Rory Medcalf

Nonresident Fellow
Areas of expertise

Indo-Pacific strategy; Australian security and foreign policy; Australia’s key security relationships including the Quad; strategic impacts of the rise of China and India; maritime security; nuclear issues

Rory Medcalf
Biography
Publications
News and media

Professor Rory Medcalf is a Nonresident Fellow at the Lowy Institute.

He has been Head of the National Security College (NSC) at the Australian National University since 2015. He has led the expansion of the College into policy engagement and futures analysis, as well as executive development, education and research. He was founding Director of the International Security Program at the Lowy Institute from 2007 to 2015.

Professor Medcalf worked as a senior strategic analyst with the Office of National Assessments (now the Office of National Intelligence). He was an Australian diplomat, with assignments in New Delhi, Tokyo and Bougainville. He has contributed to three landmark reports on nuclear arms control. His earlier work in journalism was commended in Australia’s leading media awards, the Walkleys, in 1991. He has been recognised as a thought leader internationally for his work on the influential Indo-Pacific concept, as articulated in his book Contest for the Indo-Pacific (released internationally as Indo-Pacific Empire).

Professor Medcalf was a member of the advisory panel on the Australian Government’s 2016 Defence White Paper. He is on the board of the National Foundation for Australia-China Relations, the ASEAN Regional Forum Register of Experts and Eminent Persons, and the scientific advisory council of the Finnish Institute for International Affairs. In 2022 he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to international relations and tertiary education.

The many questions about China’s Vanuatu ambition
The many questions about China’s Vanuatu ambition
Talk of a Chinese military base in Vanuatu should provoke tough questions in Australia, but not undue alarm.
Silent Invasion: the question of race
Silent Invasion: the question of race
Clive Hamilton challenges Australians to recognise the true victims of the Chinese Communist Party’s actions.
Doklam: Who won?
Doklam: Who won?
The superficial reading is that China essentially forced India into a humiliating backdown.
Commentary
Australia has outgrown paranoia in its relations with China
Originally published in the Australian Financial Review.Rory Medcalf
Commentary
China's influence in Australia is not ordinary soft power
Originally published in the Australian Financial Review.  Rory Medcalf
A question for alliance critics: What's your alternative?
A question for alliance critics: What's your alternative?
Alliance critics need to offer realistic alternatives; alliance advocates need a realistic plan for helping the alliance adjust to difficult times ahead.
Commentary
Dastyari shows foreign political donation ban needed
Originally published in The Australian Financial Review.Rory Medcalf
Commentary
China’s new tactic: playing by the rules at sea
Originally published in The AustralianAshley Townshend , Rory Medcalf
Shifting waters: China’s new passive assertiveness in Asian maritime security
Reports
Shifting waters: China’s new passive assertiveness in Asian maritime security
In this Report, Ashley Townshend and Lowy Institute Nonresident Fellow Professor Rory Medcalf examine China’s evolving maritime security conduct. They argue that China’s less…
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