu.edu.au
  • Samuel Hmung - Research Officer, Myanmar Research Centre, ANU, Samuel.hmung@anu.edu.au

Sponsors

The 2023 ANU Myanmar Update is supported by the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, the International Development Research Centre, Canada, the International IDEA, and the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Conference Participation

IN-PERSON ATTENDANCE 
We would love for you to join us in person, in the Auditorium, Australian Centre on China in the World Building #188 on the ANU Campus, on Friday 21 July and Saturday 22 July. 

ONLINE-ATTENDANCE
The 2023 Myanmar Update will be live streamed via Zoom Events. Please note no Q&A from the online audience, and some sessions are in-person only, we apologies for this inconvenience.

REGISTRATION 
Please register in-person and online tickets via Zoom Events. You will get both in-person and online tickets via Zoom Events. If you have any queries, or need assistance to register in the Zoom Eevents platform, please let us know. Email: parnerships.cap@anu.edu.au 

PLEASE NOTE: 

Free of charge

  • Reception for the launch of exhibition and guest lecture (20 July 2023)
  • Pre-conference dinner for speakers, chairs and invited guests (20 July 2023)
  • Conference reception (21 July 2023)
  • Morning tea and afternoon tea (21 July 2023)
  • Afternoon tea (22 July 2023)
  • Lunch for speakers, chairs and organisers (21-22 July 2023)

Fees for general participants

  • Conference lunch (21 & 22 July) is proudly provided by the Australia Mon Association in Canberra: $10 per meal for participant.

PRELIMINARY PROGRAM

Pre-conference Events (Thursday 20 July)

8.30am-4.30pm Early Career Researcher workshop (by invitation)

4.30-5pm Launch of Myanmar Update photo exhibition by Mayco Naing (Artist and Curator)

Venue: Auditorium Foyer, Australia Centre on China in the World Building 188, Fellows Lane, ANU

  • Introduction by exhibition curator Mayco Naing
  • Photo exhibition by Mauk Kham Wah and Mayco Naing
  • Video documentary -1 minute per day in the 60 days following the coup by M. (screening all day on 21-22 July only, CIW seminar room)

5-5.30pm Refreshments (for exhibition and guest address)

5.30-6.30pm Guest Lecture - De-‘Area Studies’-izing Burmese History: the African (and African American) ‘Burma” Experience in the Twentieth Century

Venue: Auditorium, Australia Centre on China in the World Building 188, Fellows Lane, ANU

  • Michael Charney, SOAS, University of London

7-8.30pm Preconference Dinner (by invitation) 

Day 1 (Friday 21 July)

Venue: Auditorium, Australia Centre on China in the World Building 188, Fellows Lane, ANU

9-9.30am Welcome

  • Welcome to the Country by Paul Girrawah House, First Nations Portfolio, ANU
  • Opening remarks by Helen Sullivan, Dean of the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific

9.30-10.30am Keynote Address 

Chair: Nick Cheesman, ANU

  • H.E. Zin Mar Aung, Minister of Foreign Affairs, National Unity Government of the Union of Myanmar (online)
  • Discussant: Tun Aung Shwe, Representative to Australia of the National Unity Government of the Union of Myanmar

10.30-10.45am Morning Tea

10.45am-12.45pm Political Update

Chair: Andrew Selth, Griffith University

  • Ardeth Maung Thawnghmung, University of Massachusetts Lowell
  • Ye Myo Hein, Wilson Center (online)

12.45-1.45pm Lunch Break

1.45- 3.15pm Panel 1: The Revolutionary Movement

Chair: George Lawson, ANU

  • Samuel Hmung and Michael Dunford, Australian National University - “Understanding Myanmar’s Civil Disobedience Movement”
  • Ellen, McMaster University, Canada - “Women's agency in armed struggles in Myanmar's Spring Revolution”
  • Lukas Nagel, Griffith University - “Creative resistance and nationalism among youth activists in post-coup Myanmar”

3.15-3.30pm Afternoon Tea

3.30-5pm Panel 2: Revolutionary Governance

Chair: Jane Ferguson, ANU

  • Gerard McCarthy and Kyle Nyana, Erasmus University - “Governing revolution: Post-coup insurgent social order in Chin State and Sagaing Region” (online)
  • Tay Zar Myo Win, Deakin University - “Emerging local governance in Anyar”
  • Khin Zaw Win, Tampadipa Institute - "Reimagining the goals of the Spring Revolution"

5-6.30pm Conference Reception (In-person only)

Venue: Auditorium Foyer, Australia Centre on China in the World Building 188, Fellows Lane, ANU

  • Promotion of Art Exhibition: How to quantify FEAR? by artist and curator Mayco Naing 

Day 2 (Saturday 22 July)

Venue: Auditorium, Australia Centre on China in the World Building 188, Fellows Lane, ANU

9.30-10.00am Book Launch: "Myanmar in Crisis" (In-person only)

  • Book author: Michael Dunford, Australian National University 
  • Discussant: Cecilia Jacob, Australian National University 

Book Sale - A limited number of books are available for sale for AUD $25 (card only).

