Future Strategic Leaders Program

The Institute for Regional Security has been delivering professional development to early career security policy makers – in the public service, the military, and the private sector – for over 15 years, through its Future Strategic Leaders Program (FSLP).

The program intake for 2024-25 is open for applications from February to July 2024.


“The learning materials were diverse and intellectually stimulating. The course on leadership was fantastic and really illuminating. Even though I work in the space, the course on policymaking was eye opening and I’ve really enjoyed the in‑depth policy discussions – the ability to learn from colleagues and experienced leaders in their fields allowed me to understand the conceptual and theoretical aspects but also realworld actions. The networks I’ve been able to develop are immensely valuable. I’d strongly recommend others in the early stages of their national security and foreign policy careers participate”.

Euan Moyle
Public Service

“The knowledge and skills acquired have been instrumental in navigating my initial challenges in the APS. The facilitation was exceptional, with comprehensive learning materials and proactive support from mentors. The resources provided were not only extensive but also tailored to encourage deeper exploration of specific interests. The policy workshops stood out as the most beneficial aspect of the program for me. They provided a realworld context where I could apply theoretical knowledge from the microlearning units. I wholeheartedly recommend the FSLP to anyone looking to advance in the fields of policy and security”.

Olivia Nolan
Public Service

“As a former executive leader in the APS, the FSLP has been a breath of fresh air. It has allowed me to reset and test contemporary policy theories and gain a new appreciation for bringing diverse individuals to the table. I’ve been able to hear from respected policy professionals and create longterm connections with a network of likeminded individuals that I know I can go to throughout the course of my career. I’ve been able to understand meaningful leadership styles in delivering policy that’s both impactful and enduring. For those considering applying, I would highly recommend it”.

Rebecca Wakerman Powell
Consulting Manager (National Security)


The FSLP delivers unique learning and networking opportunities including:

  • Policy making workshops focused on current policy issues
  • Networking to develop career-long and whole of security community professional contacts
  • Input, guidance, and feedback from experienced policy makers
  • Leadership development, including individual psychometric assessments and leadership workshop

Program Structure

The program is structured as follows.

  1. Three micro-learning units are completed over eight weeks at the start of the program, each followed by a debrief event on a Friday evening: Leaders and Leadership; Strategy and Strategic Thinking; Policy Making and Security.
  2. Psychometric assessments are provided on personality and behavioural strengths and on emotional intelligence.
  3. A Leadership Workshop is held on a Friday night and following Saturday.
  4. A training workshop in analytical techniques is delivered on a Saturday.
  5. A simulation exercise based on policy making in an historical event is delivered.
  6. At least four policy workshops are delivered on a Friday night and Saturday.
  7. Individual participants are provided an opportunity to present a policy idea and proposal at a public event, The Institute’s NEXT event, in May.
  8. At the completion of the Program, an opportunity is provided to be appointed to the FSLP Committee, involved in the delivery of the program in the subsequent year.

All events are delivered in Canberra. Participants should assume attendance at a Friday night briefing and networking event and a Saturday workshop each month from September 2024 to May 2025.


Program Benefits

Participants in the FSLP benefit in a number of ways from their time in the Program:

  1. They are familiarised with key concepts involved in and shaping professional conduct, security policy making and leadership
  2. They are given access to a workshop and assessment tools to enable critical self-reflection and development planning
  3. They participate in action-learning programs focused on contemporary policy issues
  4. If appointed to the FSLP Committee, they are provided opportunities to lead small program project teams
  5. They are provided opportunities to develop and present their own insights and ideas on security policy issues
  6. They are given unequalled networking opportunities, and exposure to and engagement with key thinkers and leaders in the security community

The development outcomes from the program include increased domain expertise; increased self-awareness and capacity for self-direction; increased ability to analyse and persuasively present policy information and proposals; increased professional networks; experience in committee work and team-based project delivery.


Who can participate in the FSLP?

Individuals are eligible for selection into the FSLP if they are:

  1. Early career professionals employed in the public service, military, AFP and private sector defence and security companies and organisations
  2. Postgraduate students under Institute scholarships (four individuals at any one time)

Selection is competitive, and at The Institute’s discretion, considering:

  1. Nomination by their Department, Agency, or Company
  2. References which speak to leadership potential
  3. Academic, organisational, business or community achievement
  4. Willingness and availability to meet program expectations and support Institute activities


Expectations on Participants

Participants in the FSLP are expected:

  1. To complete the three core micro-learning units on ‘Leaders and Leadership’, ‘Security Policy Making’ and ‘Strategy and Strategic Thinking’,
  2. To participate in the program’s Leadership Development Workshop,
  3. To establish an individual development plan for themselves built around and extending from their participation in the FSLP
  4. To attend at least 2 policy workshops conducted as part of the program,
  5. To submit at least one proposal for a NEXT presentation during their time in the program or to draft content for at least one security policy podcast


Further Program Elements:

FSLP includes:

  • Opportunities to contribute to and produce policy-focused podcasts
  • Access to a professional library

Further Information and Application

Prospective participants should check with their employer or institution regarding support to participate.

Enquiries can be directed to The Institute CEO, Chris Gardiner at chris.gardiner@ifrs.org.au

To submit an application, please provide contact details and upload a covering application letter and curriculum vitae here

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