SDSC 50th Conference Session 2: Strategic Thinking: Concepts and Challenges

2016 marks the 50th anniversary of SDSC’s founding and the 25th anniversary of the Cold War’s ending. To mark its 50th anniversary, and drawing inspiration from the 1980 event (‘New Directions in Strategic Thinking’), SDSC hosted this conference at ANU entitled ‘New Directions in Strategic Thinking 2.0’.

As in 1980, the conference in 2016 considers major trends which have taken place in strategic thinking since the ending of the Cold War, and where these developments might lead over the coming decade.


Emeritus Professor David Horner

Emeritus Professor, Strategic & Defence Studies Centre, The Australian National University

Professor Horner served for 25 years in the Australian Regular Army, including active service in South Vietnam. He joined SDSC in 1990, and in 1999 became Professor of Australian Defence History. Professor Horner is the author/editor of 32 books and numerous articles and book chapters on military history, strategy and defence. He was editor of The Army History Series,1994–2012, and was Head of the Australian Army’s Land Warfare Studies Centre, 1998–2002. In 2004 he was appointed Official Historian of Australian Peacekeeping, Humanitarian & Post-Cold War Operations, and in 2009 was appointed Official Historian of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO). Professor Horner was the joint winner of the 2015 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Australian History for his book The Spy Catchers: The Official History of ASIO, 1949-1963.


Professor Robert Ayson

Professor of Strategic Studies, Victoria University of Wellington

Professor Ayson is Professor of Strategic Studies at Victoria University of Wellington where he works closely with the Centre for Strategic Studies. In New Zealand he has also held academic positions with Massey University and the University of Waikato, and official positions with the New Zealand government as an intelligence analyst and select committee advisor. Professor Ayson is an Honorary Professor with the New Zealand Defence Force Command and Staff College, and an Adjunct Professor with The Australian National University’s Strategic & Defence Studies Centre, where he was Director of Studies from 2002 to 2009. Professor Ayson gained his PhD in War Studies as a Commonwealth Scholar at King’s College London and his MA as a Freyberg Scholar to ANU. His recent writings include Asia’s Security (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).

Professor Thomas Christensen

Professor, Princeton University

Professor Christensen is William P. Boswell Professor of World Politics of Peace and War and Director of the China and the World Program at Princeton University. At Princeton he is also Faculty Director of the Masters of Public Policy Program and the Truman Scholars Program. From 2006 to 2008, Professor Christensen served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs with responsibility for relations with China, Taiwan and Mongolia. His research and teaching focus is on China’s foreign relations, the international relations of East Asia, and international security. His most recent book The China Challenge: Shaping the Choices of a Rising Power (2015) was an Editors’ Choice in the New York Times Book Review and was selected as Book of the Week on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS. Before arriving at Princeton in 2003, Professor Christensen taught at Cornell University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He received his BA with Honours in History from Haverford College, MA in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania, and PhD in Political Science from Columbia University. Professor Christensen has served on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the National Committee on US–China Relations and as co-editor of the International History and Politics series at Princeton University Press. He is currently Chair of the Editorial Board of the Nancy B. Tucker and Warren I. Cohen book series on The United States in Asia at Columbia University Press. He is also a member of the Academic Advisory Board for the Schwarzman Scholars Program, a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a non-resident Senior Scholar at the Brookings Institution. In 2002, he was presented with a Distinguished Public Service Award by the United States Department of State.

Dr Nicola Leveringhaus

Lecturer in International Politics, Department of Politics, University of Sheffield

Dr Leveringhaus (nee Horsburgh) is a lecturer in International Politics based in the Department of Politics at the University of Sheffield in the UK. Prior to this appointment, from 2012 to 2015, Nicola was a British Academy post-doctoral fellow and Stipendiary College lecturer in International Relations (for Trinity College) in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford. Her research focuses on Chinese views of nuclear weapons, past and present, as well as ideas regarding nuclear responsibility in the global nuclear order. Her most recent book is China and Global Nuclear Order, from Estrangement to Active Engagement (Oxford University Press, 2015).

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