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ASPI Professional Development

Mike Norris
Gillian Savage
Amanda Coghlan (until December 2019)
Grant Ferguson
Tony McCormack
David Millar
Anne Lyons
James Bronson
Declan Connor (until April 2020)
Julia Butler
Senior Fellows
Campbell Darby
Vice Admiral Tim Barrett AO CSC RAN (Ret’d)
William Paterson
David Feeney
Stephen Merchant
Steve Meekin

ASPI Professional Development (ASPI-PD) programs and workshops are short, intense and highly interactive, fostering close engagement between facilitators, expert presenters and participants to explore current and emerging policy challenges and build effective policymaking and strategic analysis skills. This experience is enhanced through our use of real-world scenarios, case studies, simulations and desktop exercises, in which participants address current and emerging strategic policy and operational issues. These practical exercises provide an opportunity for participants to directly develop and apply a range of strategic policy development skills, bringing context and meaning to the learning objectives and ensuring relevance for their current and future roles.

Delivered by a core team of specified personnel, ASPI-PD programs are supplemented by subject-matter experts from across ASPI and the Australian national security community. Facilitators and presenters include current and retired senior government and Defence personnel, leading industry experts and the best academics from across Australia and internationally.

ASPI-PD has the unique capability to build Australia’s capacity for strategic policy excellence. Programs are tailorable and designed to meet the needs of our government partners to deliver key outcomes on some of the most complex security and policy challenges. Bespoke program design ensures that facilitators and presenters are carefully matched to each activity so that participants engage with relevant experts, leading-edge thinking and best practice.

All programs are delivered in a purpose-built, state-of-the-art facility that enables open and candid discussion, reinforced through controlled swipe and coded access, which enables sensitive conversations to be conducted throughout the day, including during catered breaks.

Throughout 2019–20, ASPI-PD designed and delivered a diverse range of programs and services for government departments and agencies. We facilitated 13 workshops and intensive programs for 242 personnel, supporting the development of strategies, policies and frameworks.

Despite the difficulties presented by the Covid-19 crisis and the resulting postponement of several workshops, the ASPI-PD team pursued an active period of development and planning during which program content was updated in preparation for the resumption of activities, as well as designing, planning and developing new programs for 2020–21. We will continue to look for new opportunities over the next 12 months to expand our programs and deliver outcomes for Australian governments.

ASPI-PD is continuing to build on our existing programs and well-known reputation for collaboratively and innovatively applying our diverse expertise to design and deliver tailored, outcomes-driven programs and solutions. Taking advantage of emerging opportunities, ASPI-PD is looking to develop new programs to assist the evolving priorities and challenges facing government.

Key programs delivered in 2019–20 are highlighted below.

Crafting Better Policy for Improved Decision-Making workshops

The Crafting Better Policy workshops are delivered to Defence personnel in two variants: Strategy and Administration. The Strategy variant examines policy through the lens of Defence’s contribution to national and international security and government decision-making. The Administration variant focuses on developing internal Defence policy.

A third variant of the Crafting Better Policy workshop is tailored for delivery to Defence graduates. The workshop provides an effective introduction to Defence policymaking in the Canberra environment, stakeholder engagement, and the practical application of policymaking tools.

In 2019–20, ASPI-PD delivered two workshops for 31 Defence public service and military personnel. Workshop participants advised that the program and practical exercises vastly improved their understanding of policymaking.

Advanced Better Policy workshops

Advanced Better Policy workshops span two days and offer a more in-depth and hands-on experience. By expanding the workshop into two days, we were able to give participants greater insights into policy analysis and the opportunity to work with practical policymaking tools to a greater extent through a full-day, real-world practical scenario.

In 2019–20, ASPI-PD worked with Defence Strategic Policy to deliver two Advanced Better Policy workshops. Feedback from participants indicated that the course successfully consolidated and increased their knowledge of essential policymaking tools. Participants also stated that they believed the course should be an essential professional development program for policymakers and felt they benefited from this targeted training.

