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The Australian National University

Professor Rory Medcalf

Head of College, National Security College

Rory Medcalf


Professor Rory Medcalf has been Head of the National Security College at the Australian National University since January 2015. He has led the expansion of the College into policy engagement and futures analysis, in addition to its core work in education, executive development and research. His professional background involves almost three decades of experience across diplomacy, intelligence, think tanks and journalism, including as inaugural Director of the International Security Program at the Lowy Institute.

In government, Professor Medcalf worked as a senior strategic analyst with the Office of National Assessments, Canberra's peak intelligence analysis agency. He was also an Australian diplomat, with wide experience including a posting to New Delhi, a secondment to the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, truce monitoring after the civil conflict in Bougainville and policy development on Asian security institutions. He has contributed to three landmark reports on nuclear arms control: the 1996 Canberra Commission, 1999 Tokyo Forum and 2009 International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament. His journalism was commended in Australia’s leading media awards, the Walkleys, in 1991.
Professor Medcalf has been prominent in developing Australia's ties with India. He has been Associate Director of the Australia-India Institute and Senior Research Fellow in Indian Strategic Affairs at the University of New South Wales. He is the founding convener and co-chair of the Australia-India Policy Forum, an influential informal dialogue. He was also founding Australian convener of the Australia-France Strategic Dialogue and the Australia-UK Asia Dialogue.

Professor Medcalf was a member of the expert panel providing independent advice on the Australian Government's 2016 Defence White Paper. He was an early proponent of the Indo-Pacific concept of the Asian strategic environment. He also researches Australia’s security challenges, Indian security, China-India relations, and maritime and nuclear stability in the Indo-Pacific, on which he has secured major grants from the MacArthur Foundation and the Nuclear Threat Initiative.

Professor Medcalf is a member of the editorial boards of Asia Policy and the Australian Journal of International Affairs. He is a Non-resident Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy with the Brookings Institution in Washington DC and retains affiliations as a Non-resident Fellow with the Lowy Institute for International Policy and the Seapower Centre of the Royal Australian Navy. In 2017, he was appointed by the Australian Government to the ASEAN Regional Forum register of expert and eminent persons.
Professor Medcalf teaches the NSC's National Security in the Indo-Pacific and National Security Policymaking courses. Visit his researcher profile.


Updated:  20 February 2017/ Responsible Officer:  Head of College, National Security College/ Page Contact:  Web administrator, National Security College