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The Institute for Regional Security

The Institute For Regional Security conducts a range of activities as part of our Thought Leadership Program.

Strategic Dialogue

The Strategic Dialogue Is an annual event designed to foster innovative thinking about the strategic security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region. The concept is simple; invite leading security decision-makers and strategic thinkers from Australia, Japan and the United States to focus on progressing a key security challenge.

This 1.5 track dialogue is the pre-eminent event on the national security calendar each year. It brings together senior uniformed and civilian officials from the military, senior government officials, heads of industry, academics and other subject matter experts from the three countries to collaborate. This collaboration is reflective of the desire for trilateral strategic and defence cooperation between the three nations. This is a closed-dialogue and participation is by invitation only.

A report is prepared and released at the conclusion of each Strategic Dialogue summarising the discussions, outcomes and policy recommendations.

Recent Strategic Dialogue themes include:

  • The Indo-Pacific: Strategic Implications and Challenges (2018). Access the report here.

  • Multi-dimensional Security: Integrating Regional Policies (2017). Access the report here.

  • Strategic Cooperation: Possibilities and Practicalities (2016)

Strategic Dialogue 2019 will explore the prospect of Conflict in the Indo-Pacific.

National Security Management Symposium

The National Security Management Symposium (NSM Symposium) is an off-site 2-day, 2-night conference for mid-career professionals who aspire to senior positions in the defence and national security domain. The symposium brings together mid-level officers with subject matter experts and senior leaders to develop their understanding of contemporary challenges and their policy implications.

The symposium provides a forum to explore disruptive and novel approaches to deal with these issues and allows the participants to benefit from the wide range of experience and background of others.  These interactions allow them to extend their personal networks in the national security community.

The format of the Symposium combines seminars delivered by subject matter experts, discussion sessions, a professional development workshop, an after-dinner address and informal networking activities. This format is designed to meet three key objectives:

  • To enable participants to test ideas and explore policy options relevant to the topic. 
  • To provide the means to both increase and enhance the capability of strategic policy staff to deliver high quality policy advice to Government. 
  • To extend personal networks to other parts of the national security community through interactions in sessions and during the informal gatherings over the course of the off-site retreat. 
Who attends?

The 40 participants in the Symposium are chosen and sponsored by their parent department, agency or organisation.


The inaugural NSM Symposium was held in 2018 with the topic: Home Affairs - A new framework. A report summarising discussions from NSM Symposium can be accessed here.

The topic for NSM Symposium 2019 will be: Climate Change - Impacts on Regional Security. Keep an eye on our Events Page for details about our upcoming program. 

Future Strategic Leaders' Congress

The Future Strategic Leaders' Congress is an opportunity for Future Strategic Leaders (FSL) to engage directly with senior national security leaders, industry heads, and leading thinkers around a central, strategic theme. This is one of the few opportunities to hear current leaders discussing critical strategic issues in an off-the-record fashion and represents a professional development experience like no other.

Set in the informal environment of ANU's Kioloa Coastal Campus, the weekend retreat consists of seminars, hypotheticals and workshops. In addition, there is plenty of time devoted to talking informally over meals, drinks and the firepit with speakers and like-minded colleagues.

Who should attend

The Future Strategic Leaders’ Congress should be a priority for young professionals employed or who aspire to work in the Australian national security community. The Congress program has been designed to build the strategic, analytical, leadership and networking skills of future strategic professionals.

The Future Strategic Leaders' Congress is held twice a year at the ANU Kioloa Campus, Kioloa (South Coast of NSW - half an hour north of Batemans Bay). The weekend-long program runs from 1700 Friday to 1300 on the Sunday.

Fees are GST inclusive and include two days’ accommodation, meals, drinks and program materials. All participants - including speakers and attendees - are encouraged to wear casual attire to maintain an atmosphere of informality.

Recent Congress topics

  • Space: Implications and opportunities for national security policy (Oct 2018)

  • The Rise of Complex Autonomous Systems: Current challenges for national security policy makers (May 2018)

  • Shaping the Future Security of the Region: Avenues to strengthen PNG-Australian relations (October 2017)

  • Innovation and Transformation in National Security (May 2017)

The theme for Congress May 2019 will be Antarctica and the Southern Ocean Keep an eye on our Events Page for details about our upcoming program. 



Next is your opportunity to shake and shape Australia's National Security thinking.

Next is an event for Future Strategic Leaders to produce and 

present a six-minute burst of fresh ideas, insights and thoughts to a high-powered audience of Defence and national security leaders, including current and former service chiefs, departmental and agency leaders, leading academics, and think-tank executives. It’s the kind of audience that normally has the podium. This time, it’s you – and they’re listening to what you have to say.

Keep an eye out on our Events Page for our annual call for speakers. It’s your opportunity to influence the future.


Security Challenges

Security Challenges is our vehicle for publishing innovative thinking about future security challenges to the security of Australia and the Indo-Pacific region. It is the only peer reviewed journal on future security issues published in Australia. Click here to find out more about Security Challenges and to access the Security Challenges journals.

The Regionalist

The regionalist is a research driven publication for young strategic thinkers in Australia and the broader region. Articles are between 1000 to 3000 words and are forward leaning articles that present polices and ideas to better equip policy makers to overcome future security challenges. Click here to find out more about The Regionalist and to access The Regionalist publication.  

Promoting Regional Security & Prosperity

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