10am-12pm Economic Update and Humanitarian Issues 

Chair: Paul Burke, ANU

  • Jared Bissinger, Independent analyst
  • Tom Kean, International Crisis Group
  • Anne Décobert, and Tamas Wells, University of Melbourne -“Myanmar’s humanitarian crisis and the conflict paradox for local aid organisations"

12-1pm Lunch Break

1-3pm Policy Panel & Closing Remarks (In-person only)

Chair: Morten Pedersen, UNSW Canberra 

  • Ardeth Maung Thawnghmung, University of Massachusetts Lowell
  • Khin Zaw Win, Tampadipa Institute
  • Jared Bissinger, Independent analyst
  • Representative, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

3-3.15pm Afternoon Tea

3.15-4.45pm Burmese Language Roundtable: "Researching and reporting in post-coup Myanmar" (In-person only)

Venue: Seminar Room, Australia Centre on China in the World Building 188, Fellows Lane, ANU

Chair: Samuel Hmung, ANU

  • Swe Win, Myanmar Now 
  • Ardeth Maung Thawnghmung, University of Massachusetts Lowell
  • Khin Zaw Win, Tampadipa Institute

 

မြန်မာဘာသာ စကားဝိုင်း၊ “အာဏာသိမ်းပြီးမြန်မာနိုင်ငံတွင် သုတေသနပြုလုပ်ခြင်းနှင့် သတင်းတင်ဆက်ခြင်း”

သဘာပတိ - Samuel Hmung (ANU)

  • ဦးဆောင်ဆွေးနွေးသူ - Ardeth Maung Thawnghmung (University of Massachusetts Lowell)ဆွေဝင်း (Myanmar Now)၊ ခင်ဇော်ဝင်း (Tampadipa Institute)

As Russia enters its third year of war against Ukraine, we need to ask: how will this war end? But before we do that, let me take us back to my ANU Public Lecture in August 2022 when I set out the reasons why I thought Putin went to war.

Those reasons are:

1. The catastrophic collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and Yeltsin’s recognition of a separate country called Ukraine.

2. Putin’s belief that there is no such country as Ukraine.

3. Putin’s view that NATO’s expansion to the borders of the Soviet Union is an act of aggression.

4. Ukraine’s ambition to be a member of NATO is seen by Putin as a first-order strategic challenge to Russia.

5. Putin has now proclaimed a new strategic threat: the West is seeking to destroy Russia and Russia is now fighting for its “very survival.”
 

After revisiting these accusations, let us examine first, how the military fight is changing and what its prospects are for winners and losers; second, what are the possibilities for a ceasefire and negotiations aimed at an enduring peace; third, what are the risks of this war extending further into neighboring NATO countries; and fourth what are the implications for China’s attitude to using military force against Taiwan?

Finally, if the aim of the US and its NATO allies is to “defeat” Russia how will this be achieved against a country with 1500 strategic nuclear weapons? And what would a defeated Russia look like? A Weimar Germany? Or can we conceive of other outcomes under a new Russian leadership?

 

About the speaker

Paul Dibb is Emeritus Professor of strategic studies at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre in the College of Asia and the Pacific at the ANU. He was Head of the Centre from 1991 to 2004. His previous positions include Deputy Secretary for Strategy and Intelligence in the Department of Defence, Director of the Defence Intelligence Organisation, and Head of the National Assessments Staff in the National Intelligence Committee. 

He wrote the 1986 Review of Australia’s Defence Capabilities (the Dibb Report) and was the primary author of the 1987 Defence White Paper. His 1986 book The Soviet Union: The Incomplete Superpower received international acclaim. His most recent book, published by MUP in 2018, is called Inside the Wilderness of Mirrors: Australia and the Threat from the Soviet Union in the Cold War and Russia Today.


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This Robert O'Neill War Studies lecture will be delivered by Professor Craig Stockings. 

Robert John O'Neill AO (1936-2023) was an Australian historian and academic of the highest stature. He served at various junctures not only as Head of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre (SDSC) here at ANU, and Director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), based in London, but was also Chichele Professor of the History of War at the University of Oxford from 1987 to 2000. He was this nation’s third Official Historian. The 2024 Robert O'Neill War Studies Lecture, delivered by Professor Craig Stockings, tackles the difficult issue of ‘Official Histories’, with a focus upon the current series regarding Australian Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Australian Peacekeeping Operations in East Timor, and the sometimes-difficult, often-fraught, and ongoing process of producing it.
 

