Defence & Security through an Indo-Pacific lens

About the Institute

The Defence and Security Institute (DSI) is an initiative by The University of Western Australia (UWA). Hosted at UWA the DSI unifies and focusses UWA’s expertise in defence and security research, engagement, and education.

Defence and security provides the foundation of our nation’s sovereignty. In an era of rapidly evolving geopolitics this critical area of national policy sits at the forefront of government and public debates.

The DSI plays a central role in helping to develop Australia’s sovereign defence capabilities in WA by working with local, state and federal governments, industry and business, research institutions and the community to help generate solutions towards a peaceful, prosperous and secure Australia and Indo-Pacific region.


Black Swan Strategy Series

The Black Swan Strategy Papers are the flagship publication of the UWA Defence and Security Institute (DSI). They represent the intersection between Western Australia and strategic studies – both of which are famous for their black swans. The series aims to provide high-quality analysis and strategic insights into the Indo-Pacific region through a defence and security lens.

The Latest

BBC World News | Pacific security and China’s strategic reach featuring Professor Peter Dean

What we’re seeing here is a pattern of development from China as their power in the region expands. Therefore, their reach is basically spanning into the far flung reaches of the South Pacific, and they’re looking at economic cooperation and hinting towards security cooperation as well. We’ve seen this as part of a pattern of China’s strategic reach.

Asia Rising | Australia votes 2022: Our place in the region featuring Peter Dean

As Australians head to the voting booth, much of this election has focused on our regional relationships and our place in the global order. Many have labelled this a 'khaki election', with national security becoming a major election issue. The campaign so far has been dominated by regional issues, particularly the fallout of China's pact with the Solomon Islands.

The Interpreter | What went wrong? How Morrison lost control of the khaki election by Peter Dean

Two of the most recognised concepts from the great Prussian philosopher of war, Karl von Clausewitz are friction and chance. Clausewitz noted that friction “includes all those surprising things” that happen that make “even the simplest thing difficult”. Chance, meanwhile, is where “guesswork and luck come to play”.

Sky News | ‘Friction and chance’ playing against Coalition’s campaign | Remarks by Peter Dean

UWA Chair of Defence Studies Peter Dean says “friction and chance” are two key factors playing against the Coalition’s election campaign. Prof. Dean said the Solomon Islands deal became a chance element which has “really hurt the government” in any national security debate. “And in fact it’s turned it from a Coalition strength, I would argue in this campaign – to something not only can the Labor Party neutralise – but in fact turn to their advantage,” he told Sky News Australia.

The West Australian | How Australia risks regional irrelevance over its foreign policy by Peter Dean

What we learnt from the defence debate this week is that both sides of politics are united in their belief that Australia faces significant and enhanced risks in the international environment. As such they both believe that increasing defence spending is an important security benchmark.