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The Australian National University

National Security Executive Level 1 Development Program

Chinese soldiers

This interactive and practical two-week program will enhance your understanding of the national security community and the range of strategic challenges it faces. It explores these questions, alongside collaborative leadership and the national security policy framework, through facilitated discussion, syndicate workshops, hypothetical exercises and site visits. Additionally, it provides important professional collaborative networks as  your career advances. The program extends to national security community capability and capacity, federal and state responsibilities, and the system that supports policy and crisis decision- making. You’ll have the opportunity to consider the roles and responsibilities of agencies, and to reflect on current and future challenges facing professionals working on security issues. We aim to provide you with a greater understanding of strategy, planning and implementation in national security policymaking.

Who should attend the program?

This program is open to Executive Level 1 (EL1) officers/ADF Officers Levels 4/5 (or equivalent) of the national security community. State and Territory government officers are encouraged to nominate. A minimum SECRET (NV1) security clearance is required for this program.

(EL1) officers working in both traditional and non-traditional national security agencies and departments who are involved in policy, strategic planning, capability development or coordination will benefit from participation in this program. Some elements of the EL1 program are similar to those covered in the Introduction to Australia’s National Security Challenges and Policy-Making program. Officers who have attended an introductory program are encouraged to contact the College to discuss this program’s learning objectives prior to enrolment.

Program Scope and Content

The program analyses the concept of national security, considers the range of issues and challenges facing Australia’s national security community and focuses on the capability and capacity of the national security community to address those challenges. It covers federal and state responsibilities, the relevant whole-of-government architectures and processes and the measures in place to support policy and crisis decision-making. It provides an opportunity to consider the roles and responsibilities of national security agencies and departments and to reflect on current and future challenges for officers working on national security issues.
The program features case studies and facilitated discussion, and synthesises key themes through syndicate discussions and hypothetical exercises. There are also a number of site visits.

Outcomes and structure

Learning outcomes

  • Greater understanding of the national security challenges facing Australia and of the effect of recent changes to Australia's national security architecture.
  • Greater understanding of the principles underpinning strategy planning and collaborative leadership.
  • Formation of broad professional networks within the national security community.
  • Engagement with thought leaders and practitioners on national security policymaking.

Program overview

  • An enhanced understanding of the national security architecture including the capabilities, priorities and challenges of Australia's national security community.
  • A broad understanding of Australia's national security strategic environment and the forces of change affecting it.
  • Strategy planning knowledge.
  • An understanding of collaborative leadership in a multi-agency/jurisdictional setting.

Program details


2 week non-residential
Fully-catered program
ANU parking permit will be supplied
Limited on-campus accommodation is available for interstate participants
The fee for this program is $11,100 (GST exclusive) for Commonwealth participating agencies and NSC Partners. The open rate is $13,390 (GST exclusive). Please contact us for information about becoming an NSC Partner organisation.

Dates and venue

National Security College
Crawford Bldng #132, 1 Lennox Crs
The Australian National University

19 - 30 June 2017*
7 - 18 August 2017

*Program held depending on market demand.


Please contact us to obtain the nomination form and submit this, in line with individual departmental requirements and processes, to Nominations close two weeks prior to the commencement of the course.


“Having the luxury of thinking about the broad range of current and future issues over a two week period was invaluable. The format of the course allowed for a very collaborative approach and many opportunities to participate. I have been able to come back into my workplace with a much deeper understanding of many issues and to incorporate the knowledge into my work.” (EL1 course participant March 2015)


‘'The EL1 Development program was exceptional. The presenters and presentations are of the highest quality and the topics are wide-ranging from countering extremist issues to global warming and its impact on National Security. The presenters are Subject Matter Experts in their field, NSC are very up to date with technology and current issues and it shows with the course material and how it’s presented. The course was outstanding value for money and a worthy use of Commonwealth funds." (EL1 participant July/August 2015)

Download the program FLYER (PDF)


Updated:  27 April 2017/ Responsible Officer:  Head of College, National Security College/ Page Contact:  Web administrator, National Security College