About the speaker
Craig Stockings is a Professor of History, and Head of School at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, UNSW Canberra. His areas of academic interest concern general and Australian military history and operational analysis. He has published a history of the army cadet movement in Australia entitled The Torch and the Sword (2007), and a study of the First Libyan Campaign in North Africa 1940-41: Bardia: Myth, Reality and the Heirs of Anzac (2009). He has also edited Zombie Myths of Australian Military History (2010) and Anzac’s Dirty Dozen: 12 Myths of Australian Military History (2012). In 2013 he co-authored an in depth study of the Greek campaign - Swastika over the Acropolis: re-interpreting the Nazi Invasion of Greece in World War II; and co-edited Before the Anzac Dawn: A Military History of Australia to 1915. His most recent book, published by CUP in 2015 is an investigation of turn of the century imperial defence entitled: Britannia’s Shield: Lieutenant-General Sir Edward Hutton and Late Victorian Imperial Defence. He is concurrently appointed at the Official Historian of Australian Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Australian Peacekeeping Operations in East Timor, is general editor of all six volumes of the series, and has authored the first: Born of Fire and Ash: Australian operations in response to the East Timor crisis 1999-2000, Volume 1: Official History of Peacekeeping Operations in East Timor, UNSW Press.

 

About Robert O'Neill
Emeritus Professor Robert O'Neill AO
was Head of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre from 1971 to 1982 and remains an active part of the academic community. One of the world's leading experts on strategic and security studies, O'Neill previously served as Director, International Institute for Strategic Studies, London (1982-1987); Chichele Professor of the History of War at Oxford University (1987-2000); Chairman of the Council of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (1995-2001); and Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Imperial War Museum (1997-2001). In remembrance of his invaluable contributions, it is with great sadness that we note the passing of Emeritus Professor Robert O'Neill AO in 2023, leaving behind a profound legacy in the field of Strategic Studies. 

Agenda 

  • 6.30-7.30pm - Academic Lecture
  • 7.30-8pm - Networking drinks and canapés

 

If you require accessibility accommodations or a visitor Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan please contact the event organiser.

This 2023 John Gee Memorial Lecture will be delivered by Professor Toni Erskine. 

War is changing rapidly – and with it the challenge of ensuring that restraint is exercised in both the resort to force and its conduct. Lethal autonomous weapons systems are able to select and engage targets, with and without human authorisation. Algorithms that rely on big data analytics and machine learning recommend targets for drone strikes and will increasingly infiltrate state-level decision-making on whether to wage war. The spectre of future iterations of these intelligent machines surpassing human capacities, and escaping human control, has recently received a surge in attention as an approaching existential threat. Yet, this future-focused fear obscures a grave and insidious challenge that is already here.

A neglected danger that already-existing AI-enabled weapons and decision-support systems pose is that they change how we (as citizens, soldiers, and states) deliberate, how we act, and how we view ourselves as responsible agents. This has potentially profound ethical, political, and even geo-political implications – well before AI evolves to a point where some fear that it could initiate algorithmic Armageddon. Professor Erskine will argue that our reliance on AI-enabled and automated systems in war threatens to create the perception that we have been displaced as the relevant decision-makers and may therefore abdicate our responsibilities to intelligent machines. She will conclude by asking how these risks might, in turn, affect hard-won international norms of restraint – and how they can be mitigated.

About the speaker

Toni Erskine is Professor of International Politics in the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs at The Australian National University (ANU) and Associate Fellow of the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence at Cambridge University. She is also Chief Investigator of the Defence-funded ‘Anticipating the Future of War: AI, Automated Systems, and Resort-to-Force Decision Making’ Research Project and a Founding Member and Chief Investigator of the ‘Humanising Machine Intelligence’ Grand Challenge at ANU. She serves as Academic Lead for the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP)/Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) ‘AI for the Social Good’ Research Project and in this capacity works closely with government departments in Thailand and Bangladesh. Her research interests include the impact of new technologies (particularly AI) on organised violence; the moral agency and responsibility of formal organisations in world politics; the ethics of war; the responsibility to protect vulnerable populations from mass atrocity crimes (‘R2P’); and the role of joint purposive action and informal coalitions in response to global crises. She is currently completing a book entitled Locating Responsibility: Institutional Moral Agency in a World of Existential Threats and is the recipient of the International Studies Association’s 2024 International Ethics Distinguished Scholar Award.

 

About John Gee

Dr John Gee AO served with distinction as an Australian diplomat in a number of countries. His greatest contribution, however, was in the field of disarmament, where he had a particular interest in chemical weapons. After a period as a Commissioner on the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq following the first Gulf War, he became Deputy Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague, serving there until 2003. In recognition of his achievements, Dr Gee was made a member of the Order of Australia in January 2007. Gee leaves behind a legacy and a memory of a great Australian.


