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The Strategic and Defence Studies Centre (SDSC) is a university centre that is situated in the Hedley Bull Centre at the Australian National University. It is Australia's oldest-established centre for the study of strategic, defence and wider security issues and a leading regional think tank on these topics. The Centre was established in 1966 by Professor T.B. Millar, then a senior fellow at the ANU's Department of International Relations, in order to "advance the study of Australian, regional, and global strategic and defence issues". The current head of SDSC is Brendan Taylor.
The key priorities of the SDSC are to "contribute to the national public debate on strategic, defence and wider security issues [...], foster regional dialogue and interactions on security questions [...], publish top quality scholarly research [and] deliver high-quality graduate teaching"
To do so, the SDSC publishes the peer-reviewed Canberra Papers on Strategy and Defence as well as the SDSC Working Papers. Additionally, it attracts highly regarded speakers (both from academia and the defence community) in its seminar and conference program. It awards high-performing PhD students with the Sir Arthur Tange PhD Scholarships in Strategic & Defence Policy (named in honour of the former Australian Secretary of Defence) and outstanding postgraduate students with the T.B. Millar Scholarship.
The SDSC staff gives frequent lectures and seminars for other departments within the ANU and other universities, as well as to various government departments. The Centre has also assisted Australia's major defence training institution, the Australian Defence College, with the strategic studies sections of its courses. Members of the Centre provide advice and training courses in strategic affairs to the Australian Department of Defence and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The SDSC, furthermore, delivers the Graduate Studies in Strategy and Defence Program and is host of the Boeing Library.
The staff of the SDSC has established professional links with other Australian and overseas universities and centres specialising in strategic and security issues as the Centre aims to foster an enhanced pattern of liaison through the exchange of ideas, personal contacts and, where appropriate, joint projects. The scholars at the SDSC do also provide expert commentary on important defence issues to the Australian and overseas media. Current staff include thinkers at the forefront of Australia's strategic debate, such as Prof. Hugh White, Prof. Desmond Ball, Prof. Paul Dibb, Prof. Joan Beaumont, Admiral Chris Barrie (former Chief of Defence Force), Dr. Daniel Marston, Dr. Ron Huisken, Dr. Stephen Frueling, Dr. Brendan Taylor, Dr. John Blaxland, Mr. Andrew Carr, Prof. David Horner, Dr. Peter Dean, Mr. Bob Breen, Dr. Garth Pratten, Dr. Ben Schreer, and Dr. Joanne Wallis.
The SDSC is part of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific, a non-governmental process for second track dialogue on security and defence issues in Asia Pacific.
The Boeing Library is a library based at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre. The library started in the 1960s and served as a small reading room for the staff of the SDSC, which was then a research centre only. With the assistance of an annual grant by Boeing Australia the library expanded in the late 1980s to include an extensive range of books and journals on defence policy and planning, military studies and regional security issues.
The Boeing Library is important to the academic and research staff at the Centre as well as at the ANU. Its holdings cover the following fields: Australian defence policy and planning, military studies, classical theorists on the causes and conduct of war, the laws of armed conflict, ethics and nuclear issues (like proliferation and arms control). The library keeps important collections on the United Nations and peacekeeping, and the politics, society and foreign and defence policies of the countries in the Asia-Pacific. It continues to subscribe to major strategic and defence journals which are not part of the main University library collection.
So far, the Boeing Library is not a borrowing library, but is open to the public for 'in-house' use during weekdays.
- About the Hedley Bull Centre http://ips.cap.anu.edu.au/hbc/
- Desmond Ball. 2006. 'Robert O'Neill: A strategic career', Australian Journal of International Affairs. 60(1):7
- Strategic and Defence Studies Centre - RSPAS, ANU - Asia Pacific Research
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