Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Saturday launched a new institution to provide postgraduate-level national security courses to government personnel and the public.
Established at the Australian National University (ANU), the new National Security College aimed to enhance Australia's defence capability through a range of academic, executive and professional development courses.
Courses would be led by ANU academics as well as external practitioners and think-tanks, providing leadership programs and collaborative opportunities for senior national security officials.
Students who met entry requirements for ANU's degree programs could also undertake studies towards a Master of National Security Studies degree, certificate, diploma or doctoral qualifications.
According to the National Security College's founding executive director Michael L'Estrange, IT had a significant role in national security.
"I think the application of technology in security will be a significant focus," he said, highlighting cybersecurity and transnational crime as areas of interest for the College.
L'Estrange, who was formerly Secretary of the Department of Foreign and Trade (DFAT), expected the college to attract personnel from agencies including DFAT, the Department of Defence, Australian Federal Police, Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
But "it's not just a matter of people in the defence sector being sent over to get qualifications," he said, noting that ANU's entry requirements would apply, and some - but not all - courses would also be open to members of the public.
"People will do these courses to improve their knowledge of all the strategic challenges that Australia faces in the area of national security," he told iTnews.
The National Security College was first announced in December 2009 as a joint venture between the Australian Government and the Australian National University.
It will receive $17.3m over four years from the Federal Government, with ANU providing facilities, staff, expertise and governance.
Currently, the College is seeking a few course coordinators and formal recognition of the new postgraduate degrees. A new building for the College is expected to open in late 2012.
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