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Department of International Relations 75th Anniversary Public Lecture Series

In 2023, the first Australian soldier was charged with war crimes stemming from the Brereton report's documentation of evidence of murders committed by Australian Special Forces in Afghanistan between 2007 and 2012. This charge represents an important development, but falls short of what a true moral reckoning with the report requires from the Australian Defence Forces (ADF), the Australian Government, and the Australian people. Focusing blame and responsibility primarily on the perpetrators serves to deflect media, political, and social attention away from questions about the relationship between the war crimes and the military culture of the ADF and Special Forces, and from questions about the victims of these crimes and their communities, and whose perspectives should take moral priority in our thinking.


About the speaker
Jessica Wolfendale is Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University. She is the author of War Crimes: Causes, Excuses, and Blame (with Matthew Talbert, Oxford University Press, 2019), Torture and the Military Profession (2007), co-editor of New Wars and New Soldiers: Military Ethics in the Contemporary World (2011), and has published numerous articles and book chapters on topics including security, torture, terrorism, bioethics, and military ethics. Her work has appeared in journals including Ethics and International Affairs, the Journal of Political Philosophy, Res Philosophica, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, American Journal of Bioethics, and the Journal of Military Ethics. She is currently working on a book on torture and terrorism in America. See more of Jessica's research here: https://philpeople.org/profiles/jessica-wolfendale

About the chair
Luke Glanville
 
is Professor in the Department of International Relations at The Australian National University. Luke's research spans past and present thought and practice regarding international protection against atrocities, refugee protection, refugee exclusion, questions of rights, responsibilities, and prioritization, and questions of colonial conquest. He is the author ofPrioritising Global Responsibilities (Oxford University Press, with James Pattison, 2021), Sharing Responsibility: The History and Future of Protection from Atrocities (Princeton University Press, 2021), Refuge Reimagined: Biblical Kinship in Global Politics (InterVarsity Press, with Mark R. Glanville, 2021), and Sovereignty and the Responsibility to Protect: A New History (University of Chicago Press, 2014), winner of the Australian Political Science Association Crisp Prize (2016) and CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title Award (2014). See more of Luke's research here: https://researchprofiles.anu.e...


 

This lecture is held as part of a series celebrating the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Department of International Relations, located within the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs at The Australian National University. You can find more information about the Department’s history and the other activities being held to mark the anniversary throughout 2024 here.

Amy King and Wenting He explore the enduring concept of 'self-reliance' (zili gengsheng) in Chinese political discourse over a century.

CHINA, DEVELOPMENT AND INTERNATIONAL ORDER SEMINAR SERIES

The idea of ‘self-reliance’ (zili gengsheng) has endured in Chinese political discourse for nearly a century, transcending profound changes in China’s political, economic, and strategic circumstances. While ‘self-reliance’ is frequently misinterpreted as economic isolation or autarky, we instead show that ‘self-reliance’ has always been comprised of three interlocking pillars: autonomy, interdependence, and order-shaping. These three pillars sit in tension with one another, and yet have accommodated and co-existed with one another since the earliest articulations of the idea. Drawing on discursive institutionalism and its understanding of ‘ideational resilience’, we argue that this tripartite structure, replete with internal contradictions, has enabled Chinese leaders since the Republican era to reinterpret and usefully deploy the idea of ‘self-reliance’. Our findings underscore the resilience of key Chinese foreign economic policy ideas; and the ideational logic driving Xi Jinping’s apparently contradictory pursuit of ‘technological self-reliance’, open global markets, and greater connectivity with the developing world.

 

About the speakers

Amy King is an Associate Professor in the Strategic & Defence Studies Centre at The Australian National University, and Deputy Director (Research) in the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs. She is the author of China-Japan Relations after World War Two: Empire, Industry and War, 1949-1971 (Cambridge University Press, 2016). The holder of an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellowship and a Westpac Research Fellowship, she leads a team researching China’s role in shaping the international economic order.

Wenting He is a PhD candidate in International Relations at The Australian National University. Her PhD project investigates how China’s ambiguous understanding of market-state relations has shaped its interpretations of economic crises and subsequent engagement with international economic order. Her recent publications unpack the constructive ambiguity of national interest in the context of U.S.-China relations.


About the chair

Wesley Widmaier is a Professor of International Relations at The Australian National University. His research addresses the interplay of wars, crises, and change – and the ways in which stability can cause instability, a concern that spans International Political Economy and International Security debates. He is the author of Presidential Rhetoric from Wilson to Obama: Constructing Crises, Fast and Slow (Routledge, 2015) and Economic Ideas in Political Time: The Rise and Fall of Economic Orders from the Progressive Era to the Global Financial Crisis (Cambridge University Press, 2016). Previously he was a Section Chair of the International Political Economy section of the International Studies Association.



