Australian Strategic Policy Institute

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Coordinates: 35°18′28″S 149°08′08″E / 35.30790°S 149.13559°E / -35.30790; 149.13559

Australian Strategic Policy Institute
40 Macquarie St Barton June 2012.JPG
ASPI's offices are located at 40 Macquarie Street in the Canberra suburb of Barton
Formation2001; 18 years ago (2001)
Purposethink tank
HeadquartersBarton, Canberra, ACT
FieldsDefence and strategic policy

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) is an independent and non-partisan defence and strategic policy think-tank based in Canberra, the Australian Capital Territory.


ASPI was first established in 2001 by the Australian Government under Prime Minister John Howard to provide "policy-relevant research and analysis to better inform Government decisions and public understanding of strategic and defence issues."[1] ASPI was officially launched at ANZAC Hall at the Australian War Memorial on March 13, 2002[2] by then Australian Minister for Defence, Sen the Hon Robert Hill.

ASPI's inaugural director was Hugh White AO, who served as director from 2001 to 2004. White was Deputy Secretary for Strategy and Intelligence at the Department of Defence between 1995 and 2000, and previously worked for the Office of National Assessments and as an adviser to Prime Minister Bob Hawke and Defence Minister Kim Beazley. White is now Professor of Strategic Studies at the Australian National University.

White was succeeded by Major General Peter Abigail AO (Retd) in April 2005. Abigail is a former senior Australian Army officer whose positions included Deputy Chief of Army (1998–2000) and Land Commander Australia (2000–02). Abigail served as Executive Director of ASPI until 2012.

Current leadership[edit]

In February 2012, the Minister for Defence Stephen Smith announced the appointment of Peter Jennings PSM as ASPI's new Executive Director.[3] Jennings assumed the role of Executive Director in May 2012 for a period of five years. He will remain in the position until 2017.

Jennings "has worked at senior levels in the Australian Public Service on defence and national security. Career highlights include being Deputy Secretary for Strategy in the Defence Department (2009-12); Chief of Staff to the Minister for Defence (1996-98) and Senior Adviser for Strategic Policy to the Prime Minister (2002-03)."[4]


ASPI was established by the Australian Government in 2001 as a company limited by guarantee under the 2001 Corporations Act.[5] ASPI receives partial funding from the Department of Defence "with other sources of revenue include sponsorship, commissioned tasks, a membership scheme, sale of publications, advertising and event registration fees."[6]

Research programs[edit]

The think-tank conducts research into a wide range of defence and strategic policy issues. Current specific research programs at ASPI include:


ASPI regularly publishes a range of different publications. ASPI currently publishes three different kinds of reports:

  • Strategies
  • Strategic Insights
  • Special Report

ASPI also publishes The Strategist, a daily analysis and commentary site. The Strategist aims to "provide fresh ideas on Australia's critical defence and strategic policy choices as well as encourage and facilitate discussion and debate among the strategy community and Australian public."[7]

ASPI staff often publish opinion articles in other media and research publications.


ASPI has been criticised for its apparent lack of independence and for consistently promoting pro-American and anti-Chinese views.[8] It has also been described by critics as behaving "like a foreign entity" and that it is "an active participant in the political debate".[9]

In October 2018, the ASPI was strongly criticised by the Australian Government's Digital Transformation Agency after it published a report into digital identity that "was inaccurate and contained many factual errors", and which "demonstrate a clear misunderstanding of how the digital identity system is intended to work".[10]


  1. ^ "Charter". Australian Strategic Policy Institute.
  2. ^ "Launch of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute". Australian Strategic Policy Institute. Archived from the original on 2016-05-07.
  3. ^ Smith, Stephen. "Minister for Defence". Archived from the original on 2012-05-10. Retrieved 2012-06-29.
  4. ^ "Peter Jennings". Australian Strategic Policy Institute.
  5. ^ "Company Constitution". Australian Strategic Policy Institute.
  6. ^ "About ASPI". Australian Strategic Policy Institute.
  7. ^ "About, The Strategist". Australian Strategic Policy Institute.
  8. ^ "Agents of influence — what about the Australian Strategic Policy Institute?". Michael West.
  9. ^ "JOHN MENADUE. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute.?". John Menadue.
  10. ^ "DTA attacks China-style social credit claims about Govpass digital identity?". IT News - Julian Bajkowski.

External links[edit]