Kokoda Foundation

The Kokoda Foundation has been established as an independent, not-for-profit think tank to research, and foster innovative thinking on, Australia’s future security challenges.

In January 2015 the Kokoda Foundation will be changing its name to the Institute For Regional Security (IFRS).  For more information please click here.


The Kokoda Foundation has two core goals:

  • To research Australia’s tough future national security challenges.
  • To foster the development of a new generation of future strategic thinkers who are well-equipped to deal with the diverse security challenges that lie ahead.

Operating Priorities

  • To conduct quality research on security issues commissioned by public and private sector organisations. These research projects will normally employ multi-disciplinary workshop processes involving close teaming with personnel from the sponsoring organisations. Such research can be conducted with high levels of discretion.
  • To foster innovative thinking on Australia’s future security challenges.
  • To publish quality Kokoda Papers on issues relevant to Australia’s security challenges.
  • To develop Security Challenges as the leading refereed journal in the field.
  • To encourage and, where appropriate, mentor a new generation of advanced strategic thinkers.
  • Encourage research contributions by current and retired senior officials, business people and others with relevant expertise.


The Kokoda Foundation is financed by a combination of:

  • Research and operating grants from public and private sector institutions.
  • Corporations or other organisations choosing to fund one or more research projects or lines of research.
  • Corporate and individual membership fees.
  • Sales of Kokoda Papers and subscriptions to Security Challenges.


The Kokoda Foundation conducts the following primary activities in order to achieve its goals:


The Foundation undertakes research projects on key national security challenges. These research projects are always led by a person very knowledgeable in the field. The project director usually convenes a series of closed workshops involving senior officials and experts of relevance to discuss the key elements of the topic prior to drafting a project report. The Foundation’s project reports are usually published as Kokoda Papers.

Kokoda Papers published recently include:

  • Sub Judice: Australia's Future Submarine by Brice Pacey
  • Under the Sea Air Gap: Australia’s Anti-Submarine Warfare Challenge Brice Pacey
  • Australia's Strategic Edge in 2030 Dr Ross Babbage
  • Optimising Australia's Response to the Cyber Challenge John Blackburn and Gary Waters
  • Australia’s Place in Space: Toward A National Space Policy Brett Biddington and Roy Sach
  • Smart Power: Making Australia’s Whole-Of-Government Strategy Work in Fragile States and Situations by Dr Edwina Thompson
  • Australia’s Future Surface Combatants Force 2030 by Brice Pacey
  • Securing Australia’s Energy for the Future by Erin Hurley
  • The Wealth of a Nation: Preparing Australia's Human Capital for 2030 by David Schmidtchen
  • Strategic Decision-Making: Optimising Australia’s National Security Planning and Coordination for 2015 by Ross Babbage
  • Skin in the Game: Realising Australia’s National Interests in Space to 2025 by Brett Biddington
  • Preparing Australia’s Defence for 2020: Transformation or Reform? by Ross Babbage
  • Australia’s Future Joint Strike Fighter Fleet: How Much is Too Little? by Peter Nicholson and David Connery
  • National Security Community 2020: Six Practical Recommendations by David Connery
  • Australia’s Future Underwater Operations and System Requirements by Ross Babbage
  • Firepower to Win: Australian Defence Force Joint Fires in 2020 by Alan Titheridge, Gary Waters, Ross Babbage
  • Strategic Tides: Positioning Australia’s Security Policy to 2050 by Allan Behm

Security Challenges Journal

The Foundation publishes Australia’s first refereed journal on security and defence issues. Security Challenges is published quarterly. For the latest information, please visit the journal's website.

Kokoda Strategic Dialogue

The Foundation organises and conducts an Australia-United States strategic Trilogy of events each year. Participants include very senior United States and Australian officials and Defence Force personnel. The first event is usually an Annual Dinner that is open to the public, the second a Closed Workshop and the third is a weekend retreat.

Themes for Kokoda Trilogy the Kokoda Trilogy focused on

2006 Optimising the Australia-US Alliance for 2015 
2007 Strategy for Winning the Long Struggle
2008 Future Strategy for the Western Pacific
2009 Security Challenges in the South Asian Crescent – Iran and Afghanistan/Pakistan
2010 Trilateral Security Cooperation in the Western Pacific (also with Japan)
2011 Strategic Tides in Asia - Challenges and Opportunities: 22020-2030
2012 Implications for Australia of the United States Pivot to the Indo Pacific (also with Indonesia)
2013 Trilateral Dinner with Australia, the United States and Japan: Addressing Divergent Futures in the Asia-Pacific
Trilateral Dinner with Australia, the United States and Japan: Advancing US-Japan-Australia Tri-lateral Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific:  Identifying Obstacles || Finding Solutions

Future Strategic Leaders Program

The Foundation organises and hosts the Future Strategic Leaders' Program (FSLP). This is a program that has been designed from the ground up to foster the strategic analytical and professional skills of those who have been employed by one of the agencies of the Australian national security community during the last five years. It is also open to those graduates or university students who aspire to make their careers within the Australian national security community.

The core goals of the FSLP are to encourage a new generation of future strategic leaders in Australia, to foster the strategic analytical and broader professional skills of this group and to build a stronger esprit de corps and a sense of “professional home” within this key group.

The FSLP holds events and seminars focusing on strategic and professional development themes. Twice a year FSLs are offered the opportunity to attend a weekend congress on the South Coast of NSW. Future strategic professionals can meet and learn from some of Australia’s most senior national security officials and leaders.


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