If you require accessibility accommodations or a visitor Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan please contact the event organiser.
 

 

This seminar series is part of a research project on How China Shapes the International Economic Order, generously funded by the Westpac Scholars Trust and the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, and led by A/Professor Amy King from the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs.

Discussing AI, Automated Systems, and the Future of War Seminar Series

Experts agree that future warfare will be characterized by countries’ use of military technologies enhanced with Artificial Intelligence (AI). These AI-enhanced capabilities are thought to help countries maintain lethal overmatch of adversaries, especially when used in concert with humans. Yet it is unclear what shapes servicemembers’ trust in human-machine teaming, wherein they partner with AI-enhanced military technologies to optimize battlefield performance. In October 2023, Dr Lushenko administered a conjoint survey at the US Army and Naval War Colleges to assess how varying features of AI-enhanced military technologies shape servicemembers’ trust in human-machine teaming. He finds that trust in AI-enhanced military technologies is shaped by a tightly calibrated set of considerations including technical specifications, namely their non-lethal purpose, heightened precision, and human oversight; perceived effectiveness in terms of civilian protection, force protection, and mission accomplishment; and, international oversight. These results provide the first experimental evidence of military attitudes for manned-unmanned teams, which have research, policy, and modernization implications.


About the speaker
Lieutenant Colonel Paul Lushenko,
 PhD is an Assistant Professor and Director of Special Operations at the US Army War College. In addition, he is a Council on Foreign Relations Term Member, Senior Fellow at Cornell University's Tech Policy Institute, Non-Resident Expert at RegulatingAI, and Adjunct Research Lecturer at Charles Sturt University. He is the co-editor of Drones and Global Order: Implications of Remote Warfare for International Society (2022), which is the first book to systematically study the implications of drone warfare on global politics. He is also the co-author of The Legitimacy of Drone Warfare: Evaluating Public Perceptions (2024), which examines public perceptions of the legitimacy of drones and how this affects countries’ policies on and the global governance of drone warfare.

About the chair
Emily Hitchman is the Research Officer on the Anticipating the Future of War: AI, Automated Systems, and Resort-to-Force Decision Making project. Emily is a PhD scholar at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre focussing on the history of the Glomar (‘neither confirm nor deny’) response in the national security context. She is also a 2023 Sir Roland Wilson Scholar, and has appeared on the National Security Podcast speaking about her research, and as a panellist at the 2022 Australian Crisis Simulation Summit speaking about the future of intelligence. Emily has worked professionally across the national security and criminal justice public policy space, including in law enforcement and cyber policy, and holds a Bachelor of Philosophy from The Australian National University.

This seminar series is part of a two-year (2023-2025) research project on Anticipating the Future of War: AI, Automated Systems, and Resort-to-Force Decision Making, generously funded by the Australian Department of Defence and led by Professor Toni Erskine from the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs.


If you require accessibility accommodations or a visitor Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan please contact bell.marketing@anu.edu.au.

You are warmly invited to the launch of Defence Industry in 'National Defence': Rethinking the Future of Australian Defence Industry Policy.

You are warmly invited to the launch of

Defence Industry in 'National Defence': Rethinking the Future of Australian Defence Industry Policy

Building the Australian defence industry is critical for our national security in a geopolitically contested era. But our current paradigm for defence industry was built in a different era, and needs to be updated to reflect our contemporary environment.

This report examines how Australia should reframe defence industry policy by drawing lessons from five peer countries: Sweden, France, the UK, Israel and Canada.

While facing different strategic circumstances, their experiences illustrate how the possession of an independent but internationally linked defence industry is itself an asset during a period where the risk of major conflict is rising.

Their experiences offer pertinent lessons for Australia. This report identifies several factors that shape effective policy, argues that a fundamental rethink of Australian defence policy is required, and offers five recommendations.
 

SPEAKERS:

  • Innes Willox, CEO, Australian Industry Group
  • Professor Brian Schmidt, Vice-Chancellor, ANU
  • Kate Louis, Executive Director, Defence Council, Australian Industry Group
  • Professor Stephan Frühling, Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, ANU
  • Chaired by Professor Helen Sullivan, Dean, ANU College of Asia & the Pacific.

 

DETAILS:

  • DATE: Monday 18 Dec 2023 
  • TIME: 10 - 11am
  • VENUE: Cinema, Kambri Cultural Centre, The Australian National University, 153 Tangney Rd, Acton, ACT 2601.

The launch will be followed by morning tea.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND: Scholars, graduate students, policymakers and practitioners working in the fields of Defence and Strategic Studies.

SHARE: You are very welcome to share this invitation with your colleagues and networks in industry government, the APS and academia.

 

REGISTER: Please register your attendance here, no later than Wednesday 13 December 2023.