Focused workshops and programs

Focused workshops and programs are designed in partnership with individual government departments and agencies, groups or services to meet specific requirements and produce targeted outcomes.

They are designed to build discrete policy skills, provide direct support to the development of policies, frameworks, strategies and plans, develop and test new business models, or foster senior executive policy leadership.

In 2019–20, a one-day workshop was delivered for 11 Defence Strategic Policy personnel centred on the design of a new program combining leadership skills and strategic thinking within the group’s immediate policy environment.

ASPI-PD also designed and delivered a one-day workshop for the Australian Army that covered topics such as strategic planning, the current strategic environment and practical policy advice. Participants agreed that the workshop enhanced their knowledge of Defence policy processes and how Defence works within the whole of government.

A focused workshop was designed and delivered for the Military Strategic Plans Division within Defence. The program focused on developing a framework for critical stakeholder engagement.

ASPI-PD delivered a focused workshop for Defence Honours and Awards. The workshop facilitated the development of high-level policy and supporting guidance documents for the ADF and the Australian Public Service Rewards and Recognition Program. The 12 participants included key project leads, as well as essential stakeholders.

Invitation-only masterclass

ASPI-PD’s invitation-only masterclasses bring together subject-matter experts and senior leaders for an in-depth examination of an emerging strategic policy challenge facing Australia and to identify options to address that challenge. The theme and design for each masterclass are developed in close consultation with key stakeholders and target their highest priority challenges.
Senior ASPI staff, subject-matter experts and strategic leaders facilitate the day, which provides expert and timely advice and facilitates open and frank discussions on portfolio-wide issues in a non-public setting.

In 2019–20, ASPI-PD designed and developed a masterclass to address a challenge presented by the Chief of the Defence Force. However, due to the impact of Covid-19, the delivery of the masterclass was postponed.

Red teaming

Red teaming is designed to test and evaluate the development of strategies, policies, frameworks and strategic-level plans. In 2019–20, a red teaming exercise was delivered to Defence’s Military Strategic Plans Division to establish and test effective policymaking processes. Participants were guided by highly experienced facilitators and guest presenters who provided expert insight into whole-of-government interactions.

Royal Australian Air Force professional development

In 2019–20, ASPI-PD partnered with the RAAF to design and deliver two levels of tailored professional development: a 10-day senior officer program and an 11-day junior officer program.

Senior Officer Professional Development Program—Niagara

ASPI-PD designed the Niagara program for senior air force personnel. Unfortunately, due to the limits imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2019–20 program was pushed back to 2020–21. Details are currently being finalised in preparation for delivery in September 2020.

Junior Officer Professional Development Program

ASPI-PD designed and delivered two sessions of the Air Practitioners in a Joint Environment program for RAAF officers selected for the Australian Command and Staff Course.

This 11-day program was designed to enhance the air power mastery of high-performing squadron leaders and to prepare them for attendance at the Australian War College Command and Staff Course in the following year. It provided participants with the knowledge, tools, context and awareness to communicate with influence on air power and developed participants’ strategic comprehension, thinking and communication skills. The program also included an essay-writing and expert mentorship element to assist participants with their academic skills.

Feedback provided by participants demonstrated an appreciation for ASPI’s access to an impressive range of expert speakers, as well as acknowledging how valuable the course was for their professional development by expanding their understanding of government processes and current domestic and international issues.

Services Australia Shared Services Cyber Security Governance Framework

In 2018–19, ASPI-PD and staff from ICPC commenced a focused program of work with the Department of Human Services (now Services Australia) supporting the development of a model and framework for cybersecurity shared services governance. The framework guides Services Australia and its partners in the development, standardisation and delivery of cybersecurity governance for shared services across smaller portfolio or functionally alike government agencies.

Phase 1 of this project, completed in June 2019, included the development of the governance model and initial draft of the framework in consultation with key stakeholders. Phase 2, which concluded in June 2020, included in-depth research, interviews and a series of workshops designed to facilitate broader stakeholder engagement and to finalise the model and framework for cybersecurity shared services governance and the development of implementation guidance.