US and Australian policy in an uncertain Indo-Pacific

US and Australian policy in an uncertain Indo-Pacific



1 May 2018


Sir Roland Wilson 1.02 Conference Room, Australian National University, Canberra


Public forum

Recent developments in US Asia policy have caused a good deal of uncertainty over the past 15 months. President Trump’s rejection of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and unilateral pursuit of trade tariffs, along with his scepticism of US alliances and the administration’s newly competitive approach to China herald potentially major—if sometimes incongruous—shifts in American policy. Although the White House’s “free and open Indo-Pacific” concept has been welcomed by regional allies and partners, much remains unclear about the policies and resources that will turn this vision into a strategy.

Amidst an increasingly challenging regional security environment, how should we make sense of US policy in Asia? What should Australia, which has recently released its own Indo-Pacific strategy, do to advance its security and economic interests during this period of flux? And how might Washington and Canberra strengthen their collective responses to the challenges of Chinese assertiveness, grey-zone competition, and instability on the Korean Peninsula?

This event is proudly co-sponsored by the Coral Bell School of Asia-Pacific Affairs and the Australian Institute of International Affairs.


  • Dr Zack Cooper
    Dr Zack Cooper
    Research fellow, American Enterprise Institute

    Zack Cooper is a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. His research focuses on US defense strategy in Asia, particularly the importance of working closely with regional allies and partners. He has co-authored reports on the US-Australia alliance while working at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. He previously served on staff at the US National Security Council and the US Department of Defense. He completed his BA from Stanford University and MPA, MA, and PhD from Princeton University.

  • Lindsey Ford
    Lindsey Ford
    Director of Political-Security Affairs, Asia Society Policy Institute

    Lindsey W. Ford is the Director of Political-Security Affairs for the Asia Society Policy Institute, as well as ASPI’s inaugural Richard Holbrooke Fellow and Deputy Director of the Washington D.C. Office. Her expertise includes U.S. national security, Asian regional architecture, and maritime security issues. Prior to joining ASPI, she served in a variety of roles at the U.S. Department of Defense, where she received the Award for Exceptional Civilian Service in 2014.

  • Allan Gyngell, AO
    Allan Gyngell, AO
    National President, Australian Institute of International Affairs

    Allan Gyngell AO is the National President of the Australian Institute of International Affairs. He is an honorary professor with the Australian National University’s College of Asia and the Pacific and was most recently Director of the ANU Crawford Leadership Forum. He was the Director-General of the Australian Office of National Assessments (ONA) from 2009 to 2013. He has a wide background in international policymaking and analysis and has written and spoken extensively on Australian foreign policy, Asian regional relations and the development of global and regional institutions.

  • Ashley Townshend
    Ashley Townshend
    Director, Foreign Policy and Defence, United States Studies Centre

    Ashley Townshend is Director of Foreign Policy and Defence at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. He works on international security and strategic affairs with a focus on the Indo-Pacific, including regional alliances and partnerships, maritime security, defence policy, and US, Chinese, and Australian strategy.

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