 

This event is cohosted by the Australian Industry Group (AIG) and the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre (SDSC) in the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs at ANU.

Image: HMAS Arunta and Naval Ship Management personnel on board the ship during its docking scheduled refit at Garden Island Defence Precinct, Sydney. Credit: Defence Imagery, LSIS Susan Mossop.

Event Speakers

Innes Willox, CEO, Australian Industry Group

Innes Willox

CEO, AIG
He joined AIG in ‘08 as Director of Government Affairs and became CEO in '18. He has served as Australian Consul General to Los Angeles and was Chief of Staff to the Minister for Foreign Affairs  Alexander Downer. Previously a journalist at The Age as Chief of Staff (Melb) & Chief Political Correspondent (CBR).

Professor Brian P. Schmidt

Professor Brian P. Schmidt, AC FAA FRS

Vice-Chancellor, ANU
Brian Schmidt is one of Australia's most eminent scientists. Winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, he spent most of his academic career as an astrophysicist before becoming VC. He makes a significant contribution to public debate via media, and through bodies incl. the PM’s National Science & Technology Council.

Kate Louis, AIG

Kate Louis

Executive Director, Ai Group Defence Council
Kate joined AIG in 2017 following an extensive career in the Department of Defence gaining experience in Defence capability development, acquisition, contestability and industry policy, finishing as First Assistant Secretary of the Defence Industry Policy Division.

Stephan Frühling
Professor

Professor Stephan Frühling teaches and researches at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre of The Australian National University and has widely published on Australian defence policy, defence pl

Helen Sullivan is a public policy researcher, teacher, advisor, and senior university leader.

AI, Automated Systems, and the Future of War Public Lecture Series

One pressing challenge posed by artificial intelligence (AI) is that its use may weaken democratic accountability for national security decisions, including the resort to force. Military and intelligence decisions are highly consequential, but paradoxically can be the most difficult for legislatures and courts to oversee because they are often classified. To ensure that executive actors adhere to the public law values of accountability, rationality, and legality, we also rely on additional, less predictable tools such as leaks, technology companies, and pressure from foreign allies. Even with these additional tools, many decry the “black box” nature of national security decision-making and the polity’s ability to constrain the Executive when it makes poor policy choices or acts unlawfully.

The rise of AI systems to enable national security decision-making – or even make autonomous decisions – will deepen this critique, because it is difficult to understand how AI algorithms reach their conclusions. Some refer to these algorithms as “black boxes,” because programmers and users generally cannot access the algorithms’ internal processes or the basis for their predictions. Military and intelligence agencies in some democracies have already begun to use AI. But how can we be confident that these AI systems comport with our laws and values? Will national security officials retain the power to override algorithmic decisions and, if so, when and how? The widespread use of AI will render national security choices inside democracies even more opaque – not only to the public, but also to those on the receiving end of the government’s national security actions, allies, legislative overseers, and even the officials making the security decisions. This “double black box” raises critical challenges for democratic accountability and for the existing international legal regime that regulates states’ use of force.

The talk will define and explore the “double black box” phenomenon, analyse its costs and benefits, and identifies ways that policymakers, military and intelligence officials, and lawyers in democratic states such as the United States and Australia can reap the advantages of advanced technologies without surrendering their rule of law values.


About the speaker
Ashley Deeks is the Class of 1948 Scholarly Research Professor at the University of Virginia Law School.  Her primary research and teaching interests are in international law, national security, intelligence, and the application of new technologies to those fields. She writes about the use of force, executive power, government secrecy, and the intersection of national security and AI, and she is the co-author of a leading casebook on foreign relations law. She is an elected member of the American Law Institute, a member of the State Department’s Advisory Committee on International Law, and a contributing editor to the Lawfare blog.  She recently served as Special Assistant to the President, Associate White House Counsel, and Deputy Legal Advisor to the National Security Council. Before joining UVA, she served for ten years in the U.S. State Department’s Office of the Legal Adviser, including as the embassy legal adviser at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad during Iraq’s constitutional negotiations. Deeks received her J.D. with honors from the University of Chicago Law School, where she was elected to the Order of the Coif and served as an editor on the Law Review. After graduation, she clerked for Judge Edward R. Becker of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.


About the chair
Toni Erskine is Professor of International Politics in the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs at The Australian National University and Associate Fellow of the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence at Cambridge University. She is currently Chief Investigator of this two-year research project on ‘Anticipating the Future of War: AI, Automated Systems, and Resort-to-Force Decision Making’ funded by the Australian Department of Defence. Her research interests include the ethics of war and the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) and human-machine interation on organised violence. Professor Erskine is the recipient of the International Studies Association’s 2024 International Ethics Distinguished Scholar Award.
 

