In March 2011, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard recognised the importance of the Australia–United States alliance by funding the three-year Alliance 21 project. Led by the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, the project has enlisted 50 prominent strategic thinkers on both sides of the Pacific to identify the new challenges and opportunities, and set out policies for reinforcing US–Australia links and fostering future benefits. The project is providing analysis and strategic direction across six themes: Defence and security, Education and Innovation, Emerging Asia, Energy Security, Natural resources and the Environment and Trade and Investment. ASPI’s Andrew Davies and Mark Thomson are among the experts from both sides of the alliance who have participated in the Defence and Security theme, led by Professor Russell Trood Adjunct Professor, Defence and Security Program, United States Studies Centre and former ASPI Council member. The participants in Defence and Security workshops in Canberra last year and recently in Washington DC have produced a series of draft papers that will inform the later development of the project. The Strategist is pleased to be able to present over the next few weeks a series of posts that distil the key points of those papers. As the papers are finalised and made available, we’ll provide links to them in our weekly ‘ASPI suggests’ column.