‘Secret statecraft’ in the spotlight

In this episode of the National Security Podcast, Emily Hitchman and Dr William Stoltz join Professor Rory Medcalf to unpack what ‘secret statecraft’ means in the Australian context and why it should be studied more.


Call it intelligence, spying, or covert action, a whole realm of ‘secret’ statecraft operates out of the public eye in Australia, hidden by layers of classification, deniability, and secrecy. Yet — as the recent public address, celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, from Director-General Paul Symon highlighted — it’s becoming somewhat more transparent in the contemporary era. In this episode of the National Security Podcast, PhD scholar at ANU Strategic and Defence Studies Centre Emily Hitchman and Manager of Policy Engagement at ANU National Security College Dr William Stoltz join Professor Rory Medcalf to unpack what ‘secret statecraft’ means in the Australian context and why it deserves more attention from scholars and policymakers. They explore whether a reliance on the instruments of ‘secret statecraft’ make sense for Australia as a democratic middle-power, and if this form of statecraft operates within an existing social licence, or whether more needs to be done to build that license.


Emily Hitchman is a PhD scholar at ANU Strategic and Defence Studies Centre researching Australia’s use of the 'Neither Confirm Nor Deny' principle in the intelligence and security context. Emily has worked professionally across the national security and criminal justice public policy space, including in law enforcement and cyber policy.


Dr William A Stoltz is the Manager of Policy Engagement at ANU National Security College. He is a Visiting Fellow at the Robert Menzies Institute at the University of Melbourne, and an Associate Member of the Centre for the Study of Subversion, Unconventional Interventions and Terrorism at the University of Nottingham.


Professor Rory Medcalf is Head of ANU National Security College. His professional experience spans more than two decades across diplomacy, intelligence analysis, think tanks, and journalism.


For full show notes visit policyforum.net. We’d love to hear from you! Send in your questions, comments, and suggestions to NatSecPod@anu.edu.au. You can tweet us @NSC_ANU and be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out on future episodes. The National Security Podcast is available on AcastApple PodcastsSpotify, and wherever you get your podcasts. 


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