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Media Release - Minister of Defence

Hugh White is to be the first Director of Australia's new strategic and defence policy think-tank, The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI). 

ASPI has been established by the Government as an independent source of information and ideas on Australia's defence and strategic needs. It will focus on practical policy issues and offer specific proposals. 

Australia faces major strategic and security challenges in our own region, in the wider Asia-Pacific and from global trends including terrorism and people-smuggling. 

ASPI will stimulate debate on our defence choices and provide Government with fresh views and perspectives on difficult issues. 

It will introduce a new element of contestability in the policy advice available to Government on defence issues. 

Defence and other Commonwealth agencies provide excellent advice to Government, but more diversity and competition will help ensure that old ideas do not outlive their usefulness, and new ideas are evaluated on their merits. 

Hugh White has worked on strategic and defence issues for many years, as an intelligence analyst, journalist, ministerial adviser and senior Defence official. 

As Deputy Secretary for Strategy in the Defence Department from 1995 to 2000, he has been a key adviser to government, principal author of a number of recent policy documents and an important contributor to the Defence 2000 White Paper. 

ASPI has been set up as a Company Limited by Guarantee. 

The directors of the Company are appointed by the Government, but are given full and independent authority to steer the activities of the Institute to achieve its objectives. 

I announced the membership of the board on 5 July 2001. 

The Institute is non-partisan, and enjoys the full support of both the Government and the Opposition. 

One position on the Board is filled by a nominee of the Leader of the Opposition. 

Under a seven year funding agreement, the Institute will receive funding from the Government of between $2.1m and $3m per annum, and will also seek funding from other sources. 

ASPI's work program will cover the full range of strategic and defence policy issues, including strategy, force development and management. 

It will produce a substantial program of published research and conduct seminars and workshops. 

ASPI will work with a small core staff of around six people. 

Most of its research will be contracted out to experts in academia, the media, industry and elsewhere in the community, as well as from those with experience in Government and the ADF.

Date: Thursday, 11 October 2001 
By: Australian Strategic Policy Institute