View comment on CSCAP’s 9th General Conference held in Beijing on 2-4 December 2013
The Australian Member Committee of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (Aus-CSCAP) was established by Strategic and Defence Studies Centre (SDSC) at the Australian National University, as one of the founding members of CSCAP.
Aus-CSCAP has some 150 members, including former and current officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the Department of Defence, individuals from a dozen University and other research centres throughout Australia, Members of Parliament, journalists, and senior executives from Australian industry.
The Committee meets twice a year, to consider the major security issues facing Australia in the region. Aus-CSCAP members are also active in the various CSCAP Study Groups.
The biennial CSCAP General Conference has been an opportunity for Australia to influence the agenda of regional discussions and has been used in the past by the Australian Foreign Minister to make important keynote addresses in the region.
The network of officials, media, military and academic representatives that make up the membership of CSCAP provides Australia with an opportunity to influence attitudes and debate in the region on a range of foreign policy issues. We believe it also assists more broadly to build Australia into Asian regional processes.
The CSCAP network has assisted the development, for instance, of the 'Asialink Conversations' and also helped in inaugurating the Australia/New Zealand Dialogue with ASEAN-ISIS, the influential ASEAN network that had not in the past been open to such a formal relationship with Australia.
CSCAP is a non-governmental (second track) organisation to encourage discussion and dialogue on security issues in the Asia Pacific. Membership in CSCAP is on an institutional basis and consists of Member Committees. Current membership comprises Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Canada, China, the European Union, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and the USA.The functions of CSCAP are as follows:
- to provide an informal mechanism by which political and security issues can be discussed by scholars, officials, and others in their private capacities;
- to encourage the participation of such individuals from countries and territories in the Asia Pacific on the basis of the principle of inclusiveness;
- to organize various study groups to address security issues and challenges facing the region;
- to provide policy recommendations to various intergovernmental bodies on political-security issues;
- to convene regional and international meetings and other cooperative activities for the purpose of discussing political-security issues;
- to establish linkages with institutions and organizations in other parts of the world to exchange information, insights and experiences in the area of regional political-security cooperation; and
- to produce and disseminate publications relevant to the other purposes of the organization.
Study groups are the primary mechanism for CSCAP activity. At the beginning of 2013, there were several on-going CSCAP Study Groups. These are concerned with: (i) Countering the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Asia Pacific; (ii) Expert Group on Export Control of Nuclear Material; and (iii) Multilateral Security Governance in the North-east Asia/North Pacific. Other Study Groups such as (i) Cyber security; (ii) Security of Submarine Cables; (iii) Regional Security Architecture; and (iv) Humanitarian and Disaster Relief, are envisaged or recently concluded. Some 22 Study Groups have had their recommendations considered at Track One (ie.,inter-governmental) level since inauguration of CSCAP.
CSCAP's Study Groups and Experts Groups are the primary mechanism for CSCAP activity. These groups serve as a region-wide multilateral fora for consensus-building and problem solving and often address specific issues and problems that are too sensitive for official dialogue.
Study Groups generally meet twice per year and produce policy oriented reports of each meeting. At the completion of their term the Study Groups produce a Memorandum that outlines practical policy-oriented responses for consideration at the Track One (official) level.
Through these Study Groups CSCAP's research and analyses support and complement the efforts of regional governments and official multilateral dialogue mechanisms, such as the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), which routinely brings together senior foreign ministry and defense officials from throughout the Asia-Pacific to discuss regional security issues and concerns.
On-going Study Groups and Sub Groups:
Countering the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Asia Pacific
Co-Chairs: US CSCAP and CSCAP Vietnam.
Export Controls Experts Group (XCXG) a sub group of the Study Group on WMD
Chair: US CSCAP
The ideas and suggestions expressed by individuals from CSCAP member committees throughout the region at study group meetings are often published and circulated to regional decision and policy makers; particularly in the ARF, to provide a stimulus for further consideration and possible implementation.
The outcomes and recommendations of the various study groups, which are provided for Track 1 consideration, are summarised in the various CSCAP Memoranda.
- CSCAP Regional Security Outlook 2014 PDF 7.23MB
- CSCAP Regional Security Outlook 2013 PDF 10.6MB
- 'Australia in the Asian Century-Strategic Implications', March 2013, Australian National University
- 'From Asia-Pacific to Indo-Pacific: Rising Powers, Emerging Regions and Transformations in Governance' Sept 2012 Adeilaide University (Meeting Booklet PDF 627kb)
- 'Strategic Regional Architecture', March 2012 Australian National University (Meeting Booklet PDF 337kb; Record PDF 121kb)
- 'Indo-Pacific seen from Western Australia', Curtin University, Perth, West Australia, Nov 2012 (Meeting Booklet PDF 81kb; Record PDF 116kb)
Mr Angus Macdonald
School of Strategic and Defence Studies
ANU College of Asia & the Pacific
P 61 2 6125 9979
F 61 2 6125 9926
Professor Desmond Ball
Strategic and Defence Studies Centre
College of Asia and the Pacific
The Australian National University
Professor Anthony Milner
Basham Professor of Asian History
School of Culture, History and Language, College of Asia and the Pacific
The Australian National University