Top five episodes of the National Security Podcast

18 January 2021

Relive your favourite National Security Podcast episodes from a tumultuous year for policymakers.

Whether you’re lazing about the house and hankering for a summer podcast or have the back to work blues and need something more than coffee to survive your morning commute, the Policy Forum team have a solution – our top podcast episodes of 2020. Today we continue our countdowns with the top five most popular episodes of the National Security Podcast.

The countdown brings with it some of Australia’s biggest names in the national security community. Looking back on a turbulent 2020, we invite you to indulge in this fine selection of some of our best episodes covering COVID-19, information warfare, Australia’s defence strategy, and the history of signals intelligence.

5. Geopolitics in a time of great distraction

2020 presented national security policymakers with plenty of difficult issues to tackle: COVID-19, tensions with China, and growing chaos in the United States around the presidential election. Jacob Shapiro from Perch Perspectives Geopolitical Consulting joined Chris Farnham on the year’s fifth most popular episode to take a look at geopolitics in a changing world. Listen here.

4. Information warfare with Marcus Thompson

In 2017, Australia formed its first Information Warfare Division (IWD) in the Department of Defence. Tasked with achieving information superiority over Australia’s adversaries and gaining an advantage which can be exploited in the traditional air, land, and sea domains, the IWD is headed up by Major General Marcus Thompson. Three years into its life, the IWD has overcome many challenges, but what threats and opportunities are on the horizon? Coming in at number four on our list, Katherine Mansted was joined by Major General Thompson in this episode to discuss the nature of information warfare in the 21st century, and how it fits within Australia’s broader defence mission. Listen here.

3. Securing Australia with Duncan Lewis

This special podcast with former ASIO Director General of Security Major General (Ret’d) Duncan Lewis was recorded as a part of National Security College’s 10th Anniversary Conversation Series. Speaking with Head of the National Security College Professor Rory Medcalf, the former ASIO chief reflected on the decision to create the National Security College and shared some valuable lessons from a lifetime of service in Australia’s national security community. Listen here.

2. Australian Signals Directorate’s Rachel Noble on securing the nation

Has cybersecurity fundamentally altered the nature of Australian Signals Directorate (ASD)’s focus on intelligence collection and information protection? ASD Director-General Rachel Noble PSM joined Rory Medcalf on the second most popular episode of the year to dig into the history of signals intelligence in Australia, who ASD spies on and why, and the struggle of adapting to new security threats. Listen here.

1. Australia’s Defence Strategy Update

On 1 July, Australia officially updated its defence strategy with the 2020 Defence Strategy Update and Force Structure Plan. Citing the deterioration of its regional security environment and enhanced offensive capabilities among its potential adversaries, it calls for an upgrading of Australia’s defence hardware. So, is offensive deterrence a new strategy for Australia, and could increased war-fighting capabilities drive an arms race in the region?

In our most popular episode of 2020, we were joined by a stellar panel – Gai Brodtmann, former Shadow Assistant Minister of Cyber Security and Defence Personnel, Brendan Sargeant from ANU Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, and Professor Rory Medcalf – who took a closer look at the new strategy to uncover what you really need to know about Australia’s defence future. Listen here.

What issues would you like to see covered on National Security Podcast in 2021? Leave us a comment below or share your thoughts via Twitter.

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