This Public Lecture Series, ‘AI, Automated Systems, and the Future of War’, is part of the two -year (2023-2025) research project on Anticipating the Future of War: AI, Automated Systems, and Resort-to-Force Decision Making, generously funded by the Australian Department of Defence, and led by Professor Toni Erskine from the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs.


If you require accessibility accommodations or a visitor Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan please contact bell.marketing@anu.edu.au.

How best should key strategic partners in Asia and Europe meet their future defence and security needs in a world that offers less policy space and more complex problems? This project examines four significant cases – Japan, Singapore, Germany, and the UK – which share many contemporary security challenges.

How best should key strategic partners in Asia and Europe meet their future defence and security needs in a world that offers less policy space and more complex problems?

This project examines four significant cases – Japan, Singapore, Germany, and the UK – which share many contemporary security challenges.

The launch event will feature a roundtable discussion with the project leads and their country rapporteurs presenting their findings about how those countries mobilise power and exercise statecraft within a world that gives them less control over the outcomes they want to achieve.

SPEAKERS

  • Professor Jochen Prantl, ANU
  • Professor Evelyn Goh, ANU
  • Professor Sven Biscop, Egmont–Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Dr. Yusuke Ishihara, National Institute for Defence Studies
  • Mr. Paul Chamberlain, ANU

Event Speakers

Jochen Prantl
Professor

Jochen Prantl joined ANU in November 2013.

Evelyn Goh
Professor

Evelyn Goh is the Shedden Professor of Strategic Policy Studies at the Australian National University, where she is also Research Director at the Strategic & Defence Studies Ce

Paul Chamberlain
PhD Scholar

Paul Chamberlain is a PhD scholar at The Australian National University, located at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre in the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs.

Professor Sven Biscop

Professor Sven Biscop

Egmont-Royal Institute for International Relations

Yusuke Ishihara

Dr Yusuke Ishihara

Senior Fellow, Global Security Division
National Institute for Defense Studies

Workshop with Prof Stephan Fruehling, LtCol James Groves, staff from the Army’s Research Centre and your fellow ANU researchers, for a light lunch and a brainstorming workshop focusing on the research priorities for the Australian Army Research Centre’s (AARC) Fellowship program, and other research grants available through Army.

You are warmly invited to join a workshop exploring the relevance of your research for the research priorities of the Australian Army, and relevant funding opportunities.

  • DATE: Thursday 19 Oct 2023
  • TIME: 12 - 2pm
  • VENUE: Canberry-Springbank Room in the J.G. Crawford Building, Building #1332, Lennox Crossing, ANU, Acton, ACT 2601.
  • WHO SHOULD ATTEND: ANU academics who would like to explore research collaboration opportunities with the Australian Army.

You may never have considered your research to be of interest and value to Army. Army's main research challenges: (see the attached research priorities document for more information)

  • Advise and assist
  • mobilization
  • littoral manoeuvre
  • power and energy
  • quantum
  • autonomy and counter-autonomy

have wide-ranging implications that cover many disciplines across HASS and STEM; call for deep regional studies as well as conceptual underpinnings; and can benefit from comparative as well as direct approaches.  

Army regularly offers research grants, and ANU and the Army Research Centre are cooperating in an exciting fellowship program, through which ANU staff can spend time working with ARC staff in an Army context to generate highly relevant and impactful research and build enduring networks (see attached flyer). 

You are warmly invited to join fellow ANU researchers from across campus to participate in a workshop exploring how your own research is relevant to these topics, and explore research cooperation opportunities across campus and with Army.

The workshop will be led by: LtCol James Groves, National Security College (NSC); Prof Stephan Fruehling, Strategic and Defence Studies Centre (SDSC); as well as staff from the Australian Army Research Centre (AARC).

SHARE: Please share this invitation widely - your networks of fellow researchers from both HASS and STEM backgrounds are very welcome to join us.

REGISTER: Please register on this link, no later than Friday 13 October 2023. 

Further information:

While rentierism, tactical politics and coercion can come together to strengthen a regime, that is not necessarily a given. In the Iraq case, rentierism and effects from political decision-making led to an increased reliance on coercion by ruling regimes to maintain power.

Drawing upon literature on rentier state theory, the politics of survival, and the role of coercion in state consolidation as well as the author’s experience in Iraq, this thesis addresses the question of how resource dependency, elite strategies to gain or maintain control, and coercion have shaped state cohesion in Iraq?

Given the broad academic interest in the persistence of authoritarianism in different country contexts and the effects of international intervention, the contribution of this thesis is its integration of different theories to allow for a richer discussion regarding how elite competition and international intervention can impact state development.

 

SPEAKER

John D. Moore
With over 20 years of experience across the Islamic world serving in a mix of development, security as well as energy sector roles, John’s research interests focus on the relationship between resource dependent economies, politics, security, and development outcomes.

Having first engaged on Iraq during the 1997-1998 period while with the US Department of Defense, he spent several years working on and living in the country during the 2003 – 2012 period. John is currently pursuing his doctoral degree, having earned a Masters Degree in Political Economy and International Security Studies from the Fletcher School at Tufts University, and a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs from the Virginia Military Institute.

 

Join via Zoom link
Meeting ID: 867 1834 3082
Password: 198184

There are recurrent debates in strategic studies that go back to Antiquity, before the word “strategy” even assumed its modern meanings.

They concern the role of chance, the role of higher forces (God, historical inevitability, having justice on one’s side…), the predictability of the outcome of battles and wars, and more recently, the nature of future wars. A key debate pitting the Clausewitzian School against Social Science Positivism but also against those interested mainly in International Relations Theories can also be traced back over the centuries: can strategic studies provide “principles of war” or prescriptions, or can they serve only to reflect on wars in general and a particular war so as to educate the minds of leaders who will have to judge and decide for themselves on what to do in each situation?

Beatrice Heuser is the Jeffrey Grey Visiting Professor at the Australian War College. She holds the Chair in IR at the University of Glasgow. She previously taught at the Department of War Studies, King’s College London; then at the University of Reading. She has also taught at French and German universities (most recently the universities of Sorbonne and Paris Panthéon-Assas, and at Sciences Po’ Paris). From 1997-1998 she worked at NATO HQ in Brussels. She holds degrees from the Universities of London (BA, MA), Oxford (DPhil), Marburg (Habilitation).

Her publications include The Evolution of Strategy (2010), Reading Clausewitz (2002), Strategy before Clausewitz (2017), with Eitan Shamir (eds) Insurgencies and Counterinsurgencies: National Styles and Strategic Cultures (2017) and, most recently, WAR: A Genealogy of Western Ideas and Practices (2022). She has also worked for the Bundeswehr, most recently lecturing at its General Staff College (Führungsakademie) in Hamburg, is a Senior Associate Fellow, Royal United Services Institution, and a Visiting Fellow at the Royal Navy Strategic Studies Centre.

Discussing AI, Automated Systems, and the Future of War Seminar Series

Over a decade’s worth of discussions on the ethical and legal implications of AI-enabled weapons systems have yielded limited results. Complicating matters is the fact that, to date, the debate is marred not only by hyperbolic, speculative promises, but also by unhelpful conflations, imprecision of terms. It begins with the term ‘autonomy’ and stretches to concepts such as trust and responsibility. This is perhaps not surprising given the speed with which the technology develops and the fact that the debate is inherently trans-disciplinary in nature. Increasingly, however, the forms of the discussions on moral agency and responsibility take on the markers of technical discourse, even if they are held within a philosophical register. In such discussions, both human agency and machine agency are read through a technological lens wherein functional equivalences are drawn between the two, to make one fit the other. This move takes us further away from understanding moral concerns as distinctly human social concerns, and further into the terrain of thinking about ethics as a purely technological problem that can be solved with more attentiveness to technology rather than to human relations and creates blind-spots in the debate on moral responsibility for AI-enabled lethal weapon systems.


About the speaker
Dr Elke Schwarz
 is Reader (Associate Professor) in Political Theory at Queen Mary University London. Her research focuses on the intersection of ethics of war and ethics of technology with an emphasis on unmanned and autonomous / intelligent military technologies and their impact on the politics of contemporary warfare. She is the author of ‘Death Machines: The Ethics of Violent Technologies’ (Manchester University Press), is an RSA Fellow, a member of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control (ICRAC), 2022/23 Fellow at the Center for Apocalyptic and Post-Apocalyptic Studies (CAPAS) in Heidelberg and 2024 Leverhulme Research Fellow. Her work has been published in a number of philosophical and security-focused journals, including Ethics and International Affairs, Philosophy Today, Security Dialogue, Critical Studies on Terrorism and the Journal of International Political Theory and others. She is co-series editor for the Springer Verlag series: Frontiers in International Relations and Associate Editor for the Journal New Perspective.



This seminar series is part of a two-year (2023-2025) research project on Anticipating the Future of War: AI, Automated Systems, and Resort-to-Force Decision Making, generously funded by the Australian Department of Defence and led by Professor Toni Erskine from the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs.

If you require accessibility accommodations or a visitor Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan please contact bell.marketing@anu.edu.au.

It is only natural that we see the ‘new Cold War’ through the lens of the old one. But how far is the new Cold War against China like the old one against the Soviet Union?

Today’s policies in Washington, Canberra and elsewhere are based on specific views of both the similarities and differences - views that underpin the prevailing optimism about how the contest will play out, and who will win.

In this lecture, Hugh will offer a different view of the similarities and differences which suggest that optimism about this new Cold War